word ‘palmary’ describes someone victorious or worthy of praise. And such is the high standards aspired to by The Palmary, a new restaurant-bar situated on a quiet street off Little India. For first-time restaurateurs Ryan Ong, Rebekah Ng and Timothy Ong who is also head chef, this is a natural progression from their canapes catering business started about two years ago. While local chefs tend to shy away from fusion cooking, SHATEC-trained chef Ong is happy being associated with the term. For him, it is an amalgamation of the European cooking methods he picked up in school and the Peranakan cooking he grew up with.
The establishment is currently only open for weekday dinner and weekend afternoon tea (1 to 6pm) as well as dinner. Expect modern Singapore dishes such as paprika prawns with ebiko and floss
($15.90), a starter dish where savourysweet ebiko, smoked paprika prawns and pork floss are stacked daintily atop discs of fried silken tofu.
For mains, try The Butchers’ Cut
($28.90) served with red date soy and kosher salt, with a side of spring vegetables. This dish uses hanger steak, a cut of meat derived from the hanging tender of the cow. It is a tricky cut of meat as it is sinewy and easily overcooked. But here, the meat is tender and succulent, first cured and cooked sous vide before it is evenly seared in clarified butter. The red date glaze is sweet and savoury, going well with the beef and lightly blanched vegetables. For a seafood option, try the mentaiko cream lobster linguine ($27.90) where the sweet flesh of the Boston lobster balances the creaminess of the pasta well.
Finish on a sweet note with The Palmary’s spiked ondeh shot ($8.90 and a
15-minute wait) served on a Chinese soup spoon. Instead of gula melaka in the centre, a shot of coconut rum awaits. Heap a dollop of gula melaka served on the side before you polish it off in one bite.
From the drinks menu, enjoy Big Papa
($16), a smoky combination with a touch of citrus made up of bourbon, apricot brandy, black date, lemon juice and mezcal spray. For something stronger, go for the NaPalm ($18), a combustible combination of Jamaican and dark rum, grenadine, passion fruit, pineapple and lime juice. Weekend afternoon tea sets are priced at $58 for two, and feature six savouries and two sweets to share.