Baba Chews Bar And Eatery is a restaurant in Hotel Indigo in Katong that opened up last year. Housed in the former Joo Chiat Police Station, it serves modern and traditional Peranakan cuisine. As the hubby and I were staying at the hotel for a short staycation over Christmas (please see my Hotel Indigo staycation review), we had pre-booked a Christmas Day Brunch there via the hotel and had got 10% off by paying in advance (S$61.44 per person).
I was really looking forward to this brunch as I had read a couple of good reviews about the restaurant and the food there. Unfortunately the welcome that we received when we first arrived was quite unpleasant and didn’t leave us with a good first impression. We got to the restaurant in time for our reservation and told the lady at the reception (in the photo above) that we had a reservation and had already pre-paid via the hotel. Instead of showing us to our table, she explained that the menu wasn’t the usual a la carte menu and would be a special Christmas Day Brunch menu instead. I acknowledged this and politely told her that we were aware that it would be a Christmas menu as we had booked and pre-paid for the brunch already. Again she didn’t seem to want to show us to our table and instead repeated the information about how it was a special Christmas Day menu and how much it costs. I found this to be very strange as obviously we were aware of the price since we had already paid for the brunch. I politely listened to her and agreed so she then proceeded to seat us. With no explanation after showing us to our table, she left and there were no staff in sight for quite a while. We only had a menu on our table but were unsure about what exactly was included in the brunch as this had not been explained at any point.
Eventually after trying to grab the attention of a waitress for around 10 minutes (there was even one that was aware that we were trying to call her but ignored us as she was busy but she didn’t come back afterwards when she was available), we finally got the attention of another waitress and asked her to explain about the Christmas Day Brunch menu. Strangely she got the initial waitress that showed us to our table to explain the menu. The explanation we received was cold and spoken in a very matter-of-fact way. Luckily we didn’t have to deal with her for the rest of the time we were there and were served mostly by the other waitress who we had asked initially to explain the menu. She was friendly, polite and efficient. Anyway enough about the service! It’s just rude service really frustrates me as there is no need to be unpleasant but unfortunately mediocre service is quite common in Singapore.
It turns out that the menu on our table was an a-la-carte buffet so we could order as many items as we wanted from that menu. There was also a small room at the back of the restaurant where we could help ourselves to cold appetisers, desserts and fresh juices and we could also order coffee and tea at our table.
There was a good selection in the appetiser and dessert buffet of salads, hams, cheeses, breads, seafood, cakes and other sweet treats but I didn’t really enjoy most of what I tried except the cheese and the scones were good. They also had salted egg yolk kaya which was unusual and quite nice. The Malaysian kueh was unfortunately hard and not very good.
The a-la-carte buffet menu had a selection of western as well as Peranakan dishes and we tried several different ones including the Eggs Benedict, Pulled Pork Pongteh Crepe (crepe wrapped with pulled braised pork with puffed rice), Ham and Cheese French Toast, Fisherman’s Congee and Bakwan Kepiting (traditional Peranakan soup with homemade crab stock, crab and pork meatballs).
The Pulled Pork Pongteh Crepe (crepe wrapped with pulled braised pork with puffed rice) was quite nice, the pulled pork was tender and flavourful and the crepe was soft and thin. I felt that the puffed rice didn’t really add anything to the dish though and it would have been better without or with some of the pork braising liquid as sauce.
The hubby had the Eggs Benedict and he didn’t seem too impressed with it. Although the eggs were runny, the hollandaise sauce was not very nice and the rosti which I actually tried was soggy and not crispy.
The Fisherman’s Congee was practically tasteless and had very little seasoning, it wasn’t good at all and just tasted like a soggy bowl of rice.
The Ham and Cheese French Toast was supposed to be made with brioche but it was just normal bread with raisins and there was hardly any filling with just a very thin slice of gruyere cheese and a slice of ham. The bread was tough and I had a hard time cutting it and the maple butter that it was supposed to come with was non-existent.
The Bakwan Kepiting (traditional Peranakan soup with homemade crab stock, crab and pork meatballs) was also not very appetising. The soup was extremely salty and the meatballs were dry.
Overall the Christmas Day Brunch at Baba Chews Bar and Eatery was extremely disappointing and definitely not worth the S$122.44 we paid for it. Granted they are a restaurant that usually serves Peranakan food but not even the Peranakan food that we tried at the brunch was good apart from the Pulled Pork Pongteh Crepe. Maybe all the usual chefs were on Christmas holiday that day! On top of that the service that we received from the lady at reception when we first arrived was unpleasant (in fact it seems like she spent most of the time just standing around and chatting), but fortunately we received great service from the waitress that served us for the rest of the time. Food that we ordered came out quickly and the restaurant itself is nice but I definitely won’t be going back there in a hurry!
Baba Chews Bar & Eatery
Address: 86 East Coast Road, #01-01 Katong Square, Katong Square, Singapore 428788
Tel: 6723 2025
Opening Hours: Sunday – Thursday: 6.30am – 11pm, Friday & Saturday: 6.30am – 12am
Hope you’ve enjoyed my Baba Chews Bar & Eatery review, please feel free to leave a comment below with your own review of the restaurant or if you have any questions!