Comprising husband and wife duo Mark and Hilary Lee, The Sundial, opened this January, is one of the newer players on the scene. Home is a bungalow in Bukit Timah, and guests dine in a gazebo in their idyllic
Both led transatlantic lives; living in London, Paris and New York before returning to Singapore 15 years back – that probably played a role informing The Sundial’s holistic nature.
The Sundial’s guests dine in a gazebo in the Lees’ garden.
Mark, who’s responsible for all aspects of the dining experience, describes
his cuisine as European-inspired “casual and earthy gastronomy” that places emphasis on bold, uncontrived and fresh flavours (think wild-caught prawns and clams with a dash of chilli and whisky as a flambe) over say,
dainty arrangements and fanciful plating.
Perhaps crucially how it differs from other dining concepts is the inclusion of New Age practices that are finding renewed popularity globally, such as Reiki treatments (Hilary is a long-time practitioner) and workshops that focus on drawing out one’s intuitive aspects through art techniques such as painting.
The idea is for people to pick the experience that they feel most affinity with, as and when they want,” says Hilary. “We are all about living as vibrantly as we can, particularly in these trying times, while building
a business that is nurturing and regenerative.”
The regenerative part comes in through their careful sourcing of ingredients used in their dishes: farms that prioritise ethical treatment of animals as well as lower carbon footprint businesses such as local vegetable
Mark handles the dining aspects of the business, while his wife Hilary provides Reiki treatment and classes.
Herbs are also used from their own garden. They also offer a selection of minimal intervention wines – commonly known as “natural” wines that limit or omit the use of preservatives. If that’s your thing, hit
them up on www.thesundial.space to make a reservation – prices from $138 to $158, sans wine.
The recipe they’ve generously shared with us likewise reflect that down-to-earth quality prized by the Lees – a popular onion soup made with dry cider from Herefordshire – UK’s leading cider county.
HOW TO MAKE THE SUNDIAL’S ONION SOUP
Onion soup is a popular dish at The Sundial – they make theirs with English dry cider from Herefordshire.
Serves: 6 people
Cooking time: 2 hours
4 pink onions (Roscoff if you can get them)
4 yellow onions
125g unsalted butter
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp balsamic glaze
3 bay leaves
1 litre English dry cider (not sweet cider) 1⁄2 to 1 litre low sodium organic vegetable
stock (homemade if you have time)
1 bouquet garni
Splash of Worcestershire sauce to taste
2 tbsp English mustard
For the croutons
80g grated gruyere
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
English parsley to garnish
Step 1: Slice the onions with the top of the onion pointing to your left, so as to create rings. The rings should be around 1 to 2cm wide but don’t sweat it if they are uneven.
Step 2: Take a Dutch oven or a large baking tray and gently melt the butter, adding the onions, and stirring in the sugar and the balsamic to coat the onions well. Toss in the bay leaves. On a low heat setting, slowly cook the onions down until they are caramelised and golden and sweet. Many
recipes say around 30 minutes but we cook them for around 1.5 hours.
Step 3: When the onions are soft and golden brown, add the cider, the vegetable stock and the bouquet garni. On a low heat setting, allow to infuse together for around 20 minutes until the soup starts to reduce and thicken a little.
Step 4: Add the Worcestershire sauce and the English mustard. Stir, taste, and add salt and pepper until you are happy with the depth of flavour. The soup should not be thin or too thick. If it is thicker than you like then add a bit more vegetable stock. If it is too thin then reduce by keeping on the
heat, stirring until some of the moisture evaporates. The end result should be hearty and dark golden, sumptuous and deep. Ladle into bowls and keep it warm while you prepare the bread.
Step 5: Mix together the gruyere, the Worcestershire sauce and the mustard. Cut the baguette into 1⁄2 to 3⁄4-inch slices – every bowl should have a piece of bread. Spread the mixture on top of the bread and grill under medium heat until the cheese is melting and bubbling. Place a piece of baguette into each bowl so the soup soaks into it, and sprinkle with the parsley to garnish.
A version of this article first appeared in FEMALE‘s June 2021 Fashion Activity Book
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