A 10-course taste of Singapore

[slideshow_deploy id=’29983′]

Gentrified street food is something to be approached with caution – it’s street food for a reason. Spice Market’s Peter Lloyd has done his research, though, having travelled Asia extensively, and his Singaporean street-food inspired 10-course tasting menu translates the intense, complicated flavours of the country well. Indeed, Singapore might be an Asian country, but, owing to its huge ethnic diversity, its culinary scene is incredibly diverse.

As per Asian tradition, the menu is made up of multiple plates to be shared among the table. Shrimp in a sticky, spicy sauce with sweet roasted pineapple chunks came first. The flavours were intense, but were offset well by the fruit – as per Lloyd’s designs – and we found ourselves using poppadoms, which were provided with their own sauce, to finish off the remains of the dish.

More starters were laid down, including a generous portion of roasted skate and a more traditional dish of soft shell crab served with fried steamed buns – in Singapore it’s usually a whole crab and multiple buns, but this was a refined replacement.

The main courses arrived quickly; the first, a vegetable nasi goreng, had the punchy, moreish quality that you’d except from street food. This was certainly a highlight, and the subtle spring-onion omelette that topped it proved a great feat in textural contrast – in comparison, the rice felt wonderfully crisp. The seafood laksa was good, but lacked the hot, spicy depth of more authentic dishes of its kind, still, it was delicious and would suit many Western palates.

My Singaporean dining companion was excited when the Hainanese chicken and rice dish was laid down – she said people eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner in the country and it’s a universal comfort food. We weren’t disappointed; the chicken was butter-soft and came topped with a potent ginger sauce that added a real intensity to what was otherwise a very delicate combination of flavours.

Dessert, sometimes an afterthought, was what really lingered in our minds – and in our conversation – after the meal end. There were two dishes; the first, a supersized pandan macaron, was filled with an ingenious spin on salted caramel ice cream – instead of salt it was soy sauce, so the taste was new and exciting.

The second was durian ice cream, served inside a novelty takeaway box. You could really taste the durian, but it wasn’t so strong as to be overwhelming. Both were singular and well thought out, striking the perfect balance between tradition and innovation. That’s where the appeal of this novel culinary concept lies – in its combination of authenticity and contemporary ideas.

It’s not often that you find good Singaporean food in London, and this new menu ticks so many boxes.

by Becky Zanker

The menu is available until August 2015

Spice Market, 10 Wardour St, W1D 6QF, London

Tel: +44 207 758 1088  ·
Email: spicemarket.london@whotels.com