Friday, December 28, 2012

Tambuah Mas, Tanglin Shopping Centre

This is one review I have been wanting to publish for a long time. If you have been reading my reviews on other Indonesian or Nasi Padang food, you will remember that I always compare it with Tambuah Mas' food. The reason is that Tambuah Mas has been my family's top favourite for over 20 years (save for a bad experience in December 2011, and some misses through the years). Yes - we have been eating there for that long!

Note: I am referring to the restaurant at Tanglin Shopping Centre only. My mother said that their Paragon restaurant does not serve as delicious food.

Tambuah Mas' decor has remained the same throughout the years. Goodness knows how old the chairs and tables are! But the moment I step in, I feel comfortable because of strong familiarity with the place. 

Earlier this year the restaurant underwent some renovation work, but when it reopened the only noticeable changes were that brighter lights were used, and glass windows replaced a wall along the common corridor.

Rendang Lembu

In my opinion, Tambuah Mas whips up one of the two best beef rendangs in Singapore. It is not that the beef is melt-in-your-mouth tender (although it is tender enough that you can pull it apart with a fork), but that it is so imbued with the taste of the spices that you taste beef rendang in every strand of meat. Each spoon of rendang gravy is packed with shredded coconut and spices, and bursting with so much flavour that you could just eat plain rice with it only.

The other top-tasting beef rendang is Rumah Rasa's, cooked by Chef Sharifah. Comparing the two, Tambuah Mas' has a darker, drier feel whilst Rumah Rasa's is slightly brighter and more creamy.

Ikan Pepes

Wrapped in the banana leaf is a mixture of shredded seabass fillet and spices. Although its size makes it seem more like a side dish than a main dish, its taste bumps it up to the main dish category.

Tahu Telor (without the spicy sweet dark sauce)

This tasty tower of fried egg and cubed tauhu is Tambah Mas' speciality. They do one of the biggest tahu telor's that I have seen, and one of the best that I have tasted. Crispy, fluffed up strands of egg weaving between the tauhu cubes... when this dish arrives on our table, everyone just tears it apart and digs in. 

One thing though is that the tahu telor seems to have been getting more greasy through the years. I do hope the chef will try to drain out as much oil as possible before serving it because no one likes a grease bomb.

Kepala Ikan Istimewa

Everytime my father eats with us at Tambuah Mas, we order this assam fish head because it is his favourite. The tomato red assam gravy has the right balance of spicy, sweet and sour, and adds a nice tang to the meaty fish head. 

Even if it meant turning the dish into a fish-veg dish, I wish they served the fish head with much more lady's fingers, tomatoes and onions. The gravy goes so well with the vegetables that I think the restaurant could introduce a stewed vegetable dish using the assam gravy.

 Gado Gado

(Edit for insertion of Gado Gado, 27 March 2013)

Gado Gado is an Indonesian salad comprising boiled vegetables topped with a peanut dressing. You can look at it as another kind of rojak. My favourite version so far has been Tambuah Mas', because their peanut gravy is thicker and not so sweet (or at least less sweet than Ayam Penyet Ria's).

Tambuah Mas usually whips up a decent-sized gado gado, so we were surprised this time when what looked like a mere handful of veggies and another handful of belinjau crackers with not-enough peanut dressing was placed at our table. Tasty, but the size of the dish served to us was a disappointment.

Es Chendol

As the coconut milk that Tambuah Mas uses is fresh and creamy with a slight natural sweetness, their desserts with coconut milk in turn taste lovely. In fact I would be happy with just the coconut milk and shaved ice. I wish I knew where they buy their coconut milk from because I would immediately

Tambuah Mas

Tanglin Shopping Centre
19 Tanglin Road
Singapore 247909

Opening hours: 11am - 10pm daily

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