How much do you know about Singapore?
Me.. not an awful lot. I transit there. I buy stuff from its airport during transit. I eat at, well, at its Starbucks. So, when it comes to proper Singaporean food, I am a real novice. Plusixfive, run by Goz at an undisclosed, yet relatively central location, comes in handy, a great way to initiate me (and you) to this vast Singaporean foodscape. It also runs a strict policy of no SG fried noodle!!
Who is Goz?
A Singaporean happy chap.. slimmer than The Skinny Bib (damn).. with a day-time job and a raw talent for cooking. In a compact flat and a living room with an open plan kitchen, he cooks a storm using self-taught means and instinct. The front of house of the evening was Wen and Eunice, who also contributed dishes.
The theme of the evening was “A Singaporean Day in A Meal” demystified as a playfully rapid succession of typical Singaporean breakfast, brunch, afternoon snack and dinner dishes over a leisurely period of 3-4 hours. 16 diners. Recommended donation was £30. BYO. No corkage charge…
My breakfast of Chwee Kueh was this little voluptuous rice cake steeply toppled with dried chilli-infused pickled radish. Low heat. The chopped turnip had a bit of crunch to go with the delicately gummy cake. And then it was brunch. Fried chicken chunks, wings, legs to go with Nasi Lemak. This banana leaf wrapped parcel revealed steamed rice flavoured with coconut milk, deep fried anchovies, boiled quail’s egg and peanuts. I smeared the sweet Sambal and stirred. Very alluring coconut-y aroma. And those fried chickens!! Superbly moist meat. The batter was infused with curry powder and expertly aerated. Gozzz.. why can I never find this in a restaurant!!!??
Also authentically executed was this Rojak served (as you would have it in South East Asia) on a paper plate. This snack dish of savoury fruit salad was tossed in sticky palm sugar dressing infused with shrimp paste. The sweetness and the smelly, fishy saltiness blended well with juicy pineapple, crunchy cucumber, crispy fried dough and sauteed beansprouts. Together with crushed peanuts and shredded dry squid, it was a maelstrom of flavours and textures. LOVED IT!!!! The other snack of Kuih Pai Tee boasts lightest and wafer-crispy “Top Hat”-like casings deep filled with deliciously braised shredded shitake mushrooms, jicama and carrots. The portion was so generous I ended up with five of them
(and if you wonder what the heck is that metal thing, Goz uses it to make the casing by dipping it into liquid flour mixture and into hot oil. not easy!!)
Goz’s Beef Rendang was magical. Hours of slow-cooked cheeks meant it pleasantly dissolved on my tongue. Flavour-wise, the Rendang was moderately spiced but could fare better (with me) with a little more punch-me-in-the-face kind of heat. I was more besotted to his perfect five-a-day option of stir fried glass vermicelli, cabbage, tofu and cloud ears. Also noteworthy was this “guest” dish by Wen of Pork Belly Mui Choi. Very unctuous belly cubes, superbly spiced and caramelised. A little sweetness, sensuous fat layer and meaty firmness…. I could eat a whole pot of this. Braised mui choi was also a force to reckon with providing crunch and salted acidity to contrast with the belly.
Wen shares her recipe with us here ^_^
The evening concluded with a trio of desserts: a zingy palate cleanser of lime ice, then palm sugar ice cream with very bouncy tapioca disc, and Milo truffle injected with condensed milk. The latter was Eunice’s contribution. Very intense and it leaked childhood memory in my mouth!
Plusixfive gives what £30 can never vouch for. A sensational meal with care and consideration. Home-made flavours and Asian generosity. Refined touches and a well-thought out menu that shatters Singaporean food stereotype and puts restaurants to shame. Of all supper clubs I have been to, Plusixfive has made the most impact. And by the time I was re-lacing my boots (Plusixfive is an Asian home and you will be required to remove shoes), I seriously contemplated a reprise!!
So stay tuned..
If you want to try this out yourselves or compete for seats with me at bookings, subscribe to Plusixfive Supper Club or follow Goz on Twitter ( @plusixfive ).