Those who have been following the exploits of famed Singaporean chef Damian D’Silva will know his style of cooking well. His brand of cuisine, deeply informed by his heritage, is a welcome institution amidst today’s mass consumption culture.
At his latest venture, Rempapa, found within the serene dining enclave of Park Place Residences at PLQ, he continues delivering on that promise. At the same time, he’s taken things up a notch in the alcohol department too – something we wholeheartedly welcome.
It’s actually an all-day dining concept, a first for the celebrated chef. And though it’s amazing for proper lunches and dinners, we actually enjoy visiting Rempapa during the off hours for drinks and bites (and that’s exactly what we did).
[Read more: A rare union of cask ales, cocktails and craft beers at Good Intentions]
It’s a real luxury, in our books, given how the idea of having decent craft beers, cocktails and wines to go along with heritage food done so well is a rarely seen offering. And while the list of drinks available isn’t big by any means, it’s certainly well curated and hits a sweet spot.
For those into craft beer, definitely start with a draft pour of their Japanese brews available on tap. You won’t find the bog-standard Asahi or Sapporo here. Rather, the Swanlake Koshihikari Rice Lager (S$14/half-pint) is the perfectly crisp and refreshing beer to start with. We personally highly recommend the Ise Kadoya Hazy IPA (S$14/half-pint). This modern IPA style is fruity and juicy, and a sure hit for any hophead.
Then there are a few bottled and canned options for variety. Heretic’s Make America Juicy Again New England-style IPA (S$14/can) is another good bet for hoppy beer lovers, while the Tropical Hazy Sour Ale (S$14/can) by Anderson Valley Brewing Company is a mildly tart and aromatic brew that pairs well with some of the more heavily spiced foods on the menu.
For cocktails, we love how the succinct selection is able to make good use of local and regional ingredients well in their making. There’s the Kedondong Martini (S$12), a blissfully sour and bracing tipple which cleanses the palate nicely with each gulp. Meanwhile, the Ginger Flower (S$12) is a balanced and textured gin sour that features locally-made Rojak Gin for its potent aromatics.
[Read more: Slurp noodles, drink craft beers, wines and cocktails at the new Wanton Seng’s]
If looking for something more spirit-forward, the Papa’s Old Fashioned (S$20) is the drink to go for. It’s named after D’Silva himself, as not only is he often referred to as the grandfather of heritage cuisine (thus papa), the cocktail is also made using his favourite bourbon. We especially enjoy the use of gula melaka rather than simple white sugar in this twist on the classic.
A small but sufficient list of mostly Old World reds, whites, and sparklings make up the wine list at Rempapa. While you can certainly get them by the glass (S$12-13), bottle prices aren’t that steep (starts from S$65 for a Tempranillo), and some of the better options are only available as a full bottle.
There are actually sakes on the beverage menu too. Two, to be specific: a tokubetsu and a junmai ginjo. Both are dry and meant to pair well with the venue’s cuisine. We’re excited to see how much more Rempapa will develop their sake offering, as having a beverage like sake to go with heritage dishes is, once again, an authentically rare treat.
And we mean it when we say you probably can’t find this sort of menu anywhere else. For bar grub, step aside frozen chicken wings and french fries. At Rempapa, find comforting items like crispy Ayam Bakar (S$15) and charcoal-grilled Char Siew Pork (S$18) available.
We’re most impressed by the Chi Pao Kai (S$15). The delicious parchment-wrapped boneless chicken dish requires lots of skill and effort to make, which is probably why so few restaurants now offer this on their menus. Yet, to have this paired alongside good drink, we can only deem it a manifestation of one of life’s simple pleasures.
The dining menu is much bigger and more elaborate than the few bar bite items mentioned above, of course. And we haven’t even talked about the homemade kuehs yet. Which simply means there’s all the more reason for us to go back for a return visit.
Already, it’s music to the ears of all craft beer, cocktail and wine drinkers out there looking for a confluence such as this. We can’t wait to see (and taste) what’s next in store for Rempapa.
Rempapa is located at 2 Paya Lebar Road, #01-01/02/03, Park Place Residences at PLQ, Singapore 409053.
[Read more: At Binary, the meeting of two cuisines in one gastrobar concept]