Sunday, November 25, 2007


Once upon a time, not so very long ago, my father tried to make a reservation at one of the nonya restaurants on Joo Chiat Road, PeraMakan. My family members (my immediate family, plus my aunt) turned up at the restaurant at the appointed time, only to find that it was closed. What was going on? My father called again the next day and was told that it had shifted across the island, to Keppel Club.

Katong's loss, Pasir Panjang's gain. The restaurant had shifted because its Joo Chiat Road premises was just too small to cater to its growing clientele. And this, mind you, excludes the people who stopped going there because they didn't like seeing ladies in very short skirts standing outside the bars in the vicinity. We went to PeraMakan recently to celebrate my father's birthday. Indeed, the excellence of the meal only served to rub in the fact that our patronage would be restricted to only the occasional meal/ special occasion.

Ah yes, this is a special restaurant indeed as it has slightly different dishes to offer than the normal Peranakan fare. The husband manages the waiters, the wife the kitchen. She was originally from Penang and so there are a few Penang-ish dishes on the menu too. So here are some shots of the Jantung Pisang Kerabu (banana bud salad), their ayam buah keluak with its thick, rich gravy and the apom which was eaten with banana sauce. We actually did order many, many more dishes (beef rendang, otak, and the extremely yummy durian pangab) but I got tired of stopping my eating to take photos. That's just how good this place is. Sedap sedap.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Conservation and Destruction

En Bloc fever is raging in the small little corner of Singapore around Amber Road, Katong. New condominiums are replacing old (20-40 year old?)properties. "Seaview" has replaced the old Seaview hotel. "One Amber" and "Esta" replaced the old Maryland Park. Amberville too is being torn down. Rose Garden, Paramount Hotel, are on offer; Amber Park has the 80% required for the site to be offered for sale. King's Mansion is said to be on the way out. And 2 more smaller sites are being built up now. Thus we will see the transformation of Amber Road. It used to be a charming place to live, but it is certainly not too pleasant now with all the construction going on.

Now most of the buildings being torn down are fundamentally sound. So it is ironic that some near ruins are being "preserved" for posterity. The former Grand Hotel on Still Road is a conservation building. Built in 1917, it was indeed a beautiful, stately building (see the URA walking guide link for more information). There are two main buildings, one on either side of Still Road. The first was operating as a hotel for many years, it has only recently been turned into what I understand is a storage area. The second is deserted and has been for years. It is practically a ruin. I really can't see anyone investing the money needed to make it habitable, far less restoring it to its former glory. The only way would be for the adjoining plot to be sold off together with this building for a condominium development and then some of the profits could be used to restore the house.


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