Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Snack Culture Company - Around the World in 9 Plates

Snack Culture is the reason why we find so much passion in food blogging. By all accounts, they are considered an indie outfit against the more reputable fine dining establishments out there.

It started out as a straightforward bakery, before deciding to venture into lunch and dinner menus. And it is a fairly small space.

Housed in CT Hub, you might not think to find one of the most unique and rewarding dining experiences in Singapore. But in fact, it is.

The Snack Culture Co. is founded by a husband and wife team who used to come from the hospitality trade. The husband, who is a doctor by training, has never cooked professionally before until he started this eatery.

Determined to provide something different, yet honest, he and his kitchen staff devised this delightful degustation menu that brings together modern cooking methods fused with classic Asian flavours and recipes. Thus, Around the World in 9 Plates was born.

Edamame with Tom Yum Espuma

The culinary adventure begins with this simple looking dish. Japanese edamame paired with a tom yum espuma. It is so elegantly simplistic that one wonders why no one has conjured this up before. Yet, both elements work so well that it feels mandatory in both Japanese and Thai joints from now. Clever and incisive.

Korean Mandu in Bak Kut Teh Consomme

There might be some who might write this off as leftover cold BKT, but it is one of the most clever dishes that I have come across in the past few years. When served chilled, the flavours of the herbal based pork broth came across with an even greater intensity.

Consommé takes even more effort to prepare to remove all the impurities to achieve that clarity in the soup. And when accompanied by the Korean pork dumpling, it is as perfect as a dish can get. Again, the kitchen team manages to understand that less is more.

Black Fungus, Mushroom Salad, Nonya Belachan Mayo

Otherwise known as a modern take on chap chye, this was singled out by our table as one of their favourites, if not, the pick of the night. And for good reason. There was just an incredible fusion of flavours and textures on the small plate that could have danced its way till the next millennium.

Is it chap chye in the classical sense? Probably not, and I probably do not care if the purists scoff at this version. This is how modern cuisine should be like. Taking an established classic and updating it for the future masses with modern methods and ingredients. The mayo dressing was so inspired.

Asian Trio

This longish plate looks like any conventional canapé dish. That is, until you pop one of the little gastronomic rascals into your mouth. The ayam buah keluak wanton seemed like they were a pair made in heaven. The earthy, nutty notes of the buah keluak countering the fried crispy greasiness of the wanton skin almost instinctively.

The beef bulgogi kueh pie tie brings together a Korean and a local in a parcel of joy that brings more harmony than a United Nations event. And for the highlight, the Laksa Crostini pairs dried laksa paste with a homemade hae bee hiam cookie (dried shrimp cookie) that was just took my palate out of this stratosphere. Amazeballs.

Seafood En Papillote

Seafood En Papillote brought the degustation to a fitting high with its intoxicating aromas of butter, garlic and cajun spices that invoked the best food memories of a home cooked mama's kitchen in the Mississippi.

Succulent and gigantic prawns and fresh clams were the order of the day, and they clearly ruled the table that night. Using what was left of our breads to wipe every drop of the gorgeous sauce, it marked a beautiful climax to the preceding savoury dishes.

Chendol Panna Cotta

As for the concluding item on the menu, the chendol panna cotta proved to be a perfect ending to what was an amazing culinary journey. Although the idea is not new, the execution was perfect.

Simple and elegant, the panna cotta was nicely done with the obligatory jiggle in its texture, the caramel flavours of the gula melaka balancing the dessert almost like the best of road trip buddies. Sublime.

The other 3 plates that I have neglected to mention thus far were of equal stature to these aforementioned ones. The ter ka scotch egg, their modern take on pen cai and the har geong soft shell crab pasta were all excellent too.

The fact that all 9 plates were beautifully conceptualised and immaculately executed was a miracle in itself. But taken into consideration that the doctor chef only came up with all 9 dishes in 5 days was even more incredible. And the fact that he has been only cooking professionally in the last 6 months boggles the mind even further.

Beyond the clever ideas and innovative takes on food, I particularly enjoyed that the doctor chef took the time to share with us the stories behind each dish, and his team took the effort to print labels for each dish with some background information to help you enjoy the food better.

He clearly has a passion for his cooking, and it is reflected in both the construction of his plates and in his restraint in not overdoing the fusion cuisine on display here. And that takes a rare talent to do so, for even established chefs in this industry tend to go overboard with their fusion food.

The cooking team is relatively young, but ably lead by the doctor chef, they seem to be dedicated to giving diners here a good time at their outlet. Nothing fancy on every plate, just concise cooking and sincere cuisine drawn from their own favourite local fare.

And I have to mention the best part of this incredible menu, it is only $49 for all 9 plates. I kid you not!

Note: This degustation menu is only available Thurs, Fri and Sat nights for now.

The Snack Culture Company
2 Kallang Avenue
#02-17
Just take the only escalator up and turn right and walk until you see the white gorgeous eatery.

Click here to make a reservation.

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