Above: Welcome to Singapore, Backdoor Kitchen!
Prologue on The Backdoor Kitchen:
I've had the pleasure of dining at The Backdoor Kitchen Italian Supperclub several times in London now, as well as working with them through our food startup Edible Experiences. I'm delighted to say that as we "grew up" in London's food scene together, Chef Roberto and I also became friends. I love it that every time I think I have Italian food all figured out, he throws me a new region's cuisine, a new story about some dish or ingredient's story, some new twist on a classic or familiar dish.
(Backdoor Kitchen on Twitter)
Prologue on Smothering Suppers:
Last year my beautiful and talented sister in law Sarah spent the summer volunteering on a farm in Campagna, Italy, learning how to cook the big cold hearty cuisine of the region from the Mama of the farming family. She hosted a dinner at Edible HQ during her one day transit back in London enroute home to Singapore. I invited Rob to dinner, and since then Sarah and Rob have, I hear, been whizzing emails and recipes back and forth, as Sarah hosted supperclub dinners in her home in Singapore to share what she learned in Italy.
(Smothering Suppers on Twitter)
So when the stars aligned, and there was a tiny whiff of an opportunity that Rob and I could overlap for a few days in Singapore, Rob, Sarah and I all jumped at the chance, wrestled it to the ground, and pinned it down by the jagular, to host a Backdoor Kitchen Sunday lunch at Smothering Suppers HQ in Singapore.
If we could grin anymore with glee at how Backdoor Kitchen's debut in Asia turned out, our cheeks would fall off.
And now to the menu.
Antipasti: A gently sweet-sour caponata salad studded with copa, a highly addictive terrine made from pig's head (a perfect accompaniment to shooting the breeze late at night in Rob's kitchen). This dish needs its own song. Something like.... "At the Copa... Copa-caponata...". Sorry Mr Manilow.
At my request, Rob made his stunning marinated sea bream and chickpea salad.
Definitely a crowd pleaser with our 16 guests that day. This handsome dude made Sarah's day by telling her that he felt like he had walked into a Wallpaper magazine when he walked into her flat.
The trickiest dish of the day: Rob's vegetarian inside out (or is that outside in?) twist on cabonara. Here, diced courgettes are mixed in ricotta, creating a base for a raw egg yolk.
Which is then blanketed with a pasta sheet, to create giant ravioli pillows.
Mind you, this is Chef Rob in as good a mood as I've ever seen him while prepping.
A very quick blanche to keep the egg yolk runny...
... and then a dollop of creamy saffron sauce with more courgettes. Gooey gorgeousness.
A little breather in between courses for guests to chat, stretch, and get ready for the enslaught of yumminess coming.
A Backdoor Kitchen classic: Squid ink risotto on a bed on basil cream, topped with caramelised onions, tomatoes and guanciale. Modern Italy on a plate.
In Singapore a rainy counts as cold weather, which was the perfect setting for Rob's slow cooked pork and sausage stew on savoury polenta.
And the crowd went wild. (Or at least, WOW.)
And then fell into a long silence as they chowed down. And chowed down. And chowed down.
The Italian-coloured remains of the day.
A sweet finish: Rob's white chocolate and strawberry tiramisu, in tribute to Singapore colours. Uttered one guest, "Omygod I could have just this for lunch".
Take a bow, Rob and Sarah!
The relief at the end of a successful service, and the dreading of all the dishwashing to come...
After eating his way through Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, Rob is now back in London. You can keep track of his upcoming suppers here. (He's cooking up a wintery Alpine menu this weekend, a few seats left!)
Sarah now works full time as a chef at the much hailed Immigrants gastrobar, studying under Chef Damian D'Silva, one of my favourite and most respected guardians of heritage Singaporean cuisine. Email smotheringsuppers (at) gmail.com to receive alerts about Sarah's upcoming supperclubs.
I'm the founder of Edible Experiences, and provide event ticketing services for Backdoor Kitchen. I've attended Backdoor Kitchen events both as a paying guest and as a member of the team.