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Chilli Padi Nonya Cafe (Heng Mui Keng Terrace)

AsianNonyaNonya / PeranakanPeranakan
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Serving Peranakan food such as laksa, mee sian and desserts, Chilli Padi Nonya Cafe is located along Heng Mui Keng Terrace, with more cafes and a restaurant located around Singapore. They also provide catering services.
Mon & Tue: 11.15am - 5.15pm, Wed to Sun: 11.15am - 9.30pm
$15 based on 15 submissions
Hidden Find (5 votes), Lunch (5 votes), Large Groups/Gathering (4 votes)
Jackie Lim 782

An office lunchtime favourite

I have to commend this restaurant for the frequent, pleasurable experiences i've had with regard to its buffet, sedap chili and spices, and coconut delights. I never fail to bring a visitor there for lunch when i get the opportunity because I work nearby. Kong ba pao: yes, a tad watery and perhaps too oily for weight-watchers but it pretty much melts in your mouth with the bun enclosed around the meat. Heavenly. Their curries, buah keluak, mixed vegetables and assam sweet sour fish are great-tasting, taste bud-teasingly splendid. I almost never remember what i eat afterward because each dish is so good you simply want to get as much in as possible so you keep moving on to the next. But suffice to say i've tried (with the exception of laksa) all the buffet dishes each time to much satisfaction and joy. And to end the meal particularly with sago, palm sugar and coconut milk desserts is a real treat. The only drawback: that aching bloated feeling in the stomach every time you leave knowing that you've gorged on far too much good food. And repeated musak loops of Bangawan Solo. But it still sure beats the heck out of that awful waste of space at the nearby Shaw Foundation Alumni House they call the University Club Lounge and Dining Rooms.

The HGW community like this place for...

  • Nonya Chap Chye3 votes
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28 Apr 2012 • 19 reviews • 0 follower

An office lunchtime favourite

I have to commend this restaurant for the frequent, pleasurable experiences i've had with regard to its buffet, sedap chili and spices, and coconut delights. I never fail to bring a visitor there for lunch when i get the opportunity because I work nearby. Kong ba pao: yes, a tad watery and perhaps too oily for weight-watchers but it pretty much melts in your mouth with the bun enclosed around the meat. Heavenly. Their curries, buah keluak, mixed vegetables and assam sweet sour fish are great-tasting, taste bud-teasingly splendid. I almost never remember what i eat afterward because each dish is so good you simply want to get as much in as possible so you keep moving on to the next. But suffice to say i've tried (with the exception of laksa) all the buffet dishes each time to much satisfaction and joy. And to end the meal particularly with sago, palm sugar and coconut milk desserts is a real treat. The only drawback: that aching bloated feeling in the stomach every time you leave knowing that you've gorged on far too much good food. And repeated musak loops of Bangawan Solo. But it still sure beats the heck out of that awful waste of space at the nearby Shaw Foundation Alumni House they call the University Club Lounge and Dining Rooms.

Mixed Food
11 Sep 2011 • 279 reviews • 44 followers

Food here so so but not easy to locate the place...not worth it!

Came here to try the buffet lunch with a friend yesterday. This cafe belongs to the Chilli Padi Group of Restaurants and Catering, one of its outlet at North Bridge Road was recently closed down. Noticed that this cafe has not been reviewed for a long time and so decided to pen my personal opinion.

Located within Science Park and NUS and next to the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, it is very difficult to locate its exact place. Even the taxi uncle is not being able to find it despite of full address given and using GPS as the directional signs here are confusing and not detailed. It took us about 25 mins to "explore" around and ask a number of people before being able to find it. O gosh! (everywhere was shown 29 Heng Mui Keng Terrace but it was not its exact location)

The cafe has just increased the price from 3rd week of August 2011 onwards, adding $3 more per person to its original price of $13.80. Considering the new price and its accessibility, we felt it was not really worth coming all the way here. The cafe was about 50-60% occupied as there was a group function that took up at least 6-8 tables.

Overall, the cafe ambience was fine, very brightly lighted and cosy. Music were played and we liked the "Bengawan Solo" music. With its various peranakan decorations of pictures, vases, pots, and clothings in display, we felt we were back to the "Little Nonya" days. And service was good too as the used plates were regularly cleared. The servers don't serve you water as its self-service, with coffee, tea, grape syrup and ice/warm water available. Beverage wise was ok.

The food quality here have ups and downs but with more downs.

The food which we felt that were good: the Goh Hiong (very tasty and came with full packed ingredients and not too salty and blended well with the sweet sauce and chilli); Meat Ball Soup (can't recall its malay name) but was good as the soup was flavourful and strong in taste with nice meat balls; Fried Bee Hoon and Hor Fun soup was quite good too and they also have the deep fried garlic for you to add to your soup which was good; Chap Chye was nice too, but don't expect it to be hard and solid but was extremely soft; Self made Kueh Pieti was good with crispy skin and nice "muang guang" ingredient; Assortment of Nonya Kuehs and the cakes offered were generally nice too. They also have the green bean in thick gravy but we felt they also included some durian into it as we can taste of durian. Unique and nice.

The normal food items included the chee cheong fun (a bit hard though acceptable and with the sweet sauce and chilli added was ok); chwee kueh is not the normal ones we are familiar with but they came with fillings, with mushroom and pork cubes cut, unique but the flavour was funny and the chye pok was too watery and bland. The dark sauce chicken was normal and nothing to shout about. Archar was passable but they do not have pineapples in it.

The below expectation items included the Kong Bah Pao. Though the Pao was quite ok, it was the pork belly. Too soft and flippy as it would break down into small pieces when you try to pick one up. The gravy was also too watery and it was brown in colour instead of the "darker black" version we commonly see. Taste wise was bland for the meat. Next the so called famous Laksa. Not tasty at all! The gravy was too watery and brown in colour, unlike the orange-ish version we commonly see. Maybe thats the nonya style. Lack of coconut milk, the gravy was more like "mee rebus" than for laksa. Though they provided cut strips of papaya and chilli, it did not help in the overall taste or flavour. The nasi lemak with rice too hard and archar, not spicy or sour did not also make our grade though the peanuts with ikan bilis was ok. The sambal sotong was another great failure, watery gravy and no taste with so tiny pieces of cut cuttlefish.

A disappointment was that they did not offer mee siam (my favourite as I thought they would and based on feedback from my friends that both mee siam and laksa will be provided). They also provide cut fruits of water melon, honey dew and oranges which were ok. The desserts they provided - coconut sago and mango were not nice.

By the way, they also offer high tea on weekends at lower price but all are finger food with mainly kuehs and cakes only and if you want to try its other food, have to go with the lunch and dinner.

Well, they were some ups and quite a number of downs. By considering the new price we are paying, the quality and the great difficulty in locating the place, we don't feel its worth it to visit it again.

May not return here unless they improve in the food quality to deserve the price hike (or better still reduce the price or have 1-for-1) and someone with transport to send me here.

Great saces, well lit and airconditioned !
02 Oct 2010 • 711 reviews • 83 followers

Chill out place in Chilli Padi

Want a pleasant place to chill out with friends and have reasonable good nyonya food, then this is the place for you. Easy parking, lots of dining places, spread out apart (so that others can overhear your gossip), good food, friendly staff - overall a good deal. Lunch is lower priced than dinner and has a few items less.

Ambience: Ground floor of an academic building set on the edge of NUS. small entrance (see photo) but good food. Airconditioned with many comfortable and large tables for family groups.

Food: Start with the gado gado, and as you take the peanut sauce, grab some of the dessert cakes because if you wait till the end, these will be gone! Finish that first and then grab a plate eat from the buffet - menu items change regularly, but I've eaten their sayur lodeh (great), curry (so so), babi pongteh (good), and enjoy it (I'm a Baba). More than enough variety to chose from and you get to serve yourself ice cold water too !! After half filling yourself from the buffet - go to the noodle counter and get yourself a laksa or mee siam. Have double helping if you're hungry but save some stomach space for the cakes you've taken in the beginning. They even have sweet desserts "cheng tng" to finish off the meal.

Value: Low prices and good food = good value.

Service: DIY is best, not many staff, friendly and regularly top up buffet servings so there is plenty to go around - no need to beg for more.

21 Jan 2010 • 16 reviews • 2 followers

Not the most memorable meal, but pleasant and reasonable

Chilli Padi offers reasonably tasty food at great prices. Their set lunch meals are only $5.50, and it comes with a main, a drink, dessert, and coffee/tea - cheaper than most meals with similar components at a hawker centre! Their buffet - which had a surprising amount of variety - is about $12, if I recall right.

The food is nice. My nonya aunties do a much better job, but considering the price, it's really not too bad at all! The Ikan Lemak was good, as was the pork ribs curry, and there was lots of other stuff - gado gado, chwee queh, rendang, and so on. They had made-to-order lontong and prawn noodles that were included in the buffet too. The dessert selection made me really happy - lots of different kuehs (ondeh ondeh!!), and they provide a huge bottle of gula malacca in case you reeeeally have a sweet tooth.

Service was lovely. Everyone was polite and attentive.

All in all I think it's a great place to go for people who work, live and study in the area. Cute place with great prices.

30 Jul 2009 • 3 reviews • 0 follower

Go there with no expectation = No disappointment

Went there for the dinner buffet with the family cos it was mummy's B'day. Previously saw the place on one of the TV program. So I had a certain level of expectation for the place. But once I reached the place and saw the price, I sort of knew we would be disappointed.

Main Dishes:

- *Pig Stomach Soup (Zhu Du Tang)

- Rice

- Mixed Vegetables (Nonya Zhap Chye)- too salty

- Vegetable Curry

- Beef Rendang

- *Stew Pork

- Stew Chicken (Ayam Buah Keluak)- Mot good

- Asam Fish - Asam taste not strong enough

- *Achar

- Another Sambal Achar

Noodle Counter:

- *Laksa

- Mee Siam - Too sweet

Side Table:

- Gado Gado - Tempeh was not well done

- Kueh Pieti - Not too bad but still pref my auntie's

- *Chwee Kueh - Not too bad

Dessert:

- Pulot Hitam

- Steamed Ubi Kayu (steamed tapioca cake) - some hard, some soft

- Kueh Kosui - some hard, some soft

- Kueh Lopis - too hard

- Rempah Udang - rice too soft and the filling were not fragrant

- Steamed Nine Layer Kueh

- Pulot Hitam Kaya - kueh was too hard, rice too

- Kueh Dadar - Filling were too dry, not fragrant and skin a little too thick

- Kueh Bengka Ubi Kayu - a little to dry

- Yam Kueh Talam (I think, not too sure)

- Cut Fruits (orange, honeydew, watermelon)- not very sweet, either bland or sourish,

Drink:

- Fruit Punch

- ice/warm water

- coffee/tea

*My personnel fave were:

1. Pig Stomach Soup (Zhu Du Tang)- very peppery and full of flavor/msg and the pig stomach was clean, soft and easy to chew.

2. Stew Pork - the meat was soft and tangy rather refreshing compare to the other dishes

3. Achar - I just love achar, all achars.\

4. Laksa - Family thinks the coconut milk was too thick and taste bland. But I think with some more chill (1 teaspoon) the saltiness was OK. I just love thick beehoon

5. Chwee Kueh - The chwee kueh had dried shrimps and mushrooms in it so it was more flavor-full than the usual ones we have. The Chai Por was so-so.

I love nonya kuehs...if I go back to M'sia to visit my relatives I will surely eat a lot of kuehs. Truthfully, any of the roadside kueh stall taste so much better then the ones at Chill Padi and very much cheaper too.

Would appreciate more if they could serve 'traditional' drinks like lemongrass, longan+red dates, barley instead of fruit punch.

Service wise, would think they could be more attentive to the line-up. Like when the lettuce at the Kueh Peiti counter ran out, took them 20+min to realize, the chai por at the chwee kueh counter as well. Otherwise, they were quite attentive to clearing our tables of plates and dishes.

Also, I saw a Caucasian mother and daughter who came in to dine. They were asking the waiter on the various dishes. He was not able to explain clearly the ingredients used or the cooking method. I would think if the restaurateur wish to dabble in heritage food, he should prepare his staff with sufficient information to handle such situations.

Some might say that this could be too much to expect of a 'simple' place, but I think traditional food should be respected and compromising on price should not be an excuse.