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Taste Nature’s Finest Flavours At The Summerhouse Dining Room

A culinary paradise where summer never ends, featuring collective-farmed cuisine

Photos: The Summerhouse

The concept of a summerhouse is a lovely, albeit foreign one to us Singaporeans.

Traditionally designed to provide cool shady places of relaxation or retreat from the summer heat in countries like Scandinavia, these cosy hideaways also serve as holiday homes.

Taking this idea to our tropics is The Summerhouse, a new multi-concept F&B and lifestyle destination, also formerly home to the Royal Air Force’s Tech Wing Commander.

Cloistered in The Oval @ SAP, an 11-hectare cluster of gazetted conservation bungalows in the aerospace park surrounding the former Seletar Airbase, it is a culinary paradise where summer never ends.

For Florian Ridder, Chef de Cuisine of The Summerhouse Dining Room, the garden is his playground.

Multi-concept dining

On the ground floor, you’ll find Wildseed Cafe, a patisserie and bar along with a lush flower bar helmed by Poppy Flora.

Behind the bungalow, an expansive edible garden beckons visitors with its lush greenery and a photogenic gazebo.

For Florian Ridder, Chef de Cuisine of The Summerhouse Dining Room, the garden is his playground.

Subscribing to the principles of permaculture, which he describes as the setting up of a “self-sustaining system that needs as little interaction as possible”, Chef Florian crafts dishes out of the season’s best farm produce, garnished with the garden’s harvests.

The magic happens on the second level, a homely space where The Summerhouse Dining Room and Balcony Bar resides.

If we had our way, we’d have the Buckwheat Porridge for breakfast every day

Best of local produce

To save the trouble of deciding what to order, go for the six-course Collective Farming menu ($90).

Local produce takes the limelight with dishes like Kelong Rojak and Grouper.

Kelong Rojak is a dish of grilled fresh kelong prawns topped with burnt lemon powder and grated pistachio.

Rojak flower and Thai basil sauce are served on the side for extra zest, heightening the natural sweetness of the prawn.

Similarly, the Grouper hails from a local kelong and is simply pan-fried with breadcrumbs and belachan.

Its clean flavours make the perfect vessel for the accompanying carrot pesto, orange blossom hollandaise, nasturtium and belachan prawn reduction.

The Uni Pasta offers an explosion of umami flavours.

Textures and flavours

Vying for favourites are the Beetroot, Buckwheat Porridge and Uni Pasta.

Beetroot is a whole juicy beetroot, pickled with raspberries to counter its earthy taste, and served with Hibiscus leaves.

Slice it open and you’ll find a crunchy mix of barley, black sesame, ricotta and fried onions — a wonderful play on textures.

Exceeding our expectations, the humble-looking Buckwheat Porridge is a comforting and flavourful treat topped with bacon bits, parmesan crisp, chinese spinach, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, tomato and flowers from the edible garden.

If we had our way, we’d have this for breakfast every day!

The Uni Pasta, on the other hand, offers an explosion of umami flavours with every mouthful of uni-soy sauce ice cream, Ikura, toasted nori and deep fried vermicelli.

To round off your meal, treat yourself to the Sourdough, an unusual dessert that taps on the slightly salty taste of sourdough bread.

Sour dough ice cream is combined with milk foam, wild honey, cassis, plum and buckwheat puff for a sweet ending that will leave you in seventh heaven.

The Summerhouse, 3 Park Lane

A Chinese version of the article appeared here.