Must-tries: Devil's curry, Pork semur, , Prawn bostador, Brinjal patecheri, Sugee cake
Eurasian aunties would be pleased with the food at Quentin’s Restaurant. For starters, it’s cooked by Quentin Pereira – the son of the author of ‘Robin’s Eurasian Recipes’, a cookbook book endorsed by neighbour and former First Lady, Mrs Nathan.
Housed in the homely Eurasian Community House at Ceylon Road, the menu features classics such as Devil’s curry, pork semur and prawn bostador.
I was sceptical at first as I have Eurasian relatives and eat at their tables frequently, but I think that they, too, would give a grudging nod to Quentin’s food.
The Devil’s curry ($22), traditionally cooked at Christmas time with leftover roasted meats – you often find chicken, pork, bacon bones and sausages in it – is featured on the regular menu.
Pereira’s version is cooked with oxtail or chicken and aromatic bacon bones that deliver smoky flavour and texture. Like the European stew, you will also find cabbage, potatoes, carrots and local additions, such as cucumber, chillies, onions, mustard seeds in it. The spiciness has been toned down to suit general tastes though it is still robust, especially when eaten with sambal chilli – a staple at both Eurasian and Peranakan tables. .
Another stew I loved was the pork semur ($15.80), this dish has its roots in Portuguese cuisine. Vinegar, cinnamon and cloves, carrots and potatoes feature prominently in this recipe, which is enhanced with dark soy sauce. The sauce gives the dish its smokey sweet flavour. Usually cooked with beef or tongue, Quentin’s uses pork instead, which withstood the braising well. Again, the use of sambal chilli adds another dimension to the dish.
Other highlights of the meal include the rich and nutty-sauced – very lemak – prawn bostador ($15.80), and the sweet and piquant brinjal patcheri ($7) for its sweet and sour notes. Not recommended though were the long beans fried with beef ($10) which was tough, and timid in its use of tau cheow (soy beans preserved in salt).
For dessert, try the sugee cake ($5 a slice), a grainy ground almond and semolina butter cake that is drier-than-most. The chendol and grass jelly with sea coconut ($3.80 each) were nothing much to write home about.
By this Eurasian (by association) auntie, we recommend sticking to the mains. We will certainly return for more of the savoury classics. How could anyone resist dishes such as corned beef fried rice, meat croquettes or the famed Eurasian salt fish pickle?
Rating – Food: 4/5; Service: 3/5; Ambience: 3/5; Value for money: 4/5
139 Ceylon Road, Eurasian Community House
Tel: 6348 0327 / 6348 0329 / 8198 1660
Opening hours: 11.30am to 2.30pm (Lunch); 6.30pm to 10.30pm (Dinner); Closed on Mondays