Where Do Chefs Eat?

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From the frying pan and off to their favourite foods. STORM asks five chefs where they would eat — other than at their own kitchen. In a food haven like Singapore, there has to be a variety of options that will whet an appetite and inspire an intrepid chef to greater heights.  By Cee Gutt

Chef Daniel Sia
Founder & Executive Chef of The Disgruntled Chef

I became acquainted with mala or Szechuan cuisine while working in China, 10 years ago. This “numb and spicy” fare is a result of the Szechuan peppercorns — tiny little seeds that can cause what feels like a massive explosion on the tongue! But I find it addictive — the unbelievable heat followed by the numbing sensation.

In Singapore, there is an authentic Szechuan restaurant called Lao Sichuan. My favourite dishes here are deep-fried diced chicken stir fried with heaps of dried red chilis and peppercorns, sliced century eggs with green pepper, and a very interesting pot of braised pig’s intestines in a boiling stew.

Since Szechuan peppercorns pack a big punch, I grind them into a fine powder and then dust some on The Disgruntled Chef’s signature dish — Crispy Lamb Shortribs. This is one of the secret ingredients (well, not anymore) to one of our most popular dishes since we opened in 2010.

Lao Sichuan
249 Outram Rd
Singapore 169048

Ryan Clift
Chef-Owner of Tippling Club

One of my favourite restaurants in Singapore is Bar-Roque Grill at Amara Hotel. Stephane Istel’s approach is very classical and celebrates traditional French cooking.

The food preparation is extremely labour intensive, and it’s hard to find anybody who does food like he does now. I appreciate the effort that goes into each dish.

Stephane himself is like his cooking — his personality is as hearty as his food. He’s a true talent in the industry.

Bar-Roque Gril
165 Tanjong Pagar Road #01-00
Singapore 088539

Chef Manjunath Mural
Chef and Director of Cuisine, One-Michelin-Starred Song of India

I’ve been here for 10 years and out of all the local dishes, chicken rice, especially from Loy Kee Chicken Rice, is my favourite. Up until I ate chicken rice, I only ate Indian food in Singapore. I remember I found the outlet at Balestier Road one day, and because I love rice and I saw the words ‘chicken rice’ I decided to give it a try, and I absolutely fell in love with it.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t incorporate any of its elements into my restaurant’s food, but there was once in a food competition on Channel News Asia in 2000 where I made a dish inspired by chicken rice. It was reimagined into something Indian, the chicken had tandoori marination, and I made a pandan and saffron rice.

Loy Kee Best Chicken Rice
342 Balestier Rd
Singapore 329774

Chef Yoshiyuki Kashiwabara
Partner Chef of Kaiseiki Yoshiyuki

Food and service are the two things that I place lots of emphasis on in my Kaiseki, and are the things that I look out for when dining out. My wife and I celebrated our fifth anniversary at Iggy’s at Hilton Hotel. The entire service team and the chefs came over to extend their well wishes at the end of the meal, and also brought us a special chocolate dessert. It was a small and thoughtful act that was unexpected and very much appreciated.

Sakura-Ebi pasta is my favourite dish from the restaurant. The flavour is familiar to me as I use sakura-ebi, a shrimp primarily found in Suruga Bay in the Shizuoka Prefecture in Japan, in my dishes. Japanese ingredients are always reminiscent of home and I enjoy how the chef has incorporated it in pasta.

We share some similar ingredients such as sakura ebi and White Alba Truffle, but the cooking styles of our restaurants are very different. Iggy’s places emphasis on fusion food and is modern in its style of cooking and plating, whereas Kaiseki sticks to our cultural roots and presents a very traditional Japanese meal.

Iggy’s
581 Orchard Rd
Singapore 238883

Chef Jonathan Lee
Head Chef, Artichoke

I grew up in the Katong area, and have always enjoyed the food at Katong Shopping Centre’s Delicious Boneless Chicken Rice.

They make extremely flavour-packed fluffy rice which no other place can compete with, and the chicken is moist, regardless of the time you visit. They also serve my favourite pork and cabbage soup where everything is overcooked into this peppery clear stock. I usually keep going at it without sharing with my folks; good thing the shop owner is kind enough to give us a refill. They make their own housemade local pickle (achar) which is free flow for everyone.

It’s inspired me to create the notorious Smoked Chicken at Artichoke, which has been on our menu for a couple of years and is a bestseller during dinner. The components of chicken rice are reflected in this dish; our couscous is cooked in a savoury broth then tossed in shallot oil to mirror the flavour of chicken rice. We smoke our chickens daily with a combination of apple wood and charcoal. If they had chicken rice in the Middle East, this would be it.

Delicious Boneless Chicken Rice
Katong Shopping Centre #B1-85/87
865 Mountbatten Road
Singapore 437844

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