The idea of private dining where home cooks open their dining rooms to the public is by no means new. Yet in recent months, it has evolved from merely casual dining sessions to serious gastronomic affairs that showcase heritage and dabble in innovation.

Like restaurants, such kitchens see guests from all walks of life albeit in a very limited capacity of 10 to 20 diners depending on the number of dining tables at home. The result? Waiting lists that go from three to six months.

That list is expected to get even longer as Singaporeans are becoming less skeptical about dining in the home of a near-stranger. More casual cooks are jumping on board, and diners are more willing than ever to give the experience a try.

Considering the huge commitment and costs in setting up a restaurant, the business model has proven attractive for aspiring chefs or hobbyists to test the waters and earn a bit of cash on the side.

Even chefs who have cut their teeth in professional kitchens are going the casual, home route. After opening and closing three restaurants, most recently Revolution Coffee, chef Shen Tan has now gone on to preparing mod-Sin cuisine in the confines of her Queenstown flat. For her, opening her home-based concept, Ownself Make Chef, gave her creative freedom. “Doing private dining allows me to work creatively in food on a scale which I am comfortable with, and I can change menus regularly too,” Tan shares.

If it’s your first time dining in a private home, here are some things you’ll want to keep in mind: All chefs are different, and you can expect different vibes and service styles — just like at a restaurant. But this is still their home, and some are happy to chat or leave you some privacy at the table.

Getting hungry? We take a look at the best private home dining experiences in Singapore generating buzz today.

The Mustard Seed Pop Up

The Mustard Seed is led by chef Gan Ming Kiat who has cooked at one Michelin-starred Candlenut and kaiseki restaurant Goto. The menu is Japanese-inspired but loaded with Singaporean influences. At $85 per person, diners will enjoy eight to nine courses. There’s only one dining table here which sits up to eight people and all guests are required to sit together. If you’re not the socialising type, be ready to gather a group of friends with you. The experience is available on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays only.
More info here

Dearborn Supper Club

 

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American-born chef Christopher Kong has a remarkable string of experiences: from cooking at Guy Savoy and Waku Ghin in Singapore to the one Michelin-starred The Nomad in New York. Now based here, he and his Singaporean wife manage Dearborn Supper Club from their home in the east. Here, Kong offers a fine-casual experience with modern American cuisine. Dinners are available every Friday and Saturday with a six-course menu going at $138 per person.

More info here
Ownself Make Chef

Chef Shen Tan continues her mod-Sin cooking at her home in Queenstown. Every Saturday, Tan does themed dinners that are as cheekily named as her private dining concept. The aPORKalypse dinner, for example, sees six courses of only pork dishes while Rice to the Occasion features a 10-course carb-heavy menu. Unlike most private kitchens, Ownself Make Chef does both lunch and dinner. Prices start from $99 per diner, with a minimum of eight guests and a maximum of 12.

More info here

Tinoq Private Dining

 

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Tinoq Goh lives a double life: he’s makeup artist to the stars by day, and an adept Peranakan cook by night. Dinners are hosted at his Tiong Bahru flat, and sits a maximum of 10. Menus go for $100 to $120 per person and are hearty portions perfect for sharing. Goh and his partner, Dylan, also maintains a garden nearby where he grows herbs, lime, bananas and flowers which he uses in his cooking. Expect classic dishes like bakwan kepiting, homemade char siew and sweet potato leaves cooked with hae bee hiam.

More info here
Lucky House Private Kitchen


You’ll really need a stroke of good luck to get a table at this private Cantonese kitchen. Lucky House has one of the biggest spaces in the private dining scene but also has a notoriously long waiting list. Sam Wong’s landed home has two rooms, one for 10 people and the other for 16. Wong cooks out of his backyard kitchen which is stocked with grills, ovens and pots and also has a garden for fresh vegetables. For $80 per head, each party will enjoy seven to eight course sharing menu.

More info here

Fatfuku

Bak kwa palmiers
Annette Tan

Local food writer Annette Tan presents her family’s Peranakan recipes through her private dining kitchen Fatfuku. Expect items like Wagyu beef rendang, pork belly buah keluak biryani and nasi kuning. While guests are welcome to bring their own drinks, a wine pairing can also be arranged with the menu for a fee. The kitchen operates from Tuesday to Friday, and on two Sunday afternoons per month.
More info here

The Mixtape Chef

 

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Behind The Mixtape Chef is husband-and-wife duo Kenneth Yong and Laureen Goh serving a menu inspired by global cuisines. Menus are customised based on diners’ food preferences and are typically served as four courses. Wines and other spirits are also available for purchase here. While their Sengkang home can accommodate up to 12, there’s also a more intimate and private experience for two available by the kitchen table.

More info here

Jasmine Tay
Senior Writer
Jasmine Tay is the dining, culture and jewellery writer. She makes fine silver jewellery and causes mini-explosions in the kitchen when she can't afford fancy dinners. Sometimes she tells people what she thinks about art, and binges on the music of Danzig when they don’t agree.