So so so very sorry for the radio silence. I've just moved to my new place, and unpacking was a nightmare! To exacerbate matters, moving week coincided with a major work deadline so I was completely snowed under. The upside is, we're (mostly) unpacked, and I'm just now settling back into the rhythm of normal life.
A week after we moved in, we had our housewarming, the first of 2, so I don't have to give a million housetours at one go, and it gave me a chance to order from Chilli Api Catering, where I'd partaken in their invited tasting sometime ago.
Chilli Api Catering is the halal catering arm of Chilli Padi Nonya Restaurant. I regularly order food delivery from their branch in Joo Chiat, and a few of my foodie friends, who've previously catered food from them, have raved about them. A huge bonus is that their prices are really very reasonable. In fact, most would agree that they are one of the cheapest caterers around. You can bet I'm definitely ordering again from them.
Because Chilli Api Catering is halal certified, the mainstay pork dishes found on their Chilli Padi Restaurant menu are naturally not available. Sob, I love their babi pongteh! BUT, because it's halal, event catering, especially in our
multi religion society, is headache-free, as the peculiar dietary
restrictions of our multi-racial guests are well accommodated for.
At the tasting, we had the Chicken Ngoh Hiang, meaty and, despite being "boringly" stuffed with chicken mince and little else, it was moist, textured and had good flavour.
The Itek Sio was superb, fresh duck was braised till meltingly tender in a mellow tamarind and coriander seed sauce.
The Ayam Panggang, the nonya version of North Indian chicken tikka, was succulent, juicy and grilled to a smoky perfection
The tamarind-tinged curry in the Curry Assam Pedas was eye-wateringly spicy and tangy, yet managed to complement, rather than overwhelm the fresh fish.
The Fish Fillet with Spicy Lychee Sauce, a fruity pescarian twist of the more familiar sweet and sour pork, was laden with fruity lychees, a nice tropical touch, I thought.
While the Otak was a bit on the skinny side, it was fresh and manageably spicy.
The Ayam Buah Keluak was very well received by the Peranakans amongst us invited tastees. The blackened gravy was rich, with the distinctive sour tinge of the keluak nut blended well into it.
The Beef Rendang was fork-tender, with a rich and creamy gravy that was good to the last drop.
The Kampong Fried Mee Siam, is a must-try here. Well-fried, not dry one bit as most mee siams tend to get, and coated with a piquant tamarind-centric rempah.
For my housewarming, I ordered the Corporate Delight Menu B ($15++ per head for a minimum of 30 pax), and our guests enjoyed the following 9 course buffet dinner:
The Signature Nonya Mee Siam was very well-received, even by the carb-averse.
The Pineapple Fried Rice, albeit a tad boring compared to the mee siam, was still pretty decent.
The Sambal Prawns, deshelled for convenience (this is a special request, because don't you just hate having to peel the damn prawns at a party??), are a must-order. This dish was wiped out the earliest, because the prawns were delightfully fresh and sweet.
The Homemade Chicken Ngoh Hiang, managed to stay moist throughout the night. No mean feat.
The Ayam Pongteh was really good as well, this had more tamarind than tau cheo so it didn't quite have that distinctively sweet overtones, but my guests loved it nonetheless. I loved the shitake mushrooms in this.
We liked that the fish in the Curry Assam Ikan was fileted so it was real convenient to eat with plastic forks and spoons, and the tangy gravy married the fried mee siam beautifully.
The Broccoli with Assorted Mushroom wasn't particularly inspired, but the greens were crunchy and the fungi plentiful.
The bangkwang-based filling for the Kueh Pie Tee, another wiped out dish, was superb, especially when loaded with that kick ass sambal and sweet sauce.
We also had a refreshingly sweet Cheng Tng for dessert, and sipped on a sharply sour Lime Juice which was great for cutting through all that feasting, but err, I was too busy with housetours that I forgot. Oops!
Chilli Api Catering