Seafood Feast, starring: Chilli Crab
16th October 2011
This Singaporean seafood odessy was hosted by PlusSixFive’s Host – Goz. He shared his cooking duties with: Malaysian co-horts Yolanda and Sharif (Wild Serai) and Singaporean, WenLin (Edible Experiences).
I had tried for a while to go to a PlusSixFive Singaporean supper club, however with a lot of these supper clubs, space is a premium (as held in the hosts’ homes), they always sell-out very quickly. I had also heard various friends’ accounts from their experiences and was keen to book. When I saw that Goz was having a sea-food night with chilli-crab, I instantly booked and succeeded in getting a prized seat.
I’ve been to Singapore twice and extravagantly dined out on all manners of cuisine, from hawker fayre to fine-dining. What I really enjoy about Singaporean food, is that it’s a bubbling mish-mash of ethnic cuisines coming together. Therein, it’s quite fitting that this meal was a combination of the best of Malay and Singaporean dishes.
Goz’s apartment in the heart of Angel, was beautifully colourful and showcased some awesome art. I loved the fact he had commissioned a board (pictured) for his Supper Club, in prime location of the dining room. He also had his monitor on, with a +65 screensaver and his twitter feed running, all reminders of the fact this was a social media saavy host, who used the medium to invite and engage with food-lovers.
Pork Belly Satay
I’m so glad that this was pork for a change, rather than the usual chicken. A sticky peanut satay enveloped the pork belly strips, served with cleansing cucumber and red onion.
Chef’s Surprise Scallop
Not quite sure what the surprise was, thankfully it was delicious. A fiery butter sauce, with crispy curry leaves, chilli and garlic, drizzled over the scallop and coral.
This was an old family recipe of Yolanda’s using Petai (stinky beans) and Belachan (shrimp paste from Bintulu, Sarawak, Malaysia). The sauce was sticky and fiery hot, which is the best combination for prawns. This was a dish that went pretty quickly as you can see from the empty plate.
Thankfully, a milder dish where the ‘LaLa’ (the Malay term for mussels), was cooked in a yellow bean, garlic, ginger and Chinese rice wine broth. I used the broth from this to sprinkle over my rice, as it was cooling compared to the other prawn/crab.
Kang Kong Sambal
This was another soothing dish of stir-fried morning glory, with garlic, chilli and belachan, I especially love the irony taste of these greens.
Chilli Crab – (The Main Event)
Almost like the curried style I am used to in Sri-Lankan cooking, in fact I believe they were Sri Lankan crabs used. I was glad that it was this style of dish and not the black pepper crab method I’d tried in Singapore. That indeed is hot, but doesn’t have the variety of spices and flavour that are used in this method. This was finger- licking food at it’s best. Thankfully, copious amounts of wet wipes were on hand. Nut-crackers were doled out but, the best way to get in there, was with fingers and sucking the blighters claws off!
I loved the fact that Goz got us involved, helping to shave the ice, with his cool ice-shaving gadget. I’ve seen larger versions of this at Dishoom, for when they make their Gola Ices. The dish was shaved coconut milk ice with gula melaka (palm sugar), green noodle pieces and sweet red beans. It was simple and extinguished the fire in my mouth from the red-hot mains. I’m showing myself to be a feeble diner (as a Sri Lankan, I’m bowing my head in shame).
Kueh Ubi Bingka and Kueh Lapis
Goz got out a huge Japanese knife, this worried me, I thought someone had refused to pay…
Thankfully, this wasn’t the case and he then started to carve the Kueh Lapis, this was fascinating to watch with the intricate layers being spliced. These were tapioca and coconut milk based cakey sweets. The colourful one is poured in layers, the vibrant colours achieved through natural flavourings (green from pandan). Served up with rich coffee, these were a sweet digestif, quite rich, but I still managed to gobble a few.
That was that, I had contentedly eaten so much, that I practically needed to be rolled out. Unfortunately, I had to be snappy so that I could run and catch the last tube home. I can’t recommend this supper club enough, for £40 (BYO), you are fed more than handsomely and welcomed with such care and attention. I attended alone, but was tended to by the hosts and met some great food loving attendees that night, who were very inclusive. This dinner not only transported me back to great memories of my food adventures in Singapore, but reassured me that I could find authentic dishes here in London too, thanks to Goz, Yolanda & WenLin.To book onto one of Goz’s supperclubs or to find out more click below: +(65) / plusixfive – A Singaporean Supperclub in London and Wild Serai – For Malaysian Supperclub and Recipe suggestions