One guest who visited this Katong-based home says it reminded her of the similarly named Japanese hit drama Midnight Diner, in which folks from all walks of life gather at a late-night izakaya for simple but comforting
nosh. The latter is an ethos similarly echoed at Katong Diner.
Helmed by chef Nicholas Anand Pereira (who recently took over from original head chef Meiwen Tan) and architect Jasper Chia of Fuur Associates, Katong Diner serves what they call “soul food” – think staples
of Japanese cuisine such as rice with condiments, slowly cooked in a donabe (a traditional clay pot).
Chef Nicholas Anand Pereira
With Pereira being the managing director at bespoke travel company Amala Destinations, that extensive travel history helps to give shape to what is plated ($150 to $160 per person, reservations via their Instagram account @katongdiner).
“Our diner carries the soulful patina of our past experiences, such as ducking into tiny izakayas in Japan or lunching on the floor of a Bhutanese farmhouse,” says Pereira.
Soulful, unpretentious dishes such as slow-cooked rice with condiments are the order of the day at Katong Diner.
“It’s a celebration of pure, unadulterated flavours… open to anybody and everybody.” Where it has a leg up over the humble izakaya portrayed in Midnight Diner lies probably in its intimate settings.
Located in the underground den of Chia’s home, it radiates the same understatedly stylish, warm atmosphere (with a touch of Brutalism) as can be found with other Fuur projects (Telok Ayer Arts Club being one of them).
Pereira has chosen to share the recipe for Katong Diner’s okonomiyaki (a traditional Japanese savoury pancake) – a signature hit that they’ve served since opening last August that is well in line with their soul food philosophy.
HOW TO MAKE KATONG DINER’S OKONOMIYAKI
Okonomiyaki – a traditional Japanese savoury pancake – is a signature dish at Katong Diner.
Serves: 5 to 6 people
Cooking time: 1 hour
100g okonomiyaki flour
Aonori (Japanese seaweed)
Step 1: Thinly slice the cabbage and shallots and add to mixing bowl.
Step 2: Cut guanciale and taleggio into small chunks and add to mixing bowl.
Step 3: Add the okonomiyaki flour, egg and dashi to mixing bowl and stir
well, before adding to the cabbage and shallot mix.
Step 4: Make sure the battered mix is well combined, then add vegetable oil
Step 5: Cook battered mix on medium high heat for five to seven minutes
Step 6: Spread okonomiyaki sauce evenly over the full surface.
Step 7: Add Kewpie mayonnaise sauce when you’re done cooking, sprinkle
some aonori and bonito flakes, and finally, top off with an egg yolk.
A version of this article first appeared in FEMALE‘s June 2021 Fashion Activity Book