Damian D'Silva continues to work his culinary heritage magic at Kin
The recent furore over Nasi Lemak vs Peranakan Nasi Lemak is something I do not want to wade into, but food - especially heritage food - does indeed stir passion.
So it was not a surprise that during my meal at Kin, I was moved enough to verbalise my appreciation with "Oohs" and "Oh my god".
The Lo & Behold Group must be lauded for creating dining experiences.
It has restaurants that deftly combine excellent food, appropriate atmosphere and, no matter how casual, a sense of "atas".
These hallmarks are all present at its latest offering Kin, located at private members' club Straits Clan.
The man in the kitchen is chef Damian D'Silva.
Most culinary fans will know what to expect from this MasterChef Singapore judge - robust flavours, traditional recipes, seemingly simple but oh-so-complex food, and some of the spiciest chilli sauces available in Singapore.
The first "Ooh" went to one of my favourite things to eat, Nasi Ulam ($18).
Some say this is a divisive dish, which I find ridiculous. Who wouldn't love that fresh herby crunch?
It's a labour-intensive dish that there are rarely bad versions of. But the one at Kin is truly special.
There are bits of prawns, salted fish and herbs mixed together to create a party in the mouth.
The first time I tried Singgang ($18) was at Chef D'Silva's previous restaurant Folklore, and it's great he brought this here too.
This is a Eurasian dish made out of deboned wolf herring.
The flesh is cooked with aromatics such as blue ginger, turmeric and belacan, and you end up with a small precious bowl of punchiness.
While the Hakka Fried Pork ($18) isn't inferior, it doesn't match up to the satisfaction of the other dishes. It has enough flavours from the red fermented beancurd and five spice, but it isn't memorable.
You'll want to skip this if you don't want to fill up too much.
While the Gulai ($38) doesn't look like much, the tender braised beef cheek melts right into the 15-spice coconut gravy.
Simplicity is good, but this time, more is more.
I love the aromatic gravy with the buttery beef.
I am not a dessert person, but I polished off the Dessert Sampler ($24) and wanted more.
Chef D'Silva's Kueh Kosui is legendary, with a melt-in-your-mouth sensation that is hard to beat.
The Kueh Bengkah is almost always too sweet, but Kin's version is balanced.
And sugee cake is, for me, one of the best culinary inventions.
It has become more and more difficult to get this semolina butter cake. And when you find one that's good, you must eat more.
There may be a couple more versions I prefer, but this one is still delightful.
One thing I respect about Chef D'Silva is his steadfast quest to preserve Singapore's culinary heritage, and it's wonderful to see that quest continue at Kin.
Straits Clan Lobby, 31 Bukit Pasoh Rd
Tel: 6320-9180, Website: restaurant-kin.com
Opens Mondays to Saturdays, noon to 2.30pm, 6.30pm to 9.30pm