Tuesday, May 31

A call from home: the Singapore supper club in London

Last week, I got a call from home. Stumbling around the internet, I came across a Singaporean supper club right here in London. I contacted them immediately, but found out that places were already full for their inaugural dinner. I gave them my number (in case spaces came up), feeling that I just might hear from them again. The Universe works in mysterious ways. As Frangelico and I were having a late brunch on Sunday afternoon, I got a text telling me that they'd moved the furniture around and found spaces for us!

For our international readers, supper clubs have been a popular dining option in London since around 2009. They're basically dinner parties, hosted by dedicated foodies out of their own kitchens. Paying guests attend, with their own drinks, and are seated at shared tables in the host's living room. It can be a great way to have an informal evening out, while discovering new styles of cooking and meeting new people who are also into food.

The +(65)/plusixfive supper club (named after Singapore's international dialling code) features Goz as head chef and Wen, writer of Going with my Gut, at front-of-house (she also made a dish of her own). One of their aims is to show Londoners that there is more to Singaporean food than the 'fictitious dish of Singapore Fried Noodles'. (That's right, people, there is no such thing. The turmeric-covered, thin rice noodles, with prawn or pork or whatever, was invented on this Continent. Probably by Marks & Sparks.)

Before telling you much more about +(65)/plusixfive, I'm going to get straight to the food. We started with one of my favourite Singaporean dishes: kueh pie tee.

Kueh pie tee shells, newly fried and waiting for fillings

Friday, May 27

Maybe a little something sweet?

A few days ago, I posted a picture of what I thought was a pretty tasty-looking crab. I'd taken that photo at a Chinese restaurant in San Francisco, R&G Lounge. Frangelico and I pretty much demolished everything they put on our table at R&G, and merely looking at that photo makes me crave the salty, peppery, garlicky crunchiness of the exterior and the white tenderness of the crab-meat.

I sort of didn't think about it, and I assumed the crab would have universal appeal. But one of our regulars, the wonderful Frau Fancy (of I'm So Fancy) didn't particularly ... fancy the crab pic. This really piqued my interest. And it opened my eyes to something I guess I already knew, but perhaps didn't appreciate fully until now: food is a matter of personal taste.

Thanks, Frau Fancy, for the development opportunity. I'm wondering if these cinnamon buns from the fabulous Nordic Bakery are more to your liking? ;)

Cinnamon buns from the Nordic Bakery

How about the rest of you guys out there - crab or cinnamon buns? (Or neither? In which case I'm posting a picture of a salad the next time.)



Tuesday, May 24

A taste of things to come

Someone said a few weeks ago that our blog always makes them hungry. Well, here's a little something for ya! The story about this Dungeness crab is still in the back-log (it's from way back when, from San Francisco), and it'll make its way through to your screen in due course...



Monday, May 23

New Look

Hello, everyone!

As you can see, we've decided to update the look of our blog a little bit.

If you'd like to share your thoughts on the new look, please drop us a note by leaving a comment on this post (click 'Post a Comment' or 'Comments' below. (We won't publish your comment - we just figured it'd be an easy way for readers to send us a message without needing to fire up e-mail.)


Cinnamon and Truffle

Sunday, May 22

Dinner at NASCAR

While my sister dines at très chic restaurants off Regent Street in London, I have dinner at the races in Charlotte. Nope, not of the Ascot type but more of the Nascar kind.

My husband and I recently came to be in possession of two tickets to a corporate suite at the All Star Nascar Race last night. I had been to a race five years ago, but we were in the stands. The culture shock of severe mullets, beer hats, back-of-the-truck barbeques, and drunken rednecks was too much for me (all due respect to rednecks....) and I had sworn that I would never return to a Nascar race. The fact is that the face of Nascar had changed over time here in Charlotte to a more civilized one (or I have localized quite a bit over five years) and if I was going to enjoy it, it was going to be from a corporate suite.

Dinner was served in the suite and I had been looking forward to it. It was Southern barbeque - pulled pork, Southern-fried chicken, beans, sweet potato and buns. I usually enjoy a good pulled pork, when it is seasoned well and tangy with vinegar. It was a decent meal.

I did enjoy the cucumber and fennel salad. Fresh and crunchy with both the fennel root as well as the feathery leaves, it had the overtones of summer and was simply delightful. It actually had a yogurt base and reminded me of an Indian raita.

Friday, May 20

Pollen Street Social, London

Frangelico and I recently had lunch at Jason Atherton’s new venture, Pollen Street Social. Jason Atherton was previously Executive Chef at Maze, part of the Ramsay chain. My experience with the Ramsay brand had made me hesitant to try Maze and, to be honest, Pollen Street Social. But I’m glad I overcame my resistance, because the experience was a unique one – and nothing like my previous Ramsay nightmares.

Located on a quiet lane near Regent Street, the restaurant occupies a site that formerly housed a Pitcher & Piano. Pollen Street Social has done a wholesale refit of the place, bringing in a warm, welcoming and tasteful décor with plenty of light. And, of course, the team has installed a fun and quality dining experience.

Sunday, May 15

Bad Combinations

I’m a fan of Kate Takes 5’s Listography, but I’m not a frequent contributor, as I can’t always find a food angle to squeeze into the topics.  This one was easy peasy: Bad Combinations.  There are plenty of those in the food industry, so here goes…

Thursday, May 12

Feeding the Soul

Frangelico and I were in Portugal recently, to visit my sister, Chili Padi, and her husband, Mr Dessert. Their youngest was being baptised, and Frangelico had been asked to be the godfather.

The ceremony took place in the modern church in Sagres, the town closest to Martinhal. Officiating was the young Padre, thin and focused. Also assembled were some of Mr Dessert’s family from Switzerland, and friends from London and Portugal. It was a lovely service, where the baby tested his resonant voice in the acoustics of the open church for the first half, and slept through the second half (opening his eyes briefly as the holy water was poured on his head).

The sermon was in Portuguese, and I tried to pick up whatever I could, extrapolating from my elementary Spanish. It was thoughtful stuff that this young Padre had to share with us, our assembled crew of Catholics, Hindus, Taoists and non-believers. He spoke about the role of religion in one’s life, of our relationship with ourselves, each other and God, and on the duty of the parents and godparents to ensure that the baby developed not only physically and mentally, but spiritually as well.


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