One of the new areas that is gaining popularity for restaurants and cafes is Kandahar Road. This is in Kampung Glam - the popular Muslim enclave between Beach Road and Victoria Street. Bumbu is an interesting concept. It is an Indonesian-Thai restaurant - with Peranakan flavours thrown in for good measure. Once you walk in the door you are greeted with lots of beautiful period Peranakan furniture.
The ground floor dining area is quite small - but it is the 1st floor dining space that is the gem. It is a really nice feeling to be surrounded by museum-quality period furniture and objet d'art.
My friend was the host for this lunch, so he had ordered a selection of their most popular dishes - with a bit of everything from the Indonesian, Thai and Peranakan menu. All these 3 cuisines are big on flavours and not shy on their seasonings - so we were in for a sensory treat.
We started with some appetizers - first up was a salad of eggs and potato - a popular Indonesian dish. The peanut sauce would be familiar to those who have tried satay - it has the same flavour profile.
The 2nd appetizer was Tahu Telor - a tofu and egg salad. It sounded simple but is actually a bit more complex - the egg has been deepfried until crispy - the tofu is also deepfried but still tender inside. Served with a rojak sauce which has a nice balance of sweet, sour and umami - for me this was the dish of the day as it had interesting textures, flavours and hits all the right notes.
Pandan Chicken - a Thai staple, and this was a good version.
Steamed fish with spicy lime sauce - for me this dish was the least exciting. The food was good - but the sauce lacked complexity and flavour kick.
Pomelo salad. Very fresh prawns and nice pomelo, but the sauce was a bit too sweet.
Thai-style fried rice. This was a deluxe version of the usual pineapple fried rice - augmented with prawns and cashew nuts. It was very good.
Bumbu was a pleasant surprise. At first the combination of Thai, Indonesian and Peranakan cuisines sounded like it could be a mash-up of flavours, but the dishes do work together very well. The Peranakan infused ambiance of the restaurant is nice and cosy, and the pricing is quite reasonable by Singapore standards. Definitely a good place to dine.