Driven by passion and a great love for food, Sim Hon Sing decided to quit the corporate world and succumbed to his dream of living a culinary lifestyle fulltime. Together with his lovely wife, Magarita, both of them have opened up their gorgeous house to welcome guests who wish to experience private dining on a personal level. A self-taught chef, Hon Sing was introduced to the world of cooking by none other than his mother. As a kid, he used to love watching and helping his mother cook up delicious authentic Hakka food in the kitchen.
I first met Hon Sing when he was the Marketing Manager of a well-known steakhouse. At that time, he was already experimenting in private kitchen services on a part-time basis. Response on this secret supper club dining has been so encouraging that he finally decided to quit his day job and focus on this totally.
The comfortable spacious seating in Hon Sing and Magarita’s home makes dining there a real pleasure. The modern and contemporary home decor lends a very warm welcome to its ambience. Following the delicious aroma wafting through the house, I found Chef Hon Sing busy in the kitchen. He was busy pan-frying the Mersing lobster that’s part of his Seasonal Menu to be served later. On a side counter, freshly fried Crispy Mash Potato cutlets were kept warm in a shallow pan. These were the side items for the lobster.
While waiting for the other guests to arrive, I chatted with Hon Sing and Magarita who told me more about this culinary venture. In between, Magarita dashed in and out to welcome and attend to guests as they arrived. The tantalising aroma of the Umami Chicken Wings became quite unbearable after a while and I was glad when we were finally seated for lunch to start.
Appetizer: Umami Chicken Wings Trio with pumpkin curry puree, green chilli chutney
and roasted tomatoes
Mains: Sakura Pork Loin with infused coffee-butter and roasted seasonal vegetables
Citing his love for Chinese and Italian cuisines, it’s not surprising that Hon Sing’s creations echo influences from them and that’s why he cheekily named them his “Chitalian” dishes. The chicken wings were presented in “boxing chicken” style, with the meat all scraped down into a ball at one end of the bone. Freshly fried with lightly crisp skin, the wings were served with a bunch of young watercress and sat on3 pools of different sauces – pumpkin curry puree, green chilli chutney and roasted tomatoes. It’s hard to pick a favourite among the 3 and I actually liked all of them! They’re aptly named – the “umami-ness” of the wings came through in every dip of the sauces.
The Sakura pork loins came through as very healthy – soft pink lean cuts with subtle aromas of coffee butter perfuming the tender meat. The portion may seem petite but I was surprised that it was actually pretty filling once it’s eaten up with all the roasted vegetables.
Appetizer: Mersing Lobster with Garlic Aioli and Crispy Mash Potato
Mains: Sabah Soft Shell Crab with Kombu-infused Risotto
The tubular cuts of sweet succulent Mersing lobster were served with a cascade of delicate pea shoots. The fresh lobster only needed a dash of garlic aioli to bring out its natural sweetness and I’m glad the chef played a perfect balancing job in this dish.
The crunchy soft shell crab served on kombu-infused risotto was a good attempt but I felt the Arborio rice was a tad too mushy – I’d prefer it less wet. Flavour-wise, it’s tasty with a good fusion from the briny kombu and the delicate sweetness of the soft shell crab.
Desserts for both courses were Hon Sing’s Deconstructed Tiramisu with home-made mascaporne ice cream. Soaked through with coffee syrup, the chocolatey lady fingers would have been awesome with a dash of liquor.
Guests can choose to have their dessert with Coffee or Tea.
At RM68 per head, I think the 3-course meal is very reasonably-priced, considering the quality of the ingredients and the exclusivity of comfortable private dining in a beautiful house.
Hon Sing changes the menus on a monthly basis – come September, there will be other dishes showcased. If you want to have a taste of this menu, just hop on over to www.hungrymario.com or email Hon Sing directly at [email protected] to make your reservation.
Hon Sing is also available for hire as a Private Chef, private catering whether for drop-off or set-up & serve. More details are available in the website.
Saturday & Sunday
Lunch: 12.00pm – 3.00pm
Dinner: 7.00pm – 10.00pm
Dining at Hungry Mario is by reservation only.
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