SINGAPORE â€” I am sitting in a warmly-litÂ Ding DongÂ simply off Amoy Avenue and am reminded of the eclectic dÃ©cor that adorns eating places in Berlin. Classic hand-drawn posters from the 70s and 80s are prominently plastered on these partitions, in all probability a mirrored image of the proprietor’s style for pop artwork from a bygone period. The electro-pop tunes too appear to replicate thatâ€”’Scenario’ by Yazoo, Wham’s ‘Wake Me Up Earlier than You Go-Go’, and the inimitable ‘She’s A Maniac’ from the soundtrack of Flashdance. Head chef, Miller Mai and his band of merry males hustles about within the open kitchen on the far aspect, whereas I sit entranced as I at all times am on the goings-on of knowledgeable kitchen.
Tonight, Chef Millar takes beneath his wings three enthused cooks whose acquainted faces as soon as graced native tvâ€”Zander Ng (winner), Genevieve Lee (runner-up), and Aaron Wong (fifth runner-up). The theme for tonight’s 8-hands dinner is ‘Dwelling Actually’ that includes dishes which are a becoming homage to meals that holds particular which means from the contestant’s rising up childhood years. Individually, they’re gastronomic maestros of their rights, however beneath Chef Millar, their culinary prowess shines vibrant.
Dinner begins with a trio of Hors d’oeuvre by Chef Millar that’s in line with Ding Dong’s delicacies path of Fashionable Southeast Asian fareâ€”an Asian Soiree in the event you should, as my eating companion and I joked. You realize this can be a place of Asian persuasion when the default tableware is a fork, a spoon, and a pair of chopsticks. Singapore Chilli Crab & Kueh Pie Tee is a juicy and spicy rendition of the native staple we have come to know and embraced as heritage. Rendang Beef Cheek & Mini Bao is a fruitful train in bite-sized tenderness. DD Scotch Egg is exquisitely assembled and comes with a dropper that fills the egg with acidic and tart NÆ°á»›c Cháº¥m. General, a completely pleasant and elegant first impression.
However we’re right here to not marvel on the anticipated. As a substitute, dinner tonight is a check of what these new cooks, nonetheless moist behind their ears, can produce. From Aaron, comes Samsui Rooster, a plate of such genteel Class, and a humorous antithesis to his brusque exterior. Rooster is brined and bathed in liquid earlier than being original into an oblong block of terrine. It sits useless centre on the plate and is completely smooth and flavourful. However it’s not the rooster that made me gasp. That will be the ginger-garlic gelÃ©eâ€”a broad pearlescent strip made out of cooking ginger and rooster fats right into a tremendous paste. It’s paying homage to pale rooster pores and skin and is so good; I eat your entire piece all by itself. It’s palms down one of the modern and inventive parts I’ve had the honour of tasting as a meals author in a very long time.
From a block of rooster to a block of fish paste, Zander’s Otah Otah (or seafood custard because the menu suggests) is the precise reverse of Aaron’s creation in that it embraces visible and olfactory familiarity. Right here, it’s served coated with a banana leaf that has been charred in-situ (actually torched a number of arm’s lengths away) to imitate the scent of burnt leaf of an otah that’s grilled over charcoal. The fish paste is a combination of mackerel paste, chunks of barramundi, and scallops. The seafood custard, thankfully, does not fall removed from the otah treeâ€”it’s smooth and smoky with a heady aroma. White coconut slurry is creamy with a tinge of saltiness and provides a slight sweetness to an in any other case completely savoury dish.
The final providing is Gen’s Roasted Duck. Just like what she portrays on TV, this plate is audacious, courageous, and stuffed with dangers that solely the golden age of youth can afford. And they’re dangers that fortunately pays off. Duck breast is sous vide, seared, and served with a tart spiced plum jus, and creamy cauliflower puree. The duck itself is hard at elements, which is a disgrace as a result of when tender, it’s like slicing swiftly by way of butter. Nonetheless, let’s not throw the infant out with the bathwater. Sure parts shineâ€”just like the taro croquettes that take inspiration from the basic Cantonese dim sum, Wu Gok, and the extremely modern development of the Kumquat compote, basically pickled beetroot wrapped round kumquat to resemble a flower.
The 8-hands dinner runs on 2nd and third August in two seatingsâ€”6.30pm and eight.30pm. It’s priced at S$100++ per diner with an extra S$45++ for wine pairings.
115 Amoy Avenue S069935, +65 6557 0189
Mon – Sat: 12pm – 3pm & 6pm – 11.30pm, Solar: Closed