Driven by passion and heavily inspired by his mother who often brought joy to the family with her traditional family recipes, chef-owner Chinmoy Ghose’s dream was to introduce Bengali cuisine to Singapore. To honour his family recipe, he remained true to the authenticity of the recipes and together with long-time friend Partha Roy Choudhury, they started Aapon and never looked back.
Branded as a fine-dining establishment, we thought that the three-storey space had a certain sense of regality but never conceited, and instead felt more homely than we first anticipated. Look past the tacky wallpaper and you’ll be treated to truly exquisite Bengali food and hospitality.
We’re no stranger to the ever-fulfilling samosa and some might even claim it to be their favourite snack. Cue the Phulkora Singara, a Bengal version of the samosa. Crispy, fluffy and not cloyingly oily, each bite reveals a balanced mix of mildly spiced cauliflower and fragrant potatoes contrasted by a sweet tangy dipping sauce.
But if a surprise is what you’re looking for, order the Velvet of Chicken Soup, a painstakingly laborious soup that the chef insisted that we tried before we got to our mains. Upon arrival, it looked like the typically flat cream of chicken but after a spoonful, we’ll go on the record to shout that it is unlike any soup we had. Each spoonful drinks silky luscious from almonds and cashews, and a peppery spice kick that is quickly extinguished by an ironic tang. An overall great aperitif and palate refresher that definitely caught us off guard.
Must try Lamb lovers can’t miss the Kosha Mangsho, an Aapon signature that hails from Kolkata with over 90 years of rich history. Succulent chunks of goat meat slow-cooked in earthy spices till melt-in-your-mouth tender, this flavoursome dish also comes with Basanti Pulao, mildly sweet ghee and saffron-infused rice that screams decadence.
In Singapore where most of us are familiar with both North and South Indian cuisines, we’re willing to bet that for most, East Indian cuisine is as foreign as it comes. Unless invited over a meal into an East Indian household, it sure isn’t the most accessible cuisine in this little red dot of ours, let alone finding authentic representations. Epicureans and food explorers, they say the best way to get acquainted with a culture is through its food and if you’re looking to step out of your usual comfort zone, Aapon should be on your list.