Peranakan cuisine has enjoyed a resurgence in the past year across the island, with multiple restaurants popping up across the island. Those familiar with the cuisine will know that Peranakan tradition is hard to break from, and recipe battles are common. In this environment, one restaurant seems to be attempting something different by taking the hyper-traditional cuisine into modern day Singapore.
Godmama’s top floor spot in Funan Shopping Center allows for a sheltered al fresco dining option, and I thought it was well-laid out, with good light and sufficient ventilation. The decor is light, airy and modern, with motifs and accents from Peranakan culture.
The restaurant’s cocktail menu was curated by an experienced mixologist who hails from the fabled 28HKST nightspot, while Head Chef Fredric Goh found ways to perfect the recipes that come from both his, as well as founder Christina Keilthy’s, families.
My dining companions found the Ngoh Hiang ($11.90) and Emping Keropok ($6.90) to be particularly appetizing. The Ngoh Hiang had a crisp skin, with chunks of prawn, pork and water chestnuts featuring clearly on the tongue. While some might prefer the Egg Skin Popiah, it is my personal opinion that Popiah skins need to be light for the filling to take center stage.
Main dishes for sharing are executed with panache, and while you won’t generally go wrong with Godmama’s dinner menu, I think the Babi Assam ($18.90) bears special mention. Take melt in your mouth pork belly, sit it in a subtly sour Tamarind stew, and you have a signature dish worth coming back for.
I won’t go into the details of the Ayam Buah Keluak ($19.90), but that’s only because you have to experience it for yourself. However, I would like to talk about the delectable Ikan Gerang Assam ($19.90). I’m not huge on fish, but this dish brings perfectly cooked Barramundi fillet, moist on the inside with a crisp skin. The tamarind accentuated the flavour of the fish, keeping it from getting cloyingly heavy.
Those who need a fix of rice get a treat for the eyes. Chef Fredric’s Nasi Ulam ($8.90) bucks tradition, presenting itself a colourful format that’s not foreign to most Singaporeans: Bibimbap style. Diners will get to mix up the Nyonya herb rice themselves, allowing herbs like lemongrass, torch gingerflower , Laksa leaves, Kaffir lime leaves, Turmeric leaves, and Sambal paste to meld with Mackerel strips.
Post-meal sweet treats are driven by a playful desire to create. The Chempedak Creme Brulee ($10.90) will certainly be the crowd pleaser, with its tantalizing colour and strong flavours. However, I will spring for the mind-bending quality of the Gingerflower and Lychee Sorbet ($10.90). The sorbet surprised my tastebuds by reminding me of rojak, even more so because the dessert is topped with roasted peanut crumble and lime jelly.
Tl;dr Round Up
Godmama’s take on Peranakan cuisine will face traditionalist resistance, but it really shouldn’t. The kitchen team brings strong technique and high standards to the dishes that come out of the back while the menu has heavy hitters that will stick to the mind long after guests leave. Godmama deserves its place in the growing collection of Peranakan restaurants in Singapore, largely because of its successful modernisation of the Peranakan dining experience.
Address: Funan, #04-07, 107 North Bridge Road, Singapore 179097
11am – 3.30pm
6pm – 10pm
First Seating: 6pm
Second Seating: 8pm
10.30am – 4.00pm
Reservations: Use Chope or call +65 6970 0828