A modern communal dining experience, having the best of both worlds, a mix of traditional cuisine with a modern cross fusion of cooking style from other cultures. This communal dining experience had 10 different types of dishes, starting from the appetiser, followed by 7 main courses, there are so delicious and mind blowing beyond my imagination, rounding up this unique modern communal dinner with 2 desserts. This is the Quarters Experience.
The Quarters Experience was created by Deming, whom I knew a few years back when he was just doing just one food, his trademark Durian Crème Brulee at a pop up event at Haw Par Villa in 2014. In the blink of an eye, he established two food brands, The Quarters and Kush. Watching how Deming established, transformed and innovate his food cuisine over this period time from 2014, I had great respect and admiration for this innovative food entrepreneur friend of mine.
When I was invited down by Deming to experience The Quarters Experience, I was grateful and thankful to be part of this amazing modern communal dining experience. I arrived earlier than the scheduled start time, photographing the setup process on what creates the special experiences behind The Quarters Experience. This was also a time to catch up with my friend Deming before he got very busy during The Quarters experience, hosting and sharing with the guests on each and every dish that was served during The Quarters Experience.
Personally, this was one of the best dining experiences that I ever had, not because I am invited and treated to this Quarters Experience, not because Deming is a friend of mine. Why the Quarters Experience was one of the best dining experiences that I had was because of the love and passion for food, translated into the excellent cooking skills that can be experienced, felt and tasted inside all of the 10 dishes of the Quarters Experience. All the 10 dishes (except for durian crème brulee because I don’t eat durian) touched not just my taste buds, they also touched my heart, mind and soul.
Let me bring you into the world of The Quarters Experience, sharing my thoughts and views of every dish, and interviewing Deming, his stories behind each dish.
An innovative and unique method to showcase the Achar, it’s a breakaway from the traditional style Achar. The Quarters Experience Achar is like a small pastry/canape type of dish. I liked how the Achar taste, a good mix of the East meets West cuisine.
JH, “Deming, the Achar looks unique and very different from traditional achar, what is the inspiration behind this unique and innovative design?”
DM, “Traditionally made, it serves as an amazing Amuse Busche to whet the appetite of the diners. The combination of the crisp puff and flavour of Achar is amazing.
First and foremost, I am a big fan of roast pork and when I saw the description of the Shiok Bak from the menu, I was eagerly looking forward to it! When I saw the dish arriving, I knew I was in for something more special than I ever thought. There were buns complementing the Shiok Bak, that are usually ate with braised pork, along with fresh lettuce. The skin of the Shiok Bak was extra crispy, crunchy and dry. As the name suggests, it’s really shiok to eat this Shiok Bak! Oh yes, there is a sauce to go along with the Shiok Bak too, the spicy rempah!
JH, ”Deming, I love this dish! This Shiok Bak is really shiok and it looks like it has a mix of a few different Asia cuisines cooking style infused into this dish. Let me make a guess, Teochew (the bun for the braised pork a.k.a. lor bak) + Korean (lettuce to be wrapped with pork) + Filipino roast pork? Did I guess correctly?”
DM, “Yes. There is a myraid of influences involved here. Its combining the best of Filipino style crackling with our chinese roast pork technique. The Teochew influence comes from the braising of the pork belly and Peranakan from the Rempah inspired by the Hiam Te Bak. All in all, it is delicious!
A perfectly charcoal grilled prawn, fresh, juicy and declicious. The menu stated that it was Cantonese style and I got curious. What exactly is a Cantonese style cuisine prawn dish?
JH, “Cantonese style, would you mind sharing more about this style of cooking?”
DM, “ This is my contribution in preserving a dying dish in the Zhi Char world. This dish has been overshadowed by Salted Egg Prawns and Cereal Prawn. The essence from this dish is Canontese inspired with its simle yet amazing sauce. The smokiness from the charcoal grill elevates this dish which is a worthy rendition of this Hok Hei laden dish.
Ooh La La
The Venus clams, cooked in flambed style with Singapore style chilli sauce and croutons added into them. The final product is like a chilli style soup with Venus clams and croutons.
JH, “The Oooh La La dish, was it meant to be a spicy soup dish since you added croutons into it?
DM, “This is our take of Singapore’s most favourite Chilli Crab sauce. More than just a cute play on words, this clams in this dish elevates the umami experience of the dish.
Another perfectly charcoal grilled dish, the Bibik’s Chicken with a rich Buah Keluak Sauce. When I ate the Bibik’s Chicken, the chicken meat was tender and not overcooked, this demonstrated the skill and experience level of the chefs charcoal grill cooking.
JH, “This Bibik’s Chicken is so delicious, so awesome! I have a few questions, is this a Peranakan cuisine? Was there any special seasoning on the chicken?”
DM, “ This dish is a tribute to the traditional Ayam Bua Keluak. Normally done as a stew, this rendition adds a few more layers into the gastronomic experience. Unlike the usual Buah Keluak Ayam, this dish brings together many more textures. The Chicken is firstly charcoal grilled to achieve a really crispy skin with the meat left tender and succulent. Infused with local herbs and spices, it is a flavour bomb when eaten together with the buah keluak paste.
A plate of mixed vegetables, consisting of stewed cabbage, carrots and minced pork. This dish may not look the most glamorous compared to the other counterparts in the 10 course The Quarters Experience. Yet, when I took a bite, the feeling was like “This is Home, truly”. The type of dishes, the emotions and feelings that warms your heart, mind and soul when you are back home eating your favourite food cooked by your parents or grandparents. The menu described it as “Family favourite …” I totally agree.
JH, “Bro, this dish, a simple dish yet I felt so good, the feeling of home cooked food! They just warmed my heart! How did you do it?”
DM, “ Inspired by what my Mum cooks at home, its about the simplicity and perfect balance of flavours which is appealing. Food done well, with love. Yum!
Quarters Fried Rice
An egg coated fried rice with two types of salted fish. The rice was so soft, fragrant and not oily at all. The Quarter’s Fried Rice was addictive because it was simply too good, too delicious.
JH, “Bro, would you mind teaching me the secret behind the secret to your Quarter’s Fried Rice?”
DM, “ It’s yet another dish which is a hit with our diners. We go through an arduous process to make sure that the rice is of the right consistency as well as using the right combination of dried fish and cooking technique to accomplish a very satisfying dish.
“Nai You” Lobster
This lobster dish stood out among the 10 dishes, it was charcoal kissed and butter poached. The chefs of The Quarters were really skillful in their charocal cooking techniques, it was just nicely cooked, sweet and tender.
JH, “I saw it on the menu, charcoal kissed and butter poached, would you mind elaborating more on this cooking technique?”
DM, “Inspired by our favourite “Nai You” Crabs and prawns. This is our take on elevating simple ingredients with an amazing lobster. Simply put, we butter poach the lobster and finish the lobster on the grill for that bit of char and smokiness. It’s all about the right timing.
This is Deming’s trademark dish, the original dish that got me to first know Deming for the first time (3 years ago) before he launched his food concept The Quarters. Today, I am back again to taste another revolution and innovation in his traditional and modern cuisine. I gave away my Duriancanboleh because I don’t eat durian (don’t judge me, please!)
JH, “Bro, you know that I don’t eat durian hor, not that I don’t like your Duriancanboleh hor!”
DM, “ You would have enjoyed the other renditions of crème brulee which have done over the years. Lemongrass and Vanilla. The magic and texture of the crème brulee would still be the same. It’s an in house secret which we are proud of.
It’s called the Kaya bomb in the menu, not exactly the profiterole that you have in your mind.
JH, “Bro, this looks more like a The Quarters mini Kaya bun leh, why did u call it a profiterole?”
DM, “ It’s a Kaya profiterole. An amazing kaya which explodes out of a crispt choux pastry. What can be more delicious and local than this?
At the end of the 10 course The Quarters Experience, I had a very wonderful and very enjoyable food dining experience, a modern communal social dinning experience with an excellent selection of dishes, a mix of traditional and modern cuisine fusion and also East meets West fusion. The chefs excellent, highly experienced and professional cooking skills can be found in their 10 course dishes, without a doubt.
The main attraction doesn’t lie in the fusion of traditional and modern cuisine, or excellent cooking skills. For me, it’s in the heart, mind and soul, the passion and love for cuisine, traditional or modern. That to me, are what makes Deming and his The Quarters stand out, that later gave birth to The Quarters Experience.
I would like to thank Deming of The Quarters for the invitation to experience The Quarters Experience. This was beyond an awesome communal dining experience, it’s a fusion of traditional and modern cuisine. The love and passion for cooking, traditional cuisine, I totally felt it in my heart
If you would like to experience The Quarters Experience for yourself, you can visit their website and register to taste it.