Best private home dining in Singapore: Ampang Kitchen, Fatfuku, Lynnette’s Kitchen, and Mustard Seed
Singapore is a veritable dining hotspot — along any given street you'll find rows of dimly-lit kopitiams, which come alive during mealtimes with their bright LED signs, cacophony of smells, and raucous conversation. Turn the corner and there might be fine-dining establishments and a couple of cafés, holding its own with a following of eager millennials. Our malls, and even airport (cue: the mammoth Jewel Changi Airport), teem over with food outlets, and it's as rare as hen's teeth that these establishments aren't packed with patrons.
Perhaps it's that desire for a quiet, intimate meal, alongside our renowned dining culture, that has made private home dining in Singapore a trend in recent years. There's something special about sharing a meal in someone's home, with food that you know is made in small batches out of love by a cook who wants to showcase their heritage and story. Ideal for small celebrations or a group of friends after a delectable meal, there's so much to be said about the warmth of the entire experience. Best of all, you can interact with the chefs, find out more about their story, and be inspired by what they do. Below, a round-up of our island's best private kitchens. Bookings and roaring appetites essential.
Ampang Kitchen is the brainchild of retired chartered accountant Raymond Leong, whose childhood love has always been Peranakan food. He spent years experimenting in the kitchen, and upon his retirement, made the decision to hone his craft further at a small cooking school led by a fourth-generation Penang Peranakan in Kuala Lumpur. Ampang Kitchen has been in operation since 2008, initially starting out as a catering and private chef venture, before moving into the private home dining space in 2017. Today, Leong and his son David, welcome guests into their home in Bukit Timah and serve up dishes that are not commonly found anywhere else. Expect scrumptious dishes such as a charcoal-grilled satay bohong, a rare Penang home recipe, and banana flower kechai, another dish that is hardly found on our shores. The latter is a beautiful salad comprising the flower of the banana stem, cucumber, shallots, lime, belachan sauce, and topped with a light coconut cream sauce. While dining in is clearly the way to go, catering is also an option for those who wish to complement their own meals with Ampang Kitchen's delights.
Price: Lunch at $60 per person (minimum 8 pax, maximum 16 pax) for six dishes from Ampang Kitchen's lunch menu. Dinner at $100 per person (minimum 10 pax, maximum 16 pax) for nine dishes from Ampang Kitchen's lunch or dinner menu.
If dishes like curry devil pie and a wagyu beef check rendang with serundeng are right up your alley, Fatfuku along Upper East Coast Road might just be your private home dining option of choice. Singaporean food writer Annette Tan is behind this heartfelt endeavor, which enables her to put her passions on a plate — food inspired by her Peranakan parents and childhood, updated with modern touches. Her role as a food insider has also contributed to Fatfuku, as she has had the privilege of learning from and working with professional chefs from some of Singapore's best restaurants. While Tan calls her twice-fried crispy mee siam — served with prawn and quail egg sambal and rich lashings of gravy — one of her signatures, her personal iterations of Singapore's most popular dishes also stand out. Think sticky bak kwa jam baklava and bars of toasted sugee cake topped with homemade malted corn ice cream, semolina crumble, and caramel popcorn.
Price: Lunch and dinners at $110 per person (minimum 6 pax, maximum 9 pax) for seven to nine dishes.
Cultural medallion winner, co-concertmaster of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, and Singapore Women's Hall of Fame inductee Lynnette Seah is also the chef behind her private home dining meals in Tiong Bahru. Lynnette's Kitchen is an extension of Seah's post-concert dinners and barbecue parties which she has thrown for the nearest and dearest over the last two decades. While Peranakan fare is her forte, she also offers Western dishes and Asian-style seafood. Popular dishes include Seah's grilled Japanese jumbo squid stuffed with a flavourful shiitake mushroom risotto, slow-cooked beef rendang, and Sri Lankan crabs braised in homemade stock, young ginger, and rice wine. If you prefer to stay home, Seah can also be hired as a private chef upon request. Customised menus and wine pairing are also available.
Price: $120 per person (minimum 7 pax, maximum 17 pax) for seven courses. $150 per person when a crab dish is included.
While Mustard Seed isn't strictly in someone's house, its 13-seater restaurant is cosy enough to feel that way. Initially a pop-up restaurant, owner Gan Ming Kiat has now turned it into cosy space in Serangoon Gardens that encourages warm communal dining akin to going to a good friend's house. Gan has spent time working under Chef Hisao Goto at Goto Kaiseki and Chef Malcolm Lee at Candlenut — both of whom he regards as mentors. His food is proudly rooted in Singaporean flavours and inspired by Japanese techniques, presented in an omakase style tasting menu which changes monthly. Gan's clever repertoire spans the likes of buah keluak bolognese, braised duck in duck bone broth, and the crowd-favourite crab porridge. The restaurant concept means you don't have to reserve the entire place, but you can come with as little or as many people as you wish, barring its seating capacity. Mustard Seed is currently booked out till October, so get your fingers on the keyboard when reservations open on the first of every month at 10am.
Price: $138 per person for an omakase style tasting menu. Dinner starts promptly at 7.45pm but doors open at 7pm.