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Serene's Supper Club x Chef Toshio Tanahashi

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I had my eyes set on Serene's for a supper club session but with the restriction of her minimum 8 pax per meal, I had trouble filling those seats so I hopped onto the bandwagon when she offered us seats with a guest chef, Chef Toshio Tanahashi. Also known as a vegetable whisperer, he brings to table Shojin Ryori cuisine, Buddhist Vegetarian to be specific and I was really curious.

Religion aside, I love my vegetables but to take on a full course of vegetables...had to be an experience of its own


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It was a full turn out of at least 20 people that night. We were all allocated seats and given menus.

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Sesame cake flavoured with gocujang and wolfberrt topped with fig

These are from the husks of sesame seeds used to make the next dish on the menu. Without wasting anything, these husks are then made into cakes like those above. I would never have guessed these were sesame husks even with the nutty aromatic fragrance that came with it.

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Hand ground sesame tofu topped with smoked eggplant sauce and samphire

Hand ground for 2 hours, the sheer hard work that goes into making this makes me ashamed of walloping this in three mouthfuls. So smooth and mousse like, it's unfathomabale that tofu can be made without soy beans. The texture is insanely addictive and I wished someone on my table actually hated tofu just so I could have that extra portion. Turns out nobody did and there were no extras to go around either - boo!

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Mango soup with lotus root ball, bok choi, sweet corn and asparagus

The description already sounds too sweet and definitely not something I am familar with, especially in the Japanese cuisine.

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Yet it proved otherwise. Mango broth was pleasantly rich and the consistency was lovely, unlike its fibrous pulpy fruit origins. The lotus root ball definitely changed my perception of lotus root and meatballs - whilst it turned out dense as expected, there was a moment I actually would not mind this over a real meat ball.

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Brocoli, grape, winter melon, grilled tomato, plum salad with hand ground roasted sesame, miso and vinegar dressing

Sold on the dressing, it was that delicious. So delicious I had seconds and even thirds. This salad is not for the purist, more fruit than vegetable but the magic here lies in the plums that strangely tasted like mushrooms. What sorcery.

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Potato beetroot croquette, pear 'worcestershire sauce', brussel sprouts, sweet potato leaf, roasted chestnut kakiage

It is a tough fight between the croquette and kakiage for focus of the dish.

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I liked the light fritter but was won over more by the kakiage - the winning moment is when I decide I can give up the meat version for this vegetarian.

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Red miso and tomato risotto, mushroom medley and lady fingers

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More of a paella dish actually and this ended the meal really nicely.


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Blueberry and grape agar agar, peach and avocado cream

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I could have been distracted by all the intricately made Japanese sweets that when this arrived, I was somewhat disappointed. Fruit jelly no doubt and it came with a delicious avocado cream but after all the fanfare presented, this fell short of expectations somewhat.

Our first foray into Japanese vegetarian cuisine and my interest is hugely piqued.

A foodie born to eat, shop and travel. Forced to work.

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