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  • Restaurants
  • Serangoon
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
  1. Babba
    Photograph: Babba
  2. Babba Peranakan
    Photograph: Babba
  3. Crab Omelette
    Photograph: Babba

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Tucked away in a quaint corner of Jalan Riang is Babba, a dual-concept casual diner with a Peranakan focus by the same people behind The Brewing Ground. You’ll find that the interiors are kept simple with soft white walls contrasted with turquoise accents, wood earthy tones, and hanging plants to induce a sense of home-like approachability. Serving up a contemporary brunch menu with Peranakan influences in the day and then switching stances to dishing out fully authentic Peranakan cuisine in the night, this spot surely knows variety.

We visited during the evening and with mellow jazz playing in the background, the presumably laissez-faire afternoon dining experience transforms into a cosy evening affair. We all know Peranakan cuisine is increasingly hard to find and that is what got us excited for our visit. For us, there were more hits than there were misses, read more to find out about them.

Lauded as the must-order appetizer, the crab omelette ($25) saw heaps of sweet crab meat layered with mildly spiced hae bee and contrasted with pickled onions to deliver a flavorful yet balanced bite that isn’t overly cloying. This one went down easy with the fragrant white rice. We wasted no time and dived straight into the usual suspects for our mains. Beef lovers, behold! Fragrant beef rendang ($28) featured the clever use of tender shank meat that had a mix of gelatinous and lean textures that we really enjoyed while the rich spiced gravy was balanced out with a blend of sweet shallots and earthy herbs.

Next up is the perilous ayam buah keluak ($28), an iconic Peranakan dish that is a must-order at any Peranakan restaurant. The fermented nutty sauce coupled with earthy tar-like buah keluak that we had the pleasure of excavating with our spoons were a delight over fragrant rice as well. However, Babba’s use of kampong chicken was more detrimental than complementary as we thought that the supple chicken meat could have been slow-cooked for a tad bit longer to achieve the desired fall off the bone effect.

Not just any regular babi ponteh ($26), Babba’s version stars Iberico pork which had us anticipating juicer and more flavoursome cuts of meat. But our hopes were swiftly dashed as soon as our forks were met with some resistance. Perhaps the fat ratio wasn’t optimal as there were inconsistencies with tenderness. Other worthy mentions include the crisp and tangy house-made achar ($5) and bright zesty sambal belacan that were great supplements to the entire meal.

But whatever you do, don’t sleep on the luscious pulut hitam ($10) which displayed a perfect balance between sweet and savoury with a mild nuttiness, just like grandma’s. Finished with a scoop of decadent coconut ice cream and toasted coconut shavings, you’d be nuts if you’re thinking of skipping this.

Aside from the misses that could be easily tweaked, the entire dinner experience was undeniably complemented by the warm and knowledgeable floor staff who took care of us with Peranakan hospitality as if we were one of their own. So is it worth visiting? Absolutely, we’d still recommend you try it!

Time Out Singapore reviews anonymously and pays for all meals. Read our restaurant review policy here.

What the stars mean:
★ Poor ★ ★ Promising ★★★ Good ★★★★ Very good ★★★★★ Exceptional 

Dawson Tan
Written by
Dawson Tan


15-9 Jalan Riang
Opening hours:
Mon-Sun 8am–4pm, 6pm–10pm
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