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Veteran chef Damian D’Silva could be opening himself up to aggressive opinions when his new restaurant opens next week. 

The Masterchef Singapore judge, with over 20 years of experience under his belt (or shall we say toque?), will be whipping up refined local classics at Rempapa such as nasi lemak and Seafood Bee Hoon (from S$48), along with lesser-known dishes like Baca Assam (S$38), a forgotten tangy beef dish mixing Peranakan and Indian flavors. 

Located at Park Place Residences on Paya Lebar Road, the restaurant is set to welcome diners starting Dec. 4. The name itself is a combination of the words rempah, which means spice paste in Malay, and papa, referring to D’Silva’s reputation as “grandfather of heritage cuisine,” a label given to him on the reality cooking show.

Chef Damian D’Silva. Photo: Rempapa

“People call me ‘the grandfather of heritage cuisine,’ cooking recipes of my forefathers. But I don’t want to stay still,” the 65-year-old chef of Peranakan and Eurasian descent said in a news release. “That’s what Rempapa is all about – it is a stage to champion heritage cuisine to a level where someone younger can carry on to the next level.”

Highlights from his menu include Sri Lankan Chicken Curry and Tomato Chutney with String Hoppers (S$16), Braised Beef with Raita and Roti (S$25), and Stir-Fried Chee Cheong Fun (S$13). String hoppers refer to the stringy rice noodle dish commonly enjoyed with coconut or sugar, raita is a refreshing yogurt mixed with spices and herbs, and chee cheong fun refers to the Chinese rice noodle rolls.

A plate of the nasi lemak coconut rice dish at Rempapa ranges from S$5 to S$17 depending on the toppings. 

According to the chef, who had his culinary start in Europe, some of D’Silva’s recipes came from his grandparents and a Malay family friend he calls Aunty Zainab. There is also a “Chef’s Menu” comprising dishes using various fresh produce and seasonal fish catch from local waters.

For desserts, there is a durian cake, steamed yam cake known as talam keladi, and Coconut Custard with Gula Melaka (S$14). Diners coming for afternoon tea will have a wide selection of mostly Malay-Indonesian traditional cakes to choose from.

Baca Assam. Photo: Rempapa
Talam Keladi. Photo: Rempapa

FIND IT:
Rempapa
Park Places Residences at PLQ
Opening hours: 
Monday to Friday
Breakfast: 10:30am to Noon
Lunch: Noon to 3:30pm
Afternoon Tea & Bar Snacks: 3:30pm to 6pm Dinner & Bar Snacks: 6pm to 10:30pm
Saturdays, Sundays, and Public Holidays
Brunch: 9:30am to 3:30pm
Afternoon Tea & Bar Snacks: 3:30pm to 6pm 
Dinner & Bar Snacks: 6pm to 10:30pm

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This article, Masterchef Singapore’s Damian D’Silva to serve rare local gems at Rempapa, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia’s leading alternative media company.


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