14 March 2012

Singapore Takeout Blogger Dinner, Sydney (13 Mar 2012)

Campbells Cove, 7-27 Circular Quay West
The Rocks, Sydney NSW 2000

Serving it up to the Aussies

“1 mobile kitchen, 9 cities, 10 chefs and 14 food brands on a 365-day gastronomic journey.”

Thanks to Laura Barette from Frank PR for inviting me to the exclusive dinner for bloggers to experience Singapore Takeout at its final destination in Sydney. Located in the same spot where Greenhouse by Joost was it took advantage of views towards Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. Just when I thought I knew what Singapore was all about they tell me to Get Lost! One may think to respond with F*ck You if they took it the wrong way but Singapore Tourism's new campaign sure doesn't hold any punches to try and entice travellers to discover and perhaps rediscover Singapore. If it wasn't for the hot and humid weather I'd probably want to visit again for their cheap and delicious hawker stalls. MC for the night was Simon Thomsen which I thought was a rare sight to see a traditional media restaurant critic with food bloggers under the one roof but perhaps times are changing, perhaps not? I was hoping for Singapore Chilli Crab and hawker style comfort food like Char Kway Teow but with Ignatius Chan and Head Chef Akmal Anuar from Iggy's at the kitchen helm it was to be a dinner menu of 'refined interpretations of modern European fare executed with a Singapore inspired twist'.

Starting with a Nasi Lemak that looked nothing like a traditional nasi lemak it was an interesting adaptation which seemed to work quite well for flavour as a dish although I kept thinking to myself where's the meaty curry to go with it. Iggy's Variation of Sushi had tuna and kingfish wrapped around a soy meringue which replaced the traditional rice. At first I wasn't sure if it worked but I grew to like the unusual crunchy texture which made it lighter to eat than rice and you could still appreciate the flavour of the fish. I liked the presentation of the Cold Cappellini dish inspired by the Chinese New Year yu sheng (raw fish salad). Flavours were delicate although I somehow felt it was missing more dressing to help bind it all together a bit better. The Wagyu Beef Cheek was incredibly tender and was noted to have been slow-cooked for 40 hours to fully absorb the Pinot flavours. I thought it was a nice dish but since it was cooked via sous-vide I missed the more smokey flavours you might get with cooking meat on a grill. For dessert the Kaya Toast & Teh Tarik came on a bed of roasted tea leaves to add some crunch to the dish. I actually would have preferred just a sprinkling on top or maybe just have the kaya itself caramelised on the outside to give the crunch factor. A delicate shard of honeycomb would have maybe done the trick for me.

When I first heard about the Singapore Takeout I was thinking it was going to be something like a pop up restaurant similar to Malaysian Kitchen Food Market where the public could come and get a taste of Singapore cuisine to promote Singapore as a destination. Unfortunately for the public it's an invite only event over the 3 days which seems to have been for media, bloggers and the lucky 30 who applied in an online competition. I sort of feel it's a missed opportunity for Singapore Tourism to really showcase what they have to offer to the local Sydneysiders. Hopefully in the future they might consider a hawker-style street market event that brings the essence of Singapore into the hearts and stomachs of Sydney so everyone has a chance to appreciate their cuisine and culture — without the humidity and jet lag.

Singapore Takeout Blogger Dinner Video

You think you know Singapore? GET LOST

PROS: Nice location, Interesting dishes, Quality ingredients, Relaxed atmosphere, Taking photos of the food wasn't frowned upon, Ignatius Chan could easily be Tetsuya's stunt double
CONS: Only for invited guests, Only in Sydney for 3 days, No char kway teow or Singapore chilli crab, Pink or red lighting is a food bloggers nemesis for food photos
MUST TRY: Visiting Iggy's in Singapore one day

The setting

The kitchen revealed

Ignatius Chan & Chef Akmal Anuar, Iggy's

Front row seats for bloggers

Tweets, photos and smiles

Blogger bums on seats


Nasi Lemak

Seriously look how little these fish are!

Iggy's variation of sushi

Cold Cappellini

Wagyu Beef Cheek

Kaya Toast & Teh Tarik

Juliet Pinot Noir 2010, Matua Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2011, Tiger Beer

In the kitchen

MC Simon Thomsen

Mr Edward Koh, Executive Director, Strategy, Planning, Research & Incentives, Singapore Tourism Board

Ms Sandra Leong, Area Director Oceania, Singapore Tourism Board

PR support team

Thanh from I Eat Therefore I Am — you cheeky monkey!

A few friendly bloggers

Singapore Takeout tour locations

Goodie bag including The End of Char Kway Teow by I Eat I Shoot I Post

Singapore Takeout on Sydney Harbour

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joey@forkingaroundsydney said...

Wonderful concept and the food looks great. I had a chance to eat at Iggy's when in Singapore but decided against it because of the cost.

Ramen Raff said...

Wow! What an awesome event! Dishes looks very interesting. Would love to try that kaya toast & teh tarik dessert.

janesg said...

I hate to say this but traditional nasi lemak does not come with any form of "meaty curry". all it needs is a kickass sambal. don't let the aussie versions fool you.

Simon Leong said...

hi joey, sounds like it would be a very expensive restaurant in Singapore to try.

hi ramen, i wish more of the public had the opportunity to try

hi janesg, thanks for the details, that's great to know. much appreciated.

Em said...

I am jealous you got to meet Iggy. We ate at his restaurant in Singapore last year and it was one of the food highlights of our holiday. We went at lunch time which is a cheaper option than dinner.

Simon Leong said...

hi Em, lucky you for trying the restaurant. did you take some photos of the dishes?

Christina @ The Hungry Australian said...

Hi Simon. Nice to meet you at Singapore Takeout. I'm in awe of your blogging commitment, getting this up the same night as the dinner. Great photos and a very impressive video on Youtube, too.

Simon Leong said...

hi christina, nice to meet you too. if i had a iPad i probably could have done the review before I even left the event hehe. glad you like the video.

Em said...

Hi Simon,
Sorry, only just saw your reply to my comment. Yes, I did take photos, you can see them here: http://www.holdthepeas.com/2011/06/13/iggys-singapore/

Simon Leong said...

hi em, great. thanks for sharing :-)

thanh7580 said...

Great seeing you again Simon. I am a cheeky monkey, how did you know. :-)

Charles said...

I had the pleasure of checking this place out for the first time about a week or so ago. I have to say -- it was amazing!

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