S’pore restos coming to Manila for limited engagements 2
Helm's Chef Josh Boutwood in action.
Food & Drink

These Manila dinners are aimed at seducing Pinoys to arrange their next Singapore food adventure

A series of dinners that puts together Singapore and Manila’s best chefs started with a collab between Josh Boutwood and Malaysia’s Kevin Wong
ANCX Staff | Apr 19 2023

The Singapore Tourism Board Sunday night kicked off a series of special dinners in Manila featuring collaborations between top Filipino and Singaporean chefs. The first is a four hands dinner hosted by Helm by Josh Boutwood in its new address, The Shops at Ayala Triangle, Makati. For one night, Boutwood created extraordinary dishes alongside Malaysian chef Kevin Wong of the restaurant Seroja in Singapore. 

Chef Kevin and Chef Josh
Malaysian chef Kevin Wong of the restaurant Seroja in Singapore and Helm's Chef Josh Boutwood. 

A dinner for paying guests preceded the launch event attended by media and some of the country’s esteemed chefs including Jordy Navarra and Stephen Duhesme whose restaurants Toyo Eatery and Metiz respectively just landed in the latest Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Boutwood showcased select dishes from his inaugural Helm Makati menu including his delightful seabass covered in a blanket of creamy coconut film; his version of fish and chips, a taro ball-looking treat that’s light and crunchy on the exterior with Spanish mackerel waiting inside; and his rich, umami-filled Egg, Barley, Kale. 

Singapore Tourism Board
The highlight of the evening: a collab between Wong and Boutwood that involved dry aged short ribs, adobong baka sinangag, and daikon topped with tendon chicharon.

For his part, Kevin Wong served a taste of his endless fascination for the place and culture he grew up in, which is Port Klang in Malaysia, using ingredients native to the region, easily distinguishing his dishes from the mostly Western flavors of Boutwood’s offerings. He began with a quietly elegant Prawn Sambal Tartlet with Leek Floss, before moving onto a soupy chawanmushi with a mussel broth and hint of lemongrass, and his very satisfying Bluefin Tuna, Tamarind and Caviar. 

Prawn Sambal Tartlet with Leek Floss from Chef Kevin Wong.
Prawn Sambal Tartlet with Leek Floss from Chef Kevin Wong.

Wong has trained and worked in Michelin-starred kitchens in San Francisco, France, and Singapore. He was just recently recognized as among the world’s best chefs. His restaurant Seroja is located at Duo Galleria in the very artsy and culture-rich Bugis area of Singapore.

bluefin tuna, tamarind, caviar
Bluefin Tuna, Tamarind, and Caviar by Chef Kevin Wong

The highlight of the 10-course meal is a multi-vessel dish from the two chefs which they called Beef Percik, Lauk Pauk. A main plate featured beef short ribs, a Fiddlehead salad (fiddlehead, said Wong, is a jungle herb he brought in from Malaysia), sambal and a thick brown sauce they used to cook the dry aged beef with. This group was accompanied by three side dishes that included a soft daikon topped with tendon chicharon, an adobong baka rice, and puréed sweet potato topped with sorghum “popcorn.”

razor clams, petai croustade
Razor Clams, Petai Croustade by Chef Kevin Wong.

The whole thing is yet another proof Filipino and Malaysian flavors and ingredients really work well with each other quite fabulously—intriguing, familiar, always pleasurable. 

Next in line for this series of chef collaborations organized by the Asian Culinary Exchange, which is run by book author and food industry mover Angelo Comsti, will feature the Michelin-starred NAE:UM which celebrates contemporary Seoul food (June); the tiny pizzeria Small’s (a space that can only seat 4) which does a pizza omakase (also in June); and the famed Labyrinth which is all about Singaporean flavors anchored on tradition and the personal growing up memories of its chef LG Han (scheduled for September). 

All Chefs at the Four Hands Dinner
Wong and Boutwood with some of Manila’s top chefs on a Sunday night out, among them Chele Gonzales, Jordy Navarra, Miko Calo, Stephen Duhesme, Nikko Santos and Charles Montañez.

Another event to look forward to, this time in August, is a two-weekend takeover of select Poblacion bars by Singapore’s cocktail bars—Employees Only, The Elephant Room, Tippling Club, Republic, Sago House, among them. These are all in line with Singapore Tourism Board’s aim to promote their country as the culinary and beverage hub of Asia, and to attract more tourists to Singapore. In 2022, more than 380,000 Filipinos traveled to the Lion City. 

To get updated, check out: https://www.Facebook.com/visitSingaporePH