PUBLISHED January 19th, 2021 06:00 am | UPDATED February 1st, 2021 10:39 pm
Private kitchens, home dining, supper clubs – whatever you call them, they’ve been thundering up a storm in Singapore’s gourmet scene. Over the last two years, we’ve seen a rich crop of bookings-only venues by both veteran chefs and self-taught cooks. Some cook up quirky themes, some draw on old family recipes, while still others are shaking up the scene with homebrews and tipples. What unites the best of the lot, though, is a passion for sharing good food in cosy company. Bookings go fast and long waiting lists are not uncommon, so these are the folks to keep on your watchlist.
‘Fuku’ means luck in Japanese, and we’d certainly count ourselves lucky to get fat on Fatfuku’s delish offerings. From her charming East Coast home, veteran food writer Annette Tan dishes up Peranakan fare drawn from her family’s cherished recipes. Her own extensive dining experiences shine through as well, resulting in eclectic gems like Bak Kwa Jam Palmiers, Secreto Iberico Pongteh, and Pork Belly Buah Keluak ‘Briyani’. Then there’s her divine sugee cake topped with malted corn ice-cream, which has won itself a devoted following.
FatFuku is located at 665 East Coast Road, Singapore 459044, p. +65 9387 6399. Each seven-course menu is priced at S$110 per pax, for a minimum of six people. Dinners take place from Tuesdays to Thursdays.
The ‘test kitchen’ of Artichoke chef-owner Bjorn Shen, Small’s brings all his big ideas for wild and whimsical pizzas to life. The omakase menu each month is as unpredictable as his imagination, but expect surprises like squid ink pies, pizzas inspired by pastas, and the lovechild of pizza and banh mi. At around S$650++ for a group of four, it’s one of the priciest dining experiences out there, but we’d happily spend dough on such good dough. Check out our review here.
Small’s is located at 115 King George’s Avenue, #02-02, Singapore 208561. Available booking slots are released each month via smalls.as.me/schedule. Sessions are priced around S$650++ per group of four.
The Humble Pit
The tagline ‘We like to play with fire’ gives it away – The Humble Pit loves their grilled and smoked meats. Manning the grill is Eugene Sito, a 26-year-old finance grad and a self-taught cook since his teens. From his humble backyard grill comes mouthwatering gems like lamb shoulder rubbed with homemade harissa, applewood-smoked soya duck, and octopus leg with kombu buttered corn. Savour your smoke-kissed feast alfresco, on the roof terrace of his Kovan home.
The Humble Pit is located in Kovan, full address to be confirmed after booking. Dinners take place on Saturdays and Sundays. Each six-course dinner is priced at S$80 per pax, for groups of 4, 6, 7, or 8 pax.
Ownself Make Chef
The erstwhile head chef of Wok & Barrel and Revolution Coffee, Shen Tan is famed for her brand of mod-sin (aka modern Singaporean) nosh. These days, you can catch her cooking at inventive themed dinners hosted in her Commonwealth HDB flat. Typically sold out weeks in advance, these biweekly dinners run the gamut from Sinfully Seafood to Deluxe Dry Aged Meat Delights to her signature aPORKalypse. Kooky play with Singaporean flavours result in marvels like durian pork ribs and mee siam ceviche. Check out our review here.
Chef Rajagopalan Kumar has quite the illustrious list of culinary stints under his belt, including spells in the Google Singapore kitchen and at Daniel Boulud’s New York and Marina Bay Sands restaurants. These days, he serves up classical French creations for supper club guests at his stylish apartment in Tanjong Rhu. Think mushroom risotto generously shaved over with black truffles, eggplant tarte tatin, and a fall-off-the-bone duck leg confit that even the fussiest eaters can’t resist. Oh, and his plating game is impeccable too.
Fussy Duck is located at 21 Sampan Place, Singapore 436593, p. +65 9014 6386. Dinners take place from Fridays to Sundays. Each five-course dinner is priced at S$120 per pax, for a minimum of six pax.
Section D Bar
The private dining trend has well and truly exploded, but what about private tippling? Run by media veteran Dannon Har and his wife Jamie, Sengkang home bar Section D Bar is among the first of its kind. Experimenting with everything from fat-washing to milk-clarifying, his tipples are spiked with plenty of creativity – he’s even homebrewed his own gula melaka stout. Toss back his concoction of the week on his breezy balcony, then work your way through his Signatures lineup – don’t forget to ask about the romantic tale behind his smoky, bourbon-based The Proposal. We hear an omakase menu is in the works as well, featuring options that’ll take your tastebuds travelling across Italy and Japan.
The brainchild of husband-and-wife duo Chris Choo and Rose Sivam, Relish.sg serves up your pick of the world’s heritage dishes on a plate. Chef Chris believes in staying true to old-school recipes and techniques, no matter how grueling the work involved – where else would you get to relish creamy rendang tok, stirred in coconut milk for four hours straight? You’ll find lesser-known traditional delights from India, Morocco, Spain, and more in his repertoire, with takeaways also available for delivery. Check out our review here.
Relish.sg is located at 116 Serangoon North Avenue 1, #04-513, Singapore 550116, p. +65 9793 1821. Bookings are available throughout the week. Each five-course dinner is priced from S$300 for two pax.
Slow food is in the blood of Italian-born Antonio Miscellaneo, a philosophy bred of a youth spent milling flour and making cheese in Veneto. In his elegant Joo Chiat condo, he serves up the best of his home country with seasonal ingredients, pastas made from scratch, and pizza dough carefully fermented for days. Put together your own menu from his full-fledged selection of antipasti, pizzas and pastas, seafood, and desserts, and prepare to be regaled.
Casa Nostra is located at 250 Tembeling Road, Singapore 423728, e. [email protected] Bookings are available throughout the week. Menus are priced from S$150 per pax for Tues-Thurs and S$165 per pax for Fri-Sat.
The Matriarch’s Kitchen
One of many delicious home-based ventures to open during the pandemic, The Matriarch’s Kitchen turns the spotlight on Southeast Asian cuisine. The matriarch in question is digital entrepreneur Jazmyn Widjaya, whose cooking reflects her rich mix of roots. Feast close to home with her Flavours of Singapore menu – featuring black pepper flower crab and melt-in-the-mouth chicken rendang – or turn up the heat with Thai classics like tom yum soup with tiger prawns and basil pork stir-fry. You won’t go thirsty either – Melissa Koh of @buttercupmixes will be mixing up free-flow cocktails throughout the night, including surprises like the mango sticky rice-inspired Mangonolada.
The Matriarch’s Kitchen is located at Bartley Road, full address to be confirmed after booking, e. [email protected] The Flavours of Singapore dinner takes place on Sundays, while the Veritable Thai Cuisine dinner takes place on Mondays only. Each seven-course dinner is priced from S$600 for five pax.
Lucky House Cantonese Private Kitchen
You might have to book a year in advance, but Lucky House’s Cantonese comforts are well worth the wait. Run by self-taught chef Sam Wong, this wildly popular private kitchen offers traditional nosh made with lots of labour and love. Think soup charcoal-boiled for over ten hours, almond paste hand-ground by chef Sam in his heirloom stone mill, and his melt-in-the-mouth signature: roast duck marinated for two days. Even the greens are plucked straight from his organic veggie garden, cultivated at the back of his rustic terrace house.
Lucky House Cantonese Private Kitchen is located at 267 Upper East Coast Rd, Singapore 466413, p. +65 9823 7268. Bookings are available from Mondays to Fridays. Eight- to nine- course dinner menus are priced from S$100 per pax.
**Lucky House has temporarily suspended bookings till November 2022.
Ben Fatto 95
Pasta beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, as an evening with ex-Artichoke line chef Lee Yum Hwa will show you. Forget your bog-standard fusilli and fettuccine: in his Paya Lebar pasta laboratory, all sorts of unusual pastas take shape. His recent exploits include lorighittas – delicate braided rings that hail from Sardinia – and cappellacci, hat-shaped pastas traditionally filled with winter squash. Course after scrumptious pasta course in a lush, semi-alfresco setting? Sounds like our idea of carb heaven.
**Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ben Fatto 95 has temporarily suspended bookings. Delivery of fresh pasta is available for ordering via his Instagram page.
Top Image: The Matriarch’s Kitchen