Big up to all the adventurous souls who came down to my place and ate my food. Hopefully, next year will be better.

Menu

  • Soft Poached Quail’s Eggs w Toast, Soy, White Pepper
  • Seared Bonito w Ginger, Pickled Daikon, Carrot, Chilli, Plum Sauce, Corn Flakes, Peanuts, Sesame, Pomelo
  • Cumi Kecap Bakar w Cucumber & Cherry Tomato Salad
  • Tira De Asado/Flanken Cut Short Ribs w Sugar Snaps, Garlic Roast Potatoes, Salsa, Onion Jus
  • Yakult Panna Cotta w Apples & Honey
  • Fried Bananas w Peanut Gula Melaka and Vanilla Ice Cream

Overall, I think I was reasonably satisfied with what I put out. A lot of stuff is still work in progress but I think I’ve learned a lot after 3.5 or so years working in a pro kitchen. Still a long way to go because I made a lot of mistakes and didn’t anticipate a lot of stuff but it’s ok, I’ll get over that.

With the quail’s egg amuse bouche, I was really trying to make a mini version of soft cooked eggs on buttered toast, minus the kopi and minus the kaya. Hence the use of the soy and white pepper. I think it worked to an extent but seriously showed me how I really want an immersion circulator to do proper controlled temperature cooking. taste wise, the crunchy buttery croutons worked well with the oozy gooey eggs and the soy and pepper gave it that familiar, nostalgic taste of my youth. I’m talking waking up at 5am and slugging down two eggs drowned in soy like a morning drink.

I liked my “raw fish dish” the best. It’s actually a riff on Lou Hei, the Chinese new year salad which is tossed by the eaters at the table. What I don’t like about Lou Hei is that you want the fish, but there’s very little of it and also there’s way too many ingredients and flavors and too much ginger and too much salad. I think turning it into an entree via the use of a Viet-style pickle salad works a treat and the plum sauce and corn flakes make it Lou Hei. Also, I got to screw around with some unexpectedly quality Bonito available locally that was stupid cheap.

I hated my squid dish. I took forever to decide on it. At one point, it was going to be an otak mousse rolled into a neat log and poached or deep fried but I didn’t have a reliable blender (or so I thought anyway) and I didn’t wanna run the risk of making the otak mix, with all the roots and shit and try to roll it and fail miserably. In the end, I just pulled out something that I knew would taste ok but wasn’t something that would be awesome. It’s ok, I’ll plan more next time.

With the main, I just didn’t wanna screw up but I also wanted to fool around. My fave place to eat in Sydney is probably Porteno, so I was totally inspired to do some Argy grill shit. I chanced upon a local Korean butcher with some top quality shizz and decided I wanted to do beef short ribs. In the end, the butcher convinced me to do it flanken cut which is actually traditional for Argy grill short rib. I think the end result was good, especially with the tart “salsa” and side veg but I think I shoulda just gone with my instincts and done it whole. I was just way too scared doing a charcoal grill thing for the first time more or less and having totally burnt or raw meat for everyone at the table. Doing this dish let me get in touch with my Canto BBQ roots in a roundabout way.

I like sweet stuff and I wanted to do 2 desserts. I usually tend to throw in something that’s local (read: Singaporean) in. The first dish was partly inspired by this dish from L’Effervescence in Tokyo, which had some story about a butterfly finding a treasure trove of sweet stuff beneath a chocolate shell. So I basically copied the “butterfly” with a thinly sliced apple sitting on a panna cotta. I wanted Yakult because yoghurt is a good combo with apples and because it is “local”. I gotta thank the guys for giving me the awesome feedback that the lovely poached apples just overpowered the Yakult flavor. I made my own recipe via David Leibovitz for that one and reduced the cream for the Yakult so the proportions weren’t quite right. I probably shoulda just done yoghurt instead. Or used a contrasting flavor instead, like walnuts. Oh I really shoulda put a honeyed walnut on there.

The goreng pisang dish was something that I’ve spent various nights on end talking endlessly about with a mate of mine in Sydney. We’ve each declared that we’re totally allowed to rip each other off and make variations of it. I started off poaching the bananas and also steaming them. I didn’t notice too much difference but poaching them in lemongrass and calamansi gave it a certain something something. I pureed some stuff, sieved and ended up with a runny mush. I then tried to cook it down with some gula melaka and sugar and succeeded in making it deeper and richer but it was still runny as hell. I whipped some cream up and made a mousse with it but it lost it’s banananess. I then figured that you don’t mess too much with a good thing. So I finished it off with poaching the bananas, freezing them, then frying them. I then made a peanut gula melaka “fudge/brittle” which I was too stingy with. It was superb with the banana. The ice cream just tied everything together and you get that hot/cold combo. I really should have doubled the amount of fudge/brittle I served. It was actually really good, flavor wise, if you got the right amount of everything together. This dish makes me feel optimistic. I think I’ve got the flavor combo down but I really need to work on the texture of the banana as well as the batter, which was like first hit on Google that was wayyyyy too watery and I had to adjust.

Sorry that my friends had to suffer my desire to fool around with food but hey, at least we got to drink a lot and shoot shit after a year huh? Here’s to next!

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