The Place One of the latest entrants to the private dining scene in Singapore, Dearborn Supper Club focuses on Modern American cuisine. It is quite a refreshing switch from the Peranakan wave in the private dining scene such as Lynnette’s Kitchen, or even Lucky House Cantonese Private Kitchen which leans towards home-style Cantonese cuisine. The man helming the concept is Chef Christopher Kong, whom past culinary stints include the likes of Waku Ghin and the now-defunct Guy Savoy. Chef Kong also has culinary background back in his hometown in Seattle, and you can expect a fine-casual dining style at his cosy and spacious five room flat in the East of Singapore. Upon entering the house, I was surprised to be shown to a drinks table which showcases a range of gin and tonic. Help yourself to the drinks, one of his kitchen assistants told us.
The kitchen space adopts an open concept, located next to the single dining table which can accommodate a maximum of eight diners. I appreciate such close interactions with chefs, as it allows me to understand their concept better. What’s more, it is always fun to watch someone prepare your dishes right in front of you.
The Food A 6-course menu is priced at S$138, not cheap by private dining standards, with a focus on greens, grains and sustainable seafood. The presentation of each dish is nothing less than what you can expect of a fine dining restaurant from Chef Kong’s background in fine dining restaurants.
We started with a series of snacks. Each is prepared in petite size, from the likes of chickpeas with lemon, carrot tartare in kueh pie tee shell, edamame with hummus, and local snapper.
I enjoyed each and every snack. The combination is unique, and each packs a good balance of the different components. The carrot tartare and edamame count as my favourites here. In terms of presentation, the vibrant colours set a beautiful tone to the start of the meal too.
The first course proper is a seafood dish, Hokkaido Scallops with green apple, horseradish, celery and apply vinaigrette. The flavours are refreshing, especially from the greens and fruity aspects.
The next course is a pasta dish. We were served the Ravioli pasta, along with Alfredo sauce, peas and pepperoni. There are hints of lemon zest over the pasta as well, which gives a little break over the creamy flavours. It is quite an al dente pasta, which I enjoyed. The reason for a pasta dish is because Chef Kong’s dad runs an Italian restaurant, which he quipped that he has no excuse not to have a pasta dish.
The next main course is one which is not commonly listed as a mains in most restaurants, Brinjal. The eggplant here is char-grilled, served along with tomato, jalapeños and quinoa. I am not the biggest fan of eggplant, hence this dish didn’t resonate much with me though it is executed competently.
The next dish excites me more, especially from the aroma when the kitchen is so close to me. The fried seafood Paella is black, a sign that it is squid ink paella. The short brown organic rice has a slight crisp texture especially on some of the edges, which is what I would expect of a good paella. You get pieces of squid and tiger prawns on the paella, which also has elements of anchovy and chives. At this juncture, every dish has strong elements of greens which is the ethos at Dearborn.
Our next dish happened at the kitchen table, one of the dish I was looking for right from the beginning of the meal. Bread is typically served at the beginning of the meal but the homemade Sourdough bread here deserves a time of its own. It takes about two days from preparation of the dough to baking it, served with chef’s homemade butter.
The bread is crispy on the outside yet soft on the inside, it is so good that I ended up having three slices of it at 9pm, not something I would eat so much of at this hour. It is divine with the butter, and I wouldn’t exaggerate that this bread is better than many fine dining restaurants in Singapore.
After a filling bread course, the last savoury dish is the grilled Cauliflower. You get a slightly charred texture here, where the flavour is robust. It is a relatively big portion, which is a challenge for some of my fellow diners after the heavy bread course.
For pre-dessert, we had the freshly baked Madeleine, a seaweed flavoured version. Soft and fluffy, it is buttery enough and resonated well with the table.
As for the dessert proper, it is a beautifully plated Coconut theme dessert. You get coconut meringue which covers the coconut sorbet and crumbles below, topped with some edible white pandan flowers. I enjoy coconut as a dessert as it is not too heavy after a meal of many courses, and suffice to say that the coconut flavours showcased here are aromatic and well-balanced. It is not too sweet either, even for the meringue which I usually avoid. Ironically, the meringue is my favourite element here.
As the parting course, we were given some fortune cookies which is rightfully a snack on its own. A homage to the chef’s hometown in Seattle, where fortune cookies are signature last course of every Chinese meal.
Rants At S$138 per person, this is the most expensive private dining meal I had so far.
Will I Return Again? Fine-casual dining in a private home setting is a first for me, and I feel that Chef Kong has executed with much finesse. While I appreciate the focus on sustainability, I won’t recommend coming here if you are a heavy meat eater as you will probably be disappointed. The highlights of the meal for me are surprisingly the bread and the pastries in general. For the price, it would definitely be more justifiable for a return trip with more seafood ingredients on the dishes. Well, it’s never enough, no? That said, reservations are already fully booked till June this year. This private dining trend is going strong for sure.
Taste bud: 3.5/5
Hole in the pocket: 4.5/5
Overall Experience: 3.5/5
Dearborn Supper Club
East of Singapore (visit website for details and reservations)
Every Friday & Saturday: Starting from 7.00pm
Ranted by The Ranter