There may be no lack of novelty and finesse in our local dining scene, but diners are always on the hunt for more.
Perhaps that’s why nascent private dining pop-up Once Upon A Secret Supper (which runs themed dinners in Singapore every other month or so) is a much-welcomed addition. Ran by a team comprising mostly expats, the underground supper club offers a thoroughly refreshing dinner affair, bonding strangers through the best way known to humankind—food.
If you’ve ever been to events hosted by immersive theatre dining troupe Andsoforth, Once Upon A Secret Supper presents a similar concept. To be in the know about the secret supper sessions, join a mailing list, which the supper club uses to provide updates of upcoming dinners. Simply confirm your attendance with a ticket purchase; it’s based on a first-come-first-served basis, so be on the lookout for their emails.
Here’s where the fun begins. With a curated theme in mind, the supper club crew strings together a banquet feast. Each dinner offers a whole new theme and venue, delivering all-new dishes alongside cool new activities each time. Only the flow of the evening generally remains the same. Rest assured that Once Upon A Secret Supper will put in the work and pull out all the stops for you. All you gotta do is show up.
Once Upon A Secret Supper – Stories of Christmas: Past, Present and Future
On a balmy evening leading up to Christmas, Once Upon A Secret Supper hosted its third-ever dining pop-up in Singapore at a modish terrace home along Sembawang Hills to ring in the festive season. The secret location was revealed through a Whatsapp text to all attendees the night before the highly-anticipated affair.
Upon arrival, guests were greeted with appetizing Christmas canapes and drinks, before an eggnog making workshop ensued, allowing guests to try their hand at making the classic, creamy festive beverage from scratch. It acted as a nice ice breaker too, allowing guests and hosts to mingle and settle in.
Christmas in Japan – Popcorn chicken with house sweet and sour sauce: Inspired by Japanese Christmas tradition of consuming KFC for Christmas.
Following the workshop, the Christmas feasting began. An overwhelming array of traditional and modern, internationally-inspired festive eats were served, including the main highlight: a Roman crispy suckling pig marinated with fennel seeds, rosemary, sage, and stuffed with apples, chestnuts, fennel bulb and bread.
But trust us when we say that even the phenomenal dinner took a backseat when it came to the heartwarming and well-planned activities. Prior to the day, Once Upon a Secret Supper had sent out an email requesting all participants to share a Christmas memory, which would somehow surface over the course of the dinner party. And so during the banquet, all were invited to read out a note placed in front of them, which contained the story provided by another guest. We were then asked to guess whose story it is, resulting in further hilarity and amusement.
The surprises didn’t end there. We were also treated to a musical performance we didn’t know will be happening. A band belted out merry tunes as we brought the night to a close, letting everyone leave on a melodious note.
While this third edition was festive, Once Upon A Secret Supper’s first dinner in Singapore saw a vastly different theme. Called It’s a Jungle Out There, it took inspiration from Singapore’s vast transformation from an actual jungle to a concrete one. Using ingredients and flavours of Southeast Asia, the supper club put together a delectable menu that included items like a prawn, pineapple and fresh coconut Malaysian curry, as well as a spiced barramundi grilled in banana leaf served with coconut and apple torched ginger slaw.
If you wanna know what they’ll come up with next, we’ve dug up what little information they can share about it.
For their next theme, Once Upon A Secret Supper has their heart set on creating something along the lines of “eating to save the planet a bite at a time”. The team seeks to collaborate with local urban farmers, organic farms, local fisheries and even Singaporean breweries and distilleries to create a delicious, surprising, yet educational menu. That means no red meat, but none of the boring, vegan crap either.
Expect indigenous ingredients: local fish, eggs, prawns, urban farmed vegetables, local goat milk made into cheese, and a fusion of modern and traditional flavours (something they’ve proven they know). We’re already excited to see how it all plays out; perhaps the club might tap into the urban gardening community and serve dishes made with ingredients grown from the balcony of HDBs.
This bunch of food enthusiasts behind Once Upon A Secret Supper has pretty much gotten everything worked out to a tee, from the logistics to the cooking. After all, they’ve already earned their chops setting up secret dinners in other countries like Hong Kong and Melbourne. Here, the aim is to assimilate and introduce foodies to a secret dinner culture akin to those held in Europe.
You’ll find that Once Upon A Secret Supper is vested in building a community through a love of food and good wholesome fun. Get to meet people from all walks of life—from an urban gardener in the business of supplying homegrown greens, to friendly barmen and of course, fervent foodies.
The price of a seat varies, although a good indication would be somewhere between $150-$200. That includes free-flow beverages, canapes, and wine pairings; so don’t be alarmed by the hefty price tag, it’s actually a bargain knowing that there’re both dinner and drinks, plus spiffing entertainment.
We’ve already spilled far too much of the supper club’s secret; and now that we’ve dined with strangers and liked it, we encourage you to do the same.