Saturday, June 02, 2007

Another Gem of Joo Chiat

This is not supposed to be a food blog, but if you live in Katong you eat in Katong and so entries about food are inevitable. We went to a relatively new restaurant, Tasty Buds, the other night and had a really good meal! It has been reviewed by ieatishootipost - in fact the review had been printed out and put up outside the restaurant - but I found that there were so many other things to say about the place that I thought I would write it up too.

Tasty Buds is a clean, bright white restaurant, with the walls adorned by sprays of flowers alongside pictures of the food (by ieatishootipost). Service is pleasant and the food comes fairly quickly.

We had four dishes, the beef rendang, squid in special sauce, pork ribs and papaya curry and ladies' fingers with a hae bee (dried prawn) topping. Three of the four are captured in the photo collage - I've started using Picasa which has this rather handy feature. In brief:
  • Rendang - beef was tender, moist, in the tasty thick rendang curry gravy. However, it is not really that unique compared to the other three dishes.

  • Squid in special sauce - squid were cooked just right, no hint of rubberiness. Sauce was quite tasty, too.

  • Ladies fingers with hae bee topping - a winner here! The hae bee was pounded with shallots and sprinkled with lime juice. Pounded chilli was served on the side so you can add as much as you like.

  • Pork Rib and Papaya Curry - my favourite dish of the night. The curry gravy had the distinctive taste of laksa leaves, with a little hint of assam and lemon grass. The papaya was sweet and succulent and went surprisingly well with the curry. I'd absolutely want to eat this again.
The ladies' fingers and the pork rib curry are a little more unique and not quite the run-of-the-mill perankan food served in restaurants here. It certainly has the stamp of authenticity in the subtle blending of spices and flavours in the sauces and gravy of the food. I sense (but am not too sure) Penang influences? Certainly the slightly more assam/limey flavour of the last two dishes suggests it.

In short - Tasty Buds is certainly a welcome addition to the Joo Chiat food scene, especially since we now bereft of Peramakan which has moved to larger premises in Keppel Club. The best time to go to this restaurant is probably on weekdays. The car parking situation is terrible on weekends. It's situated near the cluster of foodie joints mentioned in an earlier post.


  1. Went back to Tasty Buds last night and ate the Lady's Fingers (again), a prawn sambal, cold tofu with special sauce and ikan belado.

    The food here is good, without doubt. The preparation is meticulous and the subtle tastes in sauces indicate that no short cuts were used. But the ikan belado was $8 for one fish, which is on the expensive side. Granted, it was served on a nice bed of lettuce with tomatoes alongside and with a topping of fried shallots flavoured with bunga kantan (or that rojak flower). But it was still just one fish. Likewise the prawn sambal - great sambal, but not too many prawns. So the previous selection was much better for us.

    Having said that, we tried the durian solo dessert this time. Yum! Cold durian filling, covered with hot crispy batter. Lovely!

  2. Sorry, one more update: Tasty Buds has closed down. :-(



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