Restaurant review

Restaurant review: Chez Kai elevates the streets of Geylang with a private French-Chinese dinner, Lifestyle News

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A new culinary experience perched at the gates of Geylang, Chez Kai is more than it seems. Hidden behind opaque brown doors and without a sign, this exclusive private dining space is housed in a humble heritage boutique and is a respite for connoisseurs and its loyal list of regulars.

If you’re still lost, try knocking on the door next to the Coliwoo Residences, where the old Gay World Hotel was, and you’ll be greeted with smiles and a warm welcome.

At the helm is Chef Yeo Kai Siang, a go-getter Singaporean who completed his training at Le Cordon Bleu Paris and cut his teeth in Michelin-starred establishments.

Fueled by passion, the chef and his determined team bring a pinch of youthful spirit to one of Singapore’s oldest neighborhoods. The job description here also calls for one to be just as much worse in their knowledge of f&b and wine, as the team promises a personalized and approachable style of service tailored to each client.

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The space is equally modern and personalized, from hand-painted whitewashed walls to gold accents throughout the interiors. And like his paintings and murals, Chef Kai’s menu and cuisine are also an expression of his art.

Channeling his cultural background and his French training, Chez Kai the chef puts Franco-Chinese cuisine at the forefront with a 9-course tasting menu ($178++) thematic according to the 24 seasons of the solstice.

Since our visit, the menu has completely changed, but that gives you a general idea of ​​what to expect when you come down. If you call a week before your dinner date, you may still be able to request these dishes.

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Our evening began with the Chinese ending with a hot aged ham, duck and chicken consumed. Made with a combination of prosciutto ham, ham hock, duck, chicken and pork bone, the light soup was the perfect way to warm our bellies for what was to come.

Along with the Six Meat Melody, Chef Yeo uses a cold filter method to clarify the consommé. It gave amazing results because it made the soup more potent and you could almost taste the texture of the protein with every sip.

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Next, in true French canapé tradition, we delved into a savory version of Mille Feuille, served in a traditional rustic Chinese rosewood stand sporting two small bites. The former featured foie gras with fermented red cabbage, which leaned towards a more umami flavor profile and smooth meaty texture while the Angkah prawns, vinaigrette and herb aioli featured Cantonese-style flavors with a crunch.

One of our personal favorites of the night was Chez Kai’s version of the signature Hakka dish, Abacus Seed. Soft and wonderfully jiggly, the gluten-free yam gnocchi, topped with 63° egg, give the dish a chewy, almost slippery texture.

Applewood-smoked hamachi cubes and swordfish broth lend an intense smoky flavor while the dried egg yolk topping balances it all out with a savory twist.

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One dish that quickly disappeared from the table was sweet potato bread. Freshly baked, the light and airy bread was elegantly paired with umami kombu butter and herbaceous spring onion oil – perfect for snacking on while waiting for the main course. If you want to elevate the experience, try it with a luxurious caviar refill, which has become a favorite among locals.

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For the main course, we were offered the tender, sweet and not at all gamey lamb’s milk in a gravy of smoked snapper and lamb. The dish was enhanced with zesty picked vegetables including fennel and onion, while the spiced pumpkin puree gave the dish a little zest.

This was followed by the Hokkaido scallop with homemade egg noodles bathed in a creamy fish broth reduction. The Chez Kai XO spicy sauce made with toppings of Hokkaido scallops, Ang Kah shrimp and dried shrimp gives the whole dish a very familiar taste of home and food served at our hawker stalls.

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R.ICE 3 completes the experience in the dessert of the meal. It gets its name from three different types of rice used in its creation: toasted rice mousse, rice ice cream, and puffed rice used in the filling for a fluffy texture. The cold dessert sits on a layer of sweet seasonal fruit and not-so-apparent lavender shortbread crumbs.

As we enter the Solstice of Cold Dew, we’re eagerly awaiting what Chef Yeo will create for his next menu and what we can sink our teeth into next!

Chez Kai is located at 115 Geylang Road, #01-02, Singapore 389218, p. 87677502 (Whatsapp only). Open Tue-Sat, 6.30pm-11pm. One must reserve.

This article was first published in City Nomads.

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