Updated: Jan 28, 2019
"Dearborn Supper Club is the culinary vision of Chef Christopher Kong. It is a modern American, fine-casual concept that sources regional produce and focuses on greens, grains and seafood." - dearborn.sg
The private dining/supper club scene is just heaving with newcomers, cue : Dearborn, a two-month young concept by Seattleite Christopher Kong. The American with Southeast Asian roots has built his professional chef career at notably Waku Ghin and Guy Savoy in Singapore, and NoMad in New York City (by widely acclaimed chef-restauranteur Daniel Humm). Private diners can expect to try the seasoned professional's recipes, and have special access to Chef while he's cooking as the dining space in his and his wife's apartment is free of unnecessary barriers. Unlike other private dining spaces I've been to where sometimes the kitchen is glassed-up or partially hidden from view, guests are truly made to feel "mi casa, su casa". We could freely toggle between the living area where the boozy stash is proudly paraded on the coffee table for guests to drink, and the dining area where the table is gorgeously dressed in what looked like denim tablecloth and blue linen napkins.
Complimentary welcome drink (aka free booze), still and sparkling water, and coffee and tea are included in the 6-course meal too at $138 nett per guest of minimum 6, or maximum 8 on Fridays and Saturdays. The last I heard they were booked out till May 2019. So fastest fingers may still win via emailing firstname.lastname@example.org ideal dine-in dates because sometimes miracles do happen. At the time of this post, Dearborn is second to the most expensive private dining only space to have opened most recently (albeit the latter's is not in the host's home but in a shophouse) that serves 7 courses from $148++ per guest.
How did Dearborn get its name? "The name Dearborn comes from Seattle. So I'm from Seattle. There's an exit called Dearborn Street exit....And this is the exit that is used to go into Chinatown, and the international district...It always invoked this memory of having good times with friends and family, you know you're gonna go in and get food, and the food you know you're gonna eat for at least three hours and then take a nap...So we kinda want to create that homeliness and intimate space here...without the nap. *laughs*"
Chickpea panisse, avocado mousse, preserved Meyer lemon
This was served very warm off the oven. Though traditionally served like fries, Chef used "underutilised and very very savory" chickpeas to create panisse - a crispy-on-the- outside, and custardy-on-the-inside pillow topped with avocado mousse (which at first glance you might mistake it for kaya). This was recommended to be eaten first.
"Kueh pie tee", brik pastry shell, carrot tartare
A bridging of two cities, New York and Singapore, Chef created his take on our local Peranakan snack, kueh pie tee, but heaped it with his interpretation of carrot tartare (carrot vinaigrette, pickled mustard seeds and green apples) as a homage to Daniel Humm's iconic dish at three-Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park. The bite-size vegetable basket is then garnished with pentas flowers plucked from Chef's edible garden. Because the shell is very thin, it is best to have the whole thing at one go.
I've never heard of the famous carrot tartare dish till now, and never had it at Eleven Madison Park! Here's a video found on Youtube. What a privilege to be able to have a taste of Michelin goodness at Dearborn from an alumnus of highly decorated starred restaurants!
Edamame hummus, whipped ricotta, homemade lavosh
This was another snack that's a throwback to where Chef used to consult in the US, at a fast and casual noodle joint. This hummus was made lighter and cleaner tasting by the replacement of tahini with whipped ricotta.
Sustainable local snapper in cannoli, dill
Punctuating the last stop on this snack train was this brik pastry cannoli stuffed with rillette of sustainable local red snapper. Rillette is reminiscent of Chef's past working experience at Guy Savoy, which is now closed in Singapore but has maintained three Michelin stars in Paris since 2002.
At this point, it really seemed like I got to know Chef a little better through this tasting journey even though we have never met before, and was quite pumped to see what was in store for the rest of the meal. Coincidentally, one might notice that there is no printed menu in sight because Chef would prefer guests to enjoy and be in the moment instead of counting down dish by dish as the evening progressed.
Next up, six courses made up of more locally sourced ingredients.