Popo aka: a Chinese Singaporean grandmother.
Why we love this: Pó, located in the lobby of The Warehouse Hotel, serves up traditional Singaporean food in a modern environment. The whimsical theme is the best part of the restaurant which summons the persona of a sharp, crafty popo aka: a Chinese Singaporean grandmother. At Pó diners will get the chance to feast family-style on flavorful local dishes such as popiah and fried noodles even if they don’t have their own popo to run to.
In Singapore and other Asian cultures, popos are sharp, sarcastic and of course, excellent cooks. They are tough as nails and hard to impress. They will probably yell at you just as often as they spoil you with delicious treats and food. This biting, lovable grandmother figure is what Chef Willin Low channeled to create a traditional yet sophisticated dining experience at Pó. The restaurant “seeks to bridge the gap between our nation’s vibrant culinary heritage and our rich collective memories of home cooked specialties.”
The colorful menu is full of local Singaporean dishes one will find being cooked in the streets as well as in the kitchen at homes for family dinners. Diners can enjoy elevated versions of local fare such as street snacks, salads and noodle dishes served with carefully selected and refined ingredients.
Small plates, popiahs, mains and sides are served to be shared family style, which is perfect as there are many delectable items to choose from. True to Singaporean culture, the menu is full of dishes that have Chinese, Thai, Hainanese and Hong Kong influences. The restaurant only uses the freshest produce and ingredients from locally farmed barramundi to Mediterranean wild red prawns.
The bar menu is executed by the stylish lobby bar of The Warehouse Hotel. It was creatively inspired by different eras of Singapore’s history, such as the days of the Spice Trade, the days of seedy hedonism and the warehouse’s heyday as the city’s most popular disco. Native herbs, spices and liquors make for a unique mixology program in which diners at Pó will definitely want to partake. Otherwise there’s always a reliable wine list from which families and couples can order an elegant bottle to share.
The menu is comes with witty, hilarious sayings, aka Popo’s Pearls of Wisdom on every page, such as “In life you are either hamster or gangster.” This way the irreplaceable and humorous spirit of popo is always present throughout the meal giving diners a fun, unique taste of Singapore’s culinary culture.
The creative force behind Pó is none other than Willin Low, the pioneer of Modern Singaporean—mod sin for short—himself. Chef Low took on the role of executive chef at The Warehouse Hotel while concurrently running his successful flagship restaurant, Wild Rocket.
While developing the concept and menu for Pó, Chef Low stayed committed to elevating and showcasing local Singaporean classics and popular hawker fare.
“Po is very much about family and celebrating the communal experience. That is why one of our signature dishes is the popiah – everyone’s favourite popiah is their family’s own recipe and the process of sitting together to make your own popiah is what makes the meal that much more meaningful and special. Singaporeans love bonding over food, and with Po, we wanted to create a space where guests from all over the world can come together, share this in excitement with their loved ones and sample our rich local flavours.”
Don’t leave without trying:
Carabinero Prawns & Konbu Mee: Every bit of the shrimp, from head to tail, and the bed of fried noodles it lays on is rich, juicy and satisfying. Every bite is an explosion of umami flavors mixed in with homemade spicy sambal.
Traditional Kueh Pie Tee: Pie Tee is a yummy street food snack often found in hawker centers around Singapore and Malaysia. It consists of a crispy cone-shaped cup filled with a combination of meat, seafood and vegetables. The Traditional Kueh Pie Tee, stuffed with pork and root vegetables topped off with shrimp and hot sauce, is the perfect appetizer to pop into your mouth as you start your meal.
Popiah: Popiah is another street food snack similar to a spring roll found in most hawker centers. At Pó, extra tender love and care is taken to recreate this familiar and beloved cultural dish. Fresh handmade wheat skins are wrapped around stewed pork, shrimp or crabmeat with caramelized vegetable filling. There’s an entire guide explaining the skillfully wrap up popiah just like popo so that guests can wrap the rolls by hand themselves.
Goreng Pisang: The heavenly scoop of coconut gelato makes this dessert worth every filling bite. The fried banana fritters covered with crispy rice is the perfect hot complement to the delectable ice cream. But seriously, don’t finish your meal without trying the coconut gelato.
Whisky Houston: The Whisky Houston contains a flavorful, aromatic mixture of whisky, toffee, spiced bitters, nutmeg and coconut milk. It’s a bit on the sweeter side which makes it a great alternative to dessert.
Family dinners, traditional home-style cooking, seafood lovers, stylish date nights
Photos: Nadia Cho
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