What better way to celebrate the culture and heritage of popular Singaporean cuisine than with an exciting new (permanent) menu at White Rose Cafe. Titled ‘Treasured Flavours of Singapore’, the menu features all-time favourite local specialty dishes developed by renowned Executive Chef Charlie Tham. For those who do not know Chef Charlie, he was formerly from Soon Heng Restaurant and famous for his iconic Singaporean Chinese-style Curry Fish Head. With over 26 years of culinary experience in Asian cuisine, it is no wonder why Chef Charlie would want to bring back familiar favourites and nostalgia that seem to gradually diminish with each new decade.
We started off with the Curry Fish Head (Half $28/Whole $42), prepared according to the restaurant’s secret recipe dating from the 1970s. The half portion should be good for 2 to 3 persons, while the whole for 4 to 6 persons. The curry is unique as it does not incorporate coconut, but uses a mixture of Indian, Chinese, and Malay spices to achieve an appetising assam flavour. The fish head was firm and moist. We had papadums to dip in the dish, allowing us to completely relish in the great-tasting gravy, but you can opt for rice if you wish.
If you are a crab lover and masala lover at the same time, then you must try Singapore’s first Crab Masala ($32). The brilliant combination of large, fleshy crab meat in strong masala paste accentuates the natural sweetness of the crab meat.
However, if you prefer to stick to tradition, try the Chicken Masala ($12). White Rose Cafe’s rendition of Chicken Masala consists of tender chicken, fried in and infused with a homemade masala blend of spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and fennel seeds.
As true blue asians, we were ecstatic to see a selection of sambal dishes on the menu. We had the Sambal King Prawn ($8 per pc) and fell in love instantaneously with its strong fragrance. It was large and well-coated, so we could really capture the taste of spicy sambal and the prawn’s natural sweetness in every bite. We also had the Sambal Kang Kong ($8).
Another traditional home-styled dish that will trigger childhood memories for many is the Black Ink Sotong ($12). Briefly poached, then simmered till perfection in spicy squid ink gravy, the squid is easy to chew and tasteful – a stark difference from those squishy, rubbery and tasteless squid that are often served elsewhere. We highly recommend you to try this dish.
Lastly, we had the Chap Chye ($8) which is a typical Chinese New Year dish consisting of cabbage, black fungus, dried lily flowers, glass vermicelli and dried beancurd skin in a wholesome soybean paste sauce. Just the smell of the vegetable stew was enough to bring back childhood memories of family gatherings. It is also very healthy, you must have this as well.
As a rule of thumb, it is always a good idea to savour Asian cuisine with lime juice as the sour flavours and sparkling texture always blend with foods of different ethnic groups. In this instance, we had the Calamansi Plum Drink ($5).
Overall, we thought the restaurant made a fine setting for quiet family and friends get-togethers. Featuring full height glass windows that offer a view of greenery, it is easy to lose oneself in tranquility. White Rose Cafe also caters a selection of Western cuisine, and is host to the popular thrice-yearly Penang Hawkers’ Fare; where authentic Penang hawkers come together and dish out their specialties. But bear in mind, as seatings are limited – only up to 110 persons at any one point of time – it is strongly advised that you call to book a reservation one day in advance to avoid disappointment.
White Rose Cafe
York Hotel (Singapore)
21 Mount Elizabeth
Reservation Tel: 6830 1156
6am – 1am
Treasured Flavours of Singapore
Dine-in and Take-away:
11.30am – 10.30pm
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