Peck Seah Street supper club The Ottomani is back with a whole new four-course set dinner that showcases a collection of dishes cooked in its kitchen’s earth oven.
Of course, it’s not a traditional pit-hearth that The Ottomani dug down under its premises. The tandir is replicated with a wood-fired earth pit oven, and the appliance is used to transform traditional cuisine into modern Middle Eastern dishes inspired by various parts of Head Chef Beau Churchill’s life.
The set — priced at $108 per person with an optional wine pairing at an additional $68 — is split into four sections: Bites, Starters, Mains, and Dessert. Bites are basically snacks, and patrons get to choose from offerings such as the Tomalas Bay (Kelly Oysters with chili oil pearls, preserved lemon, and apple) and Pea Version 9, a falafel kebab of sorts with foraged mushroom and truffle. The former is inspired by Churchill’s memories of eating oysters in an apple orchard; the latter galvanized from his time living on a farm.
Churchill’s Northern California roots get a shout out with Rock Hill, in the starters section. Consisting of grilled black figs, cashew labneh, and fresh pomegranate, the dish was inspired by, according to the chef, the time that Churchill accidentally hit his neighbor’s prized fig tree with his car near a ranch in Northern California, and later helped to nurse it back to health.
The standout dish from this set, however, has to be Crust to Crust — a phrase used by Churchill’s grandmother in her culinary advice about how to spread butter on toast. A hockey puck-like serving of toasted brioche is topped with a rich mousse of foie gras, small gelatin beads of orange, Semut flowers, and crushed roasted pistachio. A sinful mouthful, but a very classy one at that.
The mains are where the pit roast comes into play — lavishly meaty cuts slow-roasted overnight and big enough to share as communal plates. All mains are served with large portions of four side dishes, including charred corn with couscous, baby potatoes with pickled sumac onion and Turkish spices, local squash with smoked labneh, and heirloom tomatoes with saffron dressing and a Turkish cheese called Beyaz Peynir.
A Kurobuta pork collar is the hero of a dish called Ash, and the chunk of protein is fused with Turkish coffee, Sichuan pepper, and zhug (Yemeni hot sauce). Another dish, In Marshall, is a tender slow-roasted lamb shoulder accompanied by spiced molasses, charred shallots, parsley, and sumac gremolata. The huge portions of meat — and again, accompanied by the side dishes — are enough to lead anyone spiraling into a food coma.
Dessert, thankfully, is of the refreshing variety — should you order The Accident, that is. It’s aptly named by the chef, after an error made while making the traditional Turkish dessert Avya Tatlisi, and features a slightly spiced-up quince sorbet with a mint meringue — a nice zesty wake-me-up from meat-fuelled stupor.
The Ottomani is at #01-01A, 48 Peck Seah Street
9231-9316. Open Mon-Sat 6pm-12am, closed Sundays
MRT: Tanjong Pagar