I was in the Arab Street vicinity, where I attended the media launch of the Very Short International Film Festival 2012. Having absolutely no dinner plans made, we resorted to the HungryGoWhere iPhone app in search of a place to pacify my grumbling tummy.
Bumbu is situated in the Kampong Glam enclave on Kandahar Street, housed in a quaint and historical shophouse. Having featured on our local Channel 8 television show – the Buffet Buffet season 2《永远吃不肥2 》 categorised under the “below $20 buffet dinner” – this restaurant is bustling with activity.
Bumbu Kandahar is the flagship outlet of the establishment, with a second outlet at China Square; the former seats 60 comfortably, while the latter seats 130.
The restaurant is adorned with evocative pieces and collectibles that have been accumulated by the owner over the past decades, radiating a nostalgic and homely setting that makes an ideal place for gregarious family gatherings.
Serving up a fusion of Thai-Indonesian cuisine, the delectable homely offerings will appease the taste buds of the idiosyncratic.
Ala Carte Buffet Items
$16.80+ for adult
The Bumbu Salad is Derrick’s personal favourite. Don’t be fooled by its outlandish appearance; the ingredients are well commingled in a delicate dressing with a hint of spice, which works especially well with the century eggs!
Cold Tofu with Preserved Egg
Another dish that comes with century eggs is the Cold Tofu with Preserved Egg. The tofu is soothingly cold and slides down your throat easily. It makes a nice counterbalance to the spicy dishes. The standard of the dish is slightly inconsistent though; we ordered 3 servings of it, and they all tasted slightly differently.
Thai and Indonesian cuisines are usually associated with spices; hence I foresee their recurring presence in the forthcoming dishes.
Seafood Fried Egg Salad
The Seafood Fried Egg Salad is a complete surprise for someone who’s never ventured much into the more exotic Asian cuisine.
Seafood ingredients pile up over the deep-fried egg. The crispness of the egg gives ceaseless pleasure; I was enjoying it so much that everything else on the plate was left untouched.
Chicken Tofu Soup
My mood was dampened upon tasting the Chicken Tofu Soup. It has taste, but lacks flavour. I suspect that they dilute the soup with a high ratio of water and then compensate for the lack of taste by adding salt, thus attributing to the lack of flavours from the initial ingredients.
The soup comes with pieces of tofu and a miniscule amount of minced chicken within.
Tom Yum Soup
The Tom Yum Soup fares better than the Chicken Tofu Soup by leaps and bounds, although not magnificent enough to be crowned the best.
The soup comes brimming with an assortment of seafood, with piquant flavours that immediately whet my appetite.
Red Curry Chicken
I do not recommended the Red Curry Chicken. When I eat chicken curry, I want to be able to identify which part of the chicken I’m about to devour. The Red Curry Chicken comes with tiny pieces of chicken that are thrown in for the sake of doing so, carrying absolutely no flavours of the aromatic curry.
Mini Spring Roll
I absolutely adore the Mini Spring Roll, and I couldn’t stop munching on them. The thin and crispy skin breaks easily in your mouth, enclosed with a soft, juicy filling.
Steam Fish in Spicy Lime Sauce
The Steam Fish boast plump and tender flesh, all in absence of fishy stench. It is light on the palate and makes a healthier choice.
Fried Fish Slice House Chilli
This dish stole the show with the tantalising chilli sauce, crispy textures, succulent flesh and aromas. It is definitely something I would order again and again and again.
My worst nightmare: green veggies with stems and leaves. Although vegetables are the last things I would consider ordering in a restaurant, since it is a buffet, I figure I should just order one to complete the meal. Flavours are good, but I just couldn’t stomach the fibrous and stem-y greens.
Nonya Chapchai is loosely translated as a Nonya-style mixed vegetable stew. It is a vegetable dish that I am willing to stomach, if it is well cooked.
Bumbu’s version is tasty, though I have to say that I prefer my Peranakan grandmother’s rendition, which comes bursting with flavours –I am totally impartial.
Chilli Onion Omelette
The Chilli Onion Omelette is another highly favoured dish; it is a simple, homely and comforting dish. I think my mum will enjoy this, since she loves eggs, but the amount of oil used for frying calls for self-restraint.
Without having to purchase a plane ticket, Bumbu’s cuisine brings you to the lands of Thailand and Indonesia. Bumbu will gratify the ravenous with over 20 items to choose from for less than $20 –it is definitely deemed value-for-money.
Remember to make reservations to secure a table during the crowded weekends!
This restaurant is Halal certified. *A mini shout-out to Haz and Aiman, do check it out!
$16.80+ for adult
Daily Lunch 11am-3pm
Daily Dinner 6pm-10pm
Closed on Mondays
Bumbu Kandahar (Main)
(Free parking after 5pm)