[Singapore] Nyonya lunch at Bonding Kitchen, Orchard Gateway

Due to its contractual obligations with its landlord, Bonding Kitchen opened back in Oct 2020 - at the very height of Singapore’s COVID lockdown - the Circuit Breaker (CB), one of the most challenging periods for any business owner, let alone a restaurant.

So, it was a miracle, really, that not only did it survive the pandemic, Bonding Kitchen’s business is thriving nowadays as Singaporeans go on a “revenge dining” spree.

Curiosity got the better of me - as we’d all seen so many Peranakan/Nyonya restaurants come and go in the past few years. So, what does Bonding Kitchen offers that made it succeed where others have failed, and what made it “different” compared to what we’ve seen before? Knowing me, a gourmand friend chose this place for our lunch. The owner-chef, Danny Chew, was very amiable, and breath of fresh air when it came to sharing his thoughts.

We decided to “play safe” with our orders - opting for the most basic Nyonya staples.

Ayam Buah Keluak - Chef Danny Chew’s rendition was pitch-black, with strong deep flavours - generous in his use of the mushroomy, truffle-like “buah keluak” flesh.

Babi Pongteh - the classic comfort food for many Peranakans: stewed pork belly with fermented bean sauce (“taucheo”).

Wagyu Beef Rendang - melt-in-the-mouth renditon, Very flavorsome.

Sotong Masak Hitam - perhaps the best dish at lunch today: the squid flesh was perfectly cooked, and very tender.

Nyonya Chap Chye - I’d never been able to find a really good rendition of this stewed vegetable dish in commercial establishments, but Chef Danny puts in more effort than most others in reprising this flavorsome dish, which should have a “rempah” spice mix as a base, with a pork-prawn broth for additional umami flavors, plus dried lily-buds to add a sourish slant to the dish.

Chendol - one hardly finds any cendol worth writing home about here in Singapore - for the simple reason that Singapore commercial establishments never use fresh coconut milk to favor the dessert. You get good ones in Malaysia: Malacca, Penang, etc. Never in Singapore.
The one here was, again, a very good effort, but also uses canned coconut milk like all other places here in Singapore.

Overall, a very good effort by Bonding Kitchen to present Singaporeans with Nyonya cuisine as comfort food. It sticks to tradition close enough to preserve most of the traditional flavours.

Bonding Kitchen
277 Orchard Road, #02-18 Orchard Gateway, Singapore 238858
Tel: +65 8860 9087
Opening hours: 11.30am to 9.30pm daily