Suppose we allow ourselves to be led by Warung SCI พริกป่น มะนาว (Prikphun Manow)’s store. In that case, low-profile glass front, green-dominated interior with a compact seating of wooden tables and backless chairs—then the humble eatery seems to belong in the row of shophouses in Kelapa Gading. But a word of the wise tells us not to judge a book by its cover, which applies to this eatery with many tricks up their sleeves.
Helmed by Chef-Owner Philip, Warung SCI combines Thai and Peranakan-style cuisines in his diner, and through the unique fusion of the two, Philip created a range of delectable seafood dishes that have kept people coming back throughout the years since 2013. But behind this humble identity, Philip pours his soul into his cooking almost all week long and never skimps on the handpicked ingredients from selected suppliers, abiding by his unrestrained philosophy: “If you don’t want to eat trash, don’t serve trash.”
As such, leave all preconceptions at the door if you dine here. Where Philip’s daily finds dictate the daily menu, the selections are ever-changing, but one can expect the consistency of quality and deliciousness of their seafood specialities. Options vary between fish and crustaceans cooked using various techniques that mesh the best of Thai and Peranakan cooking. While Warung SCI’s pride, the northern-style Tom Yum is highly recommended, any pick from the day’s menu can bring a diverse flavourful experience within each bite. With Phil in the kitchen, his parents, who affectionately refer to themselves as Om and Tante (uncle and aunty), run the show at the dining area. And if you’re lucky enough to get a weekend spot, you can even enjoy a free Thai dessert from Tante to close your meal.
Being a family-run restaurant, chatty banters and cajoling with Phil, Om and Tante will fill the air. While that may read like a recipe for disaster, Warung SCI has nonetheless successfully garnered a loyal pool of customers of expats, locals and the typical white-collars from embassies and offices. There’s no luck for a walk-in table, and the streams of incoming customers secured their spots via reservation days ahead. It serves as a testament that even in today’s F&B scene—marked with competitions and strong branding—genuine food perseveres and will take the spotlight over any façades of prestige.