I had first discovered Chef Will Chng’s creations over two years ago, thanks to award-winning Pastry Chef @mairayeo who had gifted me some of his @umamiboy’s range of Asian-inspired condiments when he’d just started out. Now look at how far this 29-year-old has come. Whilst still running a brisk business for his sauces (my fave is Umami Boy’s vegetarian mushroom), he has diversified into private dining with the launch of @umamitable late last year. It has since become one of the hottest in town. I got to try it two nights ago thanks to fellow foodie @terence.jee’s invitation to join his booking.
With an impressive resume that includes being part of Michelin-Starred Meta’s opening team and Willin Low’s group of restaurants (including helming one in Taiwan), Chef Will’s menu is a mouthwatering embodiment of his knowledge and experience thus far. Priced at $168 per pax, there’s a total of eight finely-crafted courses and they flow very well to form a most satisfying dining experience.
Furthermore, you do not have to BYO because he even stocks a few wines that are a great fit for his style of Contemporary Chinese cuisine with a touch of Japanese influence. The white and orange wines selected for us were superb with the food.
Here is what we indulged in:
1. Sashimi of Ocean Trout - Love how he differentiated from the usual with creative use of springy jellyfish, “xue cai” (fermented vegetables made in-house), tomatoes and a Yunnan chilli vinaigrette dressing.
2. Beef Tartare - The first dish Chef Will ever made during the time he worked at Meta was this one starring raw meat. For Umami Table, he gave it a Chinese twist by marinating the chopped beef with ginger scallion oil, a bit of wasabi and koji. The extra fun mouthfeel came from crunchy puffed rice and the silky egg yolk purée.
3. Spanner Crab Chawanmushi - Bowled me over this did. Besides the fresh chunks of crustacean, the steamed egg custard was topped with a glorious frothy cream made from two kinds of wine emulsified with chicken fat. A spritz of 10-year-aged Shaoxing wine was the finishing touch.
4. Yunnan Wild Matsutake Broth - An astoundingly aromatic soup brewed with wild-foraged Matsutake from Yunnan that had been steeped in dashi, strands of Cordyceps and three kinds of Pepper. Considering how flavourful this was, it’s hard to believe it took less than an hour to be ready.
5. Frog Leg Marmite "KFC” - Outstanding. The "KFC' stands for Korean Fried Chicken, the source of inspiration as well as Karen’s Favourite Chicken (she is Chef Will’s other half) because well, she loves it. And so did we. The combo of crunchy coating lavished in a tangy “Tang Cu” Marmite glaze with juicy and tender meat was downright irresistible. Boosting things further, crisped curry leaves and sansho pepper. I’m sure I am not the only one who could have gobbled a bucket of this.
6. Umami XO Capellini - The carb course lived up to its name and then some. Crowned with a big, fresh and bouncy Tiger prawn, the twirl of angel hair pasta was pure dynamite as each strand was coated in @umami.boy’s X.O. Sauce, a recipe that’s chockfull in different seafood and get this - bacon!
7. “Zhang Tea” Smoked Duck - Inspired by his after-work meal in Taiwan, the 7-day-aged and smoked “Zhang Tea” Smoked Duck was a stunner which we got to ogle at before he carved and plated the meat with duck jus, lily bulb and grilled asparagus for us to enjoy. On the side was a cup of hot Roasted Duck “Tea” that we were to chase each bite with. This incredible broth practically stole the show in my opinion.
8. Sweet Fermented Rice - Dessert took my breath away. I have always been drawn to the taste of sweet fermented rice or as the Taiwanese call it - “Jiu Niang”, but I know not everyone feels the same. And that’s precisely why Chef Will’s creation is particularly brilliant as he offset the slightly funky tang of the fermented grains with sweetness from lychees, a blue pea flower ice-cream, snow gum and crystallised osmanthus. Definitely another of my favourites from Umami Table’s current menu.

Thank you Chef Will and Karen for the immensely delicious dinner and warm hospitality. And thank you Terence for getting us all together for a fun evening.

When I learned from Chef Sam Wong that he was going to avail a few dishes from his @luckyhouse_privatekitchen menu for takeaway, it was a no-brainer which one I had to order straightaway.
When previously dining at his home, the Crayfish Horfun had been the finale I would pace the preceding courses for, so that my tummy would have ample room by the time it appeared on the table.
This tray, priced at $165, can feed 4 to 6 pax. And it travels beautifully with nary a compromise to the silkiness of the rice noodles saturated in the umami juices of the sweet crayfish, fried shallot oil and other seasonings. There is a hefty amount of the crustacean itself buried in the horfun, cut in big chunks - each, remarkably fresh and bouncy.
If you’d like to try @luckyhouse_privatekitchen’s cooking, this “lockdown lite” period really is the best time because there is no need to wait years. I heard from Chef Sam that come 1st June, he will be announcing a new takeaway menu. Therefore, I suggest following him on Instagram to not miss his updates.

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Our slow-mo mahjong game yesterday can be attributed to the insane lunch we had prior at @nonyabong private dining. I decided to pick from Uncle Jeffrey’s a la carte menu for my group of mostly first-timers instead of choosing the “Eat Until Pain” and “Eat Until Pengsan” 8 and 10-course set menus. Judging from everyone’s enthusiastic praises, I guess I did very well.
Ordering my personal beloved dishes first was a no-brainer. These included Kueh Pie Tee (every part of it is made from scratch at Nonya Bong), Itek Tim (there’s fresh green chillies and brandy to dress your “kiam chye” duck soup), Sambal Hati (a mash-up of chicken gizzard, liver and heart in a rich, thick lemongrass-scented paste-like sauce), Sambal Belimbing (this feminine creation blazes with a bright acidity), Chicken and Pork Buah Keluak (double protein and fully-stuffed nuts for the win), Sambal Prawns with Petai (the rempah used here is spectacular and that’s why this is my forever favourite), and Wing Bean Salad (very finely-sliced by @icookyoueatishiok, the “kacang botor” is unerringly fresh and crisp, and comes in a pitch-perfect dressing with lime juice and other seasoning, plus prawns and a crunchy nut crumble).
As for the two dishes I decided to order for the first time ever, they turned out to be excellent as well. The Nonya Curry Chicken with its medium-bodied gravy swimming with chicken pieces (not just wings and drumlets), chunks of potato and a couple of tomatoes, was unbelievably aromatic and complex. I was struck by how closely it resembled my late maternal grandmother’s version of the dish - all the familiar spices she used were also in every whiff, slurp and chomp of Nonya Bong’s.
The other new-to-me dish was the Sotong Hitam. I’ve had my eye on it for the longest time and after gobbling it yesterday, I can say it’s been worth the wait. While the squid itself was tender and full of roe (we got lucky as it’s the season), the squid ink gravy was delightfully tangy with a slight sweetness. I loved it.
In the midst of eating, we were accidentally blessed with a serving of Beef Rendang. How fortuitous as everyone ended up enjoying every bite of the aromatic and tender meat.
After Uncle Jeffrey presented the Sago Pudding in his inimitable style, the eight of us inhaled our bowls of tiny slippery pearls in au naturel Orang Asli gula melaka and cold-pressed coconut milk that’s been mixed with some coconut water and a touch of salt. It was also the first time in all my visits that the Sago Pudding was completely wiped out.

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“Babi Pongteh” done in the traditional style - a first for me at @fat_fuku private dining, if I am not mistaken. So shiok it was with the “tau cheo” and garlic-heavy sauce, succulent pieces of bamboo shoot and chunks of pork that fell apart at the sight of a fork. By the way, those sliced green chillies weren’t there to simply beautify but to help counter the richness with a subtle fruity-fresh heat.
Judging from the sounds emitted by the others around the table, everyone else obviously shared my enthusiastic approval of Annette’s take on the classic Peranakan dish.

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And to answer the question most likely on everyone’s mind, yes - the Russian Hybrid Caviar from @caviarcolony worked beautifully with the elements in the dish.
Annette of @fat_fuku Private Dining had prepared this as the first course of our special menu last week. Knowing Ben (@the_caviar_king) was bringing a tin of his caviar to the dinner organised by @uncle_lim_chiak, she tweaked her signature Crispy Mee Siam into small “pancakes”, topped them with sambal prawns, an onsen egg and chopped chives - all the more befitting of those glistening pearls. The Russian Hybrid caviar‘s unique sweetness and nutty flavour, and its creamy finish, intermingled surprisingly well with the spicy fried noodles and luscious egg.
I also tried it with a splash of the mee siam gravy and a dab of sambal too, and thought the flavours and textures became even more cohesive although admittedly, the caviar took a bit of a backseat once the punchy gravy entered the picture. So avoid that if you prefer a more pronounced taste of caviar on your palate.

Verdict: This just goes to show there should be no rules on how to enjoy caviar 😄


When @safarislim asked me to join his dinner booking at @fat_fuku’s,I didn’t hesitate to say yes. What an awesome evening it turned out to be.
Annette, our dear hostess with the mostest, got our stomachs growing new stretch marks without complaint as she brought out a succession of satisfyingly shiok dishes throughout the evening. Mostly modern Peranakan, there was one Singaporean Chinese creation of “Moonlight Char Kway Teow” that showed up towards the end and the story behind the very tasty noodles tickled me so much I had to do a separate post about it.
Like on all my previous visits, dinner commenced with Annette’s signature “Crispy Mee Siam”. The crispiness game has been upped with the use of a heavy metal press (it’s the same one chefs employ in the cooking of steaks and burger patties) for the spicy noodles “pancakes”.
Next came the “Pork Belly Biryani” with its thick slices of melt-in-the-mouth meat smothered in rich buah keluak sauce atop fragrant, flavoured rice. As for the accompaniments of @uncleacharsg’s crunchy achar and the housemade sambal belachan, I guess they’re the equivalent of surprise guests you decide to welcome to a party, whom end up instigating extra crazy fun.
I can’t think of a place that serves a softer “Beef Rendang” than the one we had. The stage also belonged more to the balanced aromas of its blended spices rather than chilli heat, which meant those among us who’re unable to handle too much spiciness, could easily enjoy the Rendang too.
The “Winged Bean Salad”, another item I look forward to having each time, was as crisp, bright and complex as I remember. Totally my kind of wonderful.
However, the undisputed highlight for me was the fragrant and really appetising “Ayam Lemak Chilli Padi”. Garnished with two kinds of fresh chilli plus crispy fried shallots, it had a gravy that demanded every drop be slurped up. I am sure I could have finished that whole plate by myself.
The aforementioned “Moonlight Char Kway Teow” with “lap cheong” from Hong Kong, made its appearance at this point and after much paparazzi action, was promptly wolfed down by all.
A delectable piece of homemade “Coconut Jelly”, composed of coconut water and coconut milk, was our palate cleanser. Its minimalist beauty accentuated by a lushly painted @ongshunmugam dishware.
Then “Bingka Ubi Kayu” found its way to the table, each wedge lightly toasted to ensure it would be compelling enough to overcome any resistance from us on grounds of being too full.
Finally, when our waistbands were threatening to give up completely and leave the room, we had the very last course of homemade “Coconut Ice-cream” drizzled with gula melaka.
I think some of us didn’t eat for days after this meal. Right, @momofuku? 😂


Last Saturday, I organised another makan session at The Ampang Kitchen. While many of us in the group had dined there before, for a few, it was their virgin trip. I am pleased to report the meal was a success as the feedback was so positive, with the Kueh Pie Tee, Penang Rojak (both personal favourites of mine), Prawn Noodles Soup and Chendol being the mega hits. We were surprised by Uncle Raymond and David with a serving of their Prawn and Mango Kechai, a relatively new addition to their menu. I fell in love with this #Asiansalad instantly as it reminded me very much of their Banana Flower Kechai, another salad of theirs that has been my must-have on practically every visit. The large fresh prawns, pieces of unripe mango were tossed with fried shallots, onions and herbs in a very tasty dressing with a dollop of coconut cream. I highly recommend giving it a try when you dine at the Ampang Kitchen.


One of my all-time favourite Asian desserts is the Chendol, and @theampangkitchen does an outstanding version. They even make those squiggly green jelly bits from scratch in-house (I’ve posted a video some time back showing how it’s done).
Besides the perfect ratio of creamy coconut milk to the fragrant sweetness of gula melaka, texture is a big deal for me. That’s why I appreciate that at #theampangkitchen, the large kidney beans are boiled till they are on the mushy side and the ice is shaved fine enough.
By the way, the other desserts of Pulut Hitam and Kuih Ketayap by Uncle Raymond and his son David, are equally fabulous. Every time I have to decide which to pick to have for dessert, I get a headache 😆 #thegreediswillingbutthestomachprotests.


Reformatted based on customers’ feedback, the new menu ($120 per pax) has the five pasta courses interspersed with non-carb items. Hence, as the evening progressed, we had an amazing tomato soup laced with olive oil and salt, a really enjoyable warm seafood salad (the prawns and big pieces of squid were fresh and sweet), a thick roll of meat smothered in gremolata (a popular Italian blend of pine nuts, garlic, parsley and lemon zest), and a fancily-dressed baby tomato salad also appear on the table.


@benfatto_95 was the first non-Asian cuisine private dining kitchen I ever visited. Having been there a number of times since, I can tell Yum Hwa (Mr. BenFatto95) has evolved and become very clear and self-assured in how he defines himself as - a maker of pastas. No better way to reinforce this than with a fresh menu featuring four completely new pastas.

There’s an ear-shaped (or as T.H. noted, N95 mask lookalike) Orecchiette from Puglia served in a vegetable-forward sauce, as well as an XL beauty from Italy’s Ferrara Province, the Capellacci di Zucca filled with pumpkin and butternut squash that arrives wallowing in liquid butter. The third is hand-cut Tajarin from the Piedmont region which looks simple but is tossed in the richest sauce of all, a chicken liver and marsala wine concoction. Interestingly, the fourth new pasta is not made by hand. A machine is employed instead, and because of that, the dough is forced through the bronze extruder with great force, resulting in a firmer and bouncier bite for the Canestri (also known as Lumache or “little snail”). The short curved tubes are cooked in a spicy Amatriciana sauce with pieces of unabashedly fatty Guanciale (pork jowl bacon) to such mouthwatering deliciousness, I rank it a close second to my favourite, the Tortellini. Which happens to be the sole pasta retained from the previous menu because there is a special place in Yum Hwa’s heart for those exquisite parcels stuffed with Italian meats and cheese. He still presents them in the same clear beef broth too.

Naturally, a meal here always kicks off with appetisers. That night, we had housemade pickles and a burrata cheese from Puglia.

For the ending, Yum Hwa serves a pre-dessert and dessert. The former is a strawberry granita which doubles as a palate-cleanser while the latter is a complex little number of a chocolate pudding. I would say for sure, dinner here ends on a high note.

The price at @benfatto_95 is now $120 per pax and it seems bookings can only be made on a month-to-month basis. So I suggest sending a DM on Instagram for the details if you are keen to visit.

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The Scialatielli pasta is unique to Sorrento, a city in Italy. Here, Chef Antonio makes it with parsley, milk and pecorino, then cooks the medium-length strands in a terrific sauce that’s saturated in the sea-sweetness of Gambero Rosso prawns and two types of tomatoes, from Campania and Sicily to be exact.


@casanostrasg is literally home to the best pizzas I‘ve eaten in Singapore thus far. This is where Keto diets get discarded at the door and appetites unabashedly rampage in.

My most recent meal there was as magnificent as on all my previous visits. Besides the complimentary Focaccia which was ridiculously delicious (it had truffle joining the crescenza cheese for the first time), the rest of the items were chosen by us for our $120-per-head menu. Below are details of only the pizzas we had from there:

1. Pizza Piacentina - Vegetarian but truly flavourful with pumpkin sauce, mozzarella, caper salt, pistachio, provolone del monaco D.O.P. and fresh basil.

2. Pizza Salsiccia Friarielli - The traditional taste of scarmorza, slightly sourish broccoli leaves, mozzarella and pork sausage was intensely enjoyable to me.

3. Pizza Lu - An umami bomb of tomatoes, anchovies, garlic, chilli, mozzarella and olive oil.

Everyone had their favourites and if I were to be forced to rank them, it would be in this order starting with the one I love most: 2, 3, 1.


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