A Mustard Seed

I chose this name because the mustard seed is a small seed that has the potential to grow into a large, sturdy tree.” ~ Gan Ming Kiat, About Me, The Mustard Seed Pop Up.

I say, the seed has popped and is growing nicely.

If you are keen to try home based private dining, Chef Gan Ming Kiat is someone I would recommend, after a lovely meal at his home for a fee last week.

Home based private dining service appears to be on the rise. The fact that our close friends of almost 30 years arranged a meal together at Chef Ming, our first private dining in a stranger’s home, speaks for itself. These private dining home meals are generally started by enthusiastic home cooks who may not have the cooking qualifications, but share common traits of enjoyment in entertaining and a love for cooking. Then, there are aspiring F&B professionals who use home based dining as a stepping stone to open a restaurant. If you wonder whether home based dining for a fee is allowed, it is, permitted under HDB/URA’s home based small scale business scheme, as long  as it does not become a commercial outlet.

Chef Ming is a professional cook with some years of experience in Goto, Candlenut and The Singapore High Commission in Australia before coming out on his own, at home. He has garnered good reviews from food critics and touted a rising star (https://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/food/no-restaurant-no-problem-for-these-three-young-chefs.) Indeed, I can attest to his commendable cooking skills after a meal prepared entirely by him alone.

Here’s how I would describe him and his cooking style. Chef Ming is quiet and unassuming, a young man of few words but he makes the effort to introduce his dish, and talks about his food if you were to ask him. His menu is Kaiseiki style with 7-8 local, Asian-based dishes that appears to have some Japanese influence. His dishes are interesting, simple, light and clean but with a myriad of tastes that keeps you wondering what they are.

It’s a nice change from the typical restaurant meals. I came with a stuffed stomach, after a very late lunch and had thought, I would simply taste a little of every dish during Chef Ming’s dinner. Instead, I lapped up almost everything that was served, and that says it all.

Meals are served in Chef Ming’s HDB flat in Potong Pasir, with a seating capacity for 8 persons. He works alone in the kitchen,  balancing his time between cooking and serving food. His home decor is tasteful and pleasant, and resides in a quiet surrounding.  It’s perfect for a cosy get-together with friends or family.

His menu changes each month. Here’s what I had recently for s$85/person.

Herbal mushroom soup – Chinese style soup with herbal aromatic and flavouring. Mushrooms were tender and smooth. A nourishing soup for the body and mind.

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Turmeric frog legs – A pair of considerable sized and plum frog legs, lightly coated with tumeric and herb salt, fried till golden brown, non greasy and succulent. Squeeze a little lime on them before eating. An amazing dish.

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Sea prawns winter melon soup – Silky prawns and winter melon in clear broth. Taste umami, simple and good. A comforting bowl of soup.

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Crab cake, chilli crab sauce –  sauce reminded me of lobster bisque. Homemade bun was fluffy, soft and a joy to eat.

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Wild caught parrot fish, clams and peas –  naturally sweet and boneless fish  paired with small clams, and crunchy fresh peas. (I just realised that we should avoid eating parrot fish if we want to save the coral reefs!)

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Buah Keluak pork neck curry, koshinhikari – buah keluak grounded and made into a thick flavourful stew. Koshinhikari is a type of rice cultivated in Japan.

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Soyabean – Everything in the bowl is soya-made including the ice cream. An amazing dessert. I like!

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Guava, cucumber and yuzu – guava sorbet paired with bits of yuzu jelly and cucumber. Absolutely refreshing.

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My dining mates have given Chef Ming the thumbs up. In fact,  we are all waiting in line for  our next meal with the Chef who is only available from Aug 2018.

I am heartened to see a local talent rising and impressing diners with his food. Consider supporting our very own local Chef, the next time you plan a dinner party.

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