On Sunday, we had an advance celebratory lunch for Mom-in-law.
MIL hinted that she’d like Indonesian food, so we made reservations at Tambuah Mas. This was our first time at the Paragon outlet; previously, we used to go to Tanglin Shopping Centre, which we remember as being good and consistent.
First to arrive, the dish that everyone orders at Tambuah Mas: their signature tahu telor. It didn’t disappoint.
Tahu=beancurd, telor=egg. Very simple ingredients indeed, but in the hands of a master, they can be transformed into a magical dish.
Some places have a tendency to over-fry or make this dish too oily, but Tambuah Mas’s version was relatively light. The egg batter was crispy and airy, while the large tofu cubes remained warm and soft. A light drizzle of kecap manis (dark sweet soy) added sweetness without being too cloying.
Another crowd-pleaser was the chicken satay. Loved the tender meat (they used chicken leg) and the spice marinade that was aromatic without being overwhelming. The accompanying peanut dip was deliciously rich and nutty.
I never fail to order this at Tambuah Mas — fish head simmered in sweet-spicy-tangy assam gravy. The gravy is very distinctive, with exceedingly well-balanced flavors. Somehow, that piquantly wicked gravy just whets your appetite for more. The fish head was fresh and meaty with no hint of fishiness.
So far, the main stars were impressive. What about the supporting cast?
Perkadel aka bergedil aka potato croquette with minced chicken. Nice, but not particularly memorable. Rather pricey too, but then, each croquette was nearly as big as a fist!
The sayur lodeh (cabbage, long bean, and beancurd simmered in coconut gravy) got the thumbs up from MIL for its gentle scent and mildness. The aromatics were warm and fragrant, while the gravy wasn’t too lemak (coconutty), resulting in a light and pleasant vegetable curry.
Another vegetable dish, cos it’s good to eat more greens! This stir-fry is actually more Chinese than Indonesian.
Hmm, we really regretted ordering the ayam goreng (fried chicken). The meat was SO dry and tough! It was a very small serving, but even then, we couldn’t finish it. So hard to chew!
Because the soto ayam (chicken soup) arrived barely warm, it got cold really fast. The broth was fairly tasty, with a mini perkadel and generous amounts of shredded chicken and glass noodle. But once again, the shredded chicken was tough and chewy.
Time for mouthwash! Hehe, that’s what “pencuci mulut” literally means. In Bahasa Indonesian, the term for dessert is “pencuci mulut”, or literally, “mouthwash”. What a colorful saying!
Actually, we were already stuffed, but we couldn’t resist dessert, so we ordered 3 items to share. Can you spot Melissa, our niece, in the background? That was one of the rare moments during the meal when she was very well-behaved. LOL
Thank goodness we didn’t pass on desserts, for they were absolutely fabulous! All three items we tried were all rich without being overly sweet or heavy. The Apokat (avocado shake), which can get rather cloying, was creamy but refreshing.
Our unanimous conclusion: Hits and misses for the main courses, but on the whole, they were decent. I haven’t been back to the Tanglin branch for some years, but I remember standards there were higher.
On the other hand, desserts were awesome. We wanna come back just for the desserts!
Each person was charged S$1.00 for plain rice. Together with miscellaneous charges and taxes, total bill was $125.70 for 5 adults and 1 child.
Tambuah Mas Indonesian Restaurant (Paragon)
290 Orchard Road
Tel: +65 6733 2220