Having only been in London for eleven months, it wasn’t long before I went looking for authentic Asian food. The usual Asian buffets that lined chinatown definitely did not fool the Singaporean in me. I actively read up on London food blogs, in hope of finding an authentic plate of hainanese chicken rice, a reliable Sunday yumcha restaurant and perhaps even a good bowl of heart warming pho. I needed to locate the MUST-TRY places in London in search of that familiar taste in my mouth. The key was to find a few reliable food blogs who have the same taste palette as me.
Having never heard of supper clubs, I was intrigued when I came across Plusixfive. Gozgozgoz, the guy behind Plusixfive (dialling code for Singapore actually…) holds a supper club at his home in Islington serving:
“badass Singaporean street food cooked the good ol’ way, presented with minimum fuss and maximum taste.”
It didn’t take me long to make a booking after I heard about the “FISH HEAD CURRY” that he was wanting to serve. My fellow Dishpiglet, Celia, was a little intimidated by the fish head namesake so I took the dude along instead.
We were amongst the first few to arrive. We exchanged a few awkward “hellos” to several others who were behind us and found ourselves in a living room filled with 2 tables (of about 8 seats each). Our eyes wandered to the cleverly set tables with old school milk bottles and chinese calendar paper folded into boats – filled with bitternut crackers and spicy tapioca chips. The memories of my 12 year old childhood flooded back when I bit into the spicy tapioca chips. Gone were the good ol’ days when I was able to share a packet with a few friends in the school canteen and savour this as an afternoon snack.
Shortly after 7.30pm, most of the guests arrived and we shared a few more hellos with those who mustered the courage to accept the challenge of the fish head curry. Funnily enough, there weren’t many Singaporeans/ Malaysians in the crowd and I was quite impressed. We proceeded to take our seats and were served our first course of deep fried fish skins and bones. The crunch of the fish bones was pretty impressive and extremely tasty. Goz presented it with a tangy kaffir lime mayo-like sauce to go with the fish bones and it was quite a good match. As for the fish skin, I found mine quite chewy but still tasty all the same. It was interesting to hear the others on the table describing it as pork scratchings. As for the dude, he couldn’t get enough. (Note: This was his first time trying the fish bones & skin)
Next up, we had spicy sardine puffs served to us by Shuhan (MummyIcancook), a special guest for the evening. The buttery puff pastry melted in my mouth only to reveal a spicy sardine filling inside. The only criticism I had was that there wasn’t enough around for seconds! Totally digged the sardine puffs… Recipe please????
The dude’s favourite ‘chwee kueh’ came served a la Singapore brown paper hawker style complete with toothpicks. It was finger lickin’ good ‘rice cake’ with substantial oil and preserved turnip toppings. A little chilli accompaniment would be great but who’s complaining? Everything was spot on so far and the corner where we were seated polished the food off faster than everyone else. It clearly showed that we were a hungry bunch with an appetite for more of Goz’s creations!
Having lived in Australia for ten years and now, London… I never understood the curry powdered vermicelli which they call Singapore fried noodles… To tell you the truth, there is no such thing as Singapore fried noodles! The fried vermicelli we have back home is pictured below and as served by Goz, complete with spam, belachan chilli and fish cake. None of the curry powder stuff!
The main dish – Fish head curry was served next, complete with free flow steamed rice. The aroma of the curry was a delight to my senses. By this time, you could hear the room go quiet. It is always a good sign when people stop chatting and get on with their eating. It tells you simply that everyone was enjoying their authentic fish head curry. I was practically stuffing my face by this time… and I am hoping that no one took a photo of me.
Shuhan from Mummyicancook served her ‘spicy deep fried sambal eggs‘ soon after the fish head curry. I advised the dude to scrape the sambal clean from the bowl as it was extremely delicious and little did I know… that it packed a PUNCH! The dude’s mouth was flamin’ but he thought that the eggs brought out the flavours of the fish head curry. (Realised that I didn’t have any photos of the eggs!!! I was so engrossed with the curry and the eggs that I didn’t even take my camera out!)
Just when we thought we couldn’t eat anymore… the crunchy cereal prawns were placed in front of us, served on authentic banana leaf. The nestum cereal and curry leaves complemented the prawns and gave it crunch and fragrance, fulfilling both the sensation of bite and smell. We couldn’t ask for more, really.
As for those who haven’t heard of milo ‘dinosaur’, it is a simple milo drink which we get from our local 24 hour mamak store back in Asia, topped with a whole lot of milo powder, to give the drink some crunch. Goz presented his version in ice-cream form, complete with condensed milk and a surprise element of corn flakes. When I finished the last of the dishes, I wanted to stand up and give a standing ovation but I kept my cool and continued chatting with fellow food bloggers and lovers.
The night was a roaring success and we had the best time. We came not knowing what to expect and left with happy and extremely full tummies, stuffed with the night’s goodness. Not forgetting our doggy bag with the leftover fish head curry, courtesy of Goz…
If you are Singaporean and missing out on some home cooked food, you HAVE to get yourself down to Plusixfive‘s supper club. Even if you aren’t but have a love for Asian delights, forget about Chinatown and just come along for a night of great cuisine with fellow food lovers. It is an experience not to be missed.
We will be back!