+(65)/plusixfive supper club
There are many fine noodles to be had in Singapore: mee siam with spicy sambal, bak chor mee with a side of bouncy fishballs, oil-slicked char kway teow chockful of clams and rich coconuty laksa, to name a few. But the “Singaporean Noodles” – rice noodles, curry powder and various veg and meat scraps – found on takeaway menus nationwide, is not one of them. When I caught wind of a true blue Singaporean Supper Club springing up in North London and that founder Goz shared my distaste for the takeout staple (his mission is to “dispel the fiction that is Singapore noodles”) I hastily snapped up twelve seats at his +(65)/Plusixfive Supper Club.
I arrived at host (and chef) Goz’s cheery art and bunting-adorned Islington home with a hungry group of predominently Singaporean or Malaysian friends in tow, and after a brief meet and greet took our seats on one of two tables in the cosy living room. We nattered and nibbled on Keropok (prawn crackers) and Achar while the chefs busied themselves in the open kitchen preparing our feast. B loves his pickles and couldn’t stop raving about the sharp crunchy Achar – so much so that he suggested commercial production!
The first proper plate served to us by the chefs’ lovely other halves, was Kueh Pie Tee – crispy cases (homemade with an awesome-looking metal contraption) filled with tender carrots, turnip and mushrooms. Mighty popular with our entire table, they were demolished within seconds.
Next on the table was Tahu Goreng – fried tofu cubes, cucumber and beansprouts, blanketed in a thick peanut sauce. A surprisingly light combo that made a suitable lead-in to the heavier plates that followed.
Goz’s friend Marcus, whose family runs Peranakan restaurant Blue Ginger was in town and he shared chef duties, providing us with authentic Straits-Chinese specialties like these tasty golden prawn and pork stuffed deep-fried beancurd rolls. The Ngo Hiang had actually been made in Singapore and flew with Marcus on his plane ride here (along with the ton of other contraband ingredients he brought over for his Peranakan dishes). Very pop-able.
It’s a shame that the Beef Rendang doesn’t look particularly appetising in this pic despite me popping the bowl on the window ledge for more light, because it was a real knockout. Chunks of meltingly tender short ribs in a aromatic spice-laden sauce. I had two ample helpings, wolfed down with fragrant nasi lemak (coconut rice).
Equally unphotogenic but also delicious was the Chap Chye, a massive tangle of mushrooms, beancurd sheets, vegetables and vermicelli. M proclaimed it better than any chap chye she’s had even in Singapore – praise indeed.
One of my favourites was the Ayam Panggang, another of the Peranakan dishes, that boasted moist chargrilled chicken slathered with a sweet creamy coconut sauce. Sadly I was so stuffed to the gills that I could only manage a couple of slices. It didn’t stop one of our Singaporean friends L, who was happily tucking into everything no one could finish like he had just gotten out of NS – he has been living in London for quite a few years and was desperately missing the food of home.
Teh Tarik Ice Cream was an inspired concoction but I would have preferred a glass of the iced tea – you lose the frothiness of the drink with freezing, and that’s the aspect of teh tarik I like most.
Not content with serving just one dessert, Goz and Marcus excitedly hand shaved ice for the second – Chendol (a refreshing mix of pandan chendol jelly, red beans, shaved ice, gula melaka and coconut milk). And it didn’t stop there. Dinner ended with Nonya Kueh (tapioca cake) and mugs of Papa Palheta coffee all round.
A truly epic meal for £30 a head which you couldn’t get elsewhere in London even if you tried; after all Singaporean restaurants are sorely lacking here. Understandably the Plusixfive evenings fill up fast (the upcoming 14th Aug dinner is sold out), so get yourself on the mailing list pronto. You won’t regret it.
+(65)/Plusixfive Supper Club