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For two nights only, Sri Lankan cuisine meets Singapore heritage food

Chefs Damian D’Silva and Rishi Naleendra kick off the first in a series of collaborations at Kin called The Heritage Table.

For two nights only, Sri Lankan cuisine meets Singapore heritage food

Chefs Damian D'Silva and Rishi Naleendra clicked from the start. (Photo: Kin/Kotuwa)

Perhaps it is a collective need to connect with one another or imbue our lives with a sense of exploration and discovery, but one of the upsides of COVID-19 invading our lives has been the collaborations between chefs across the island. The latest of these is one of the most exciting yet: A four-hands dinner happening on Oct 22 and Oct 23 between Eurasian-Peranakan chef Damian D’Silva and Sri Lanka-born Australian chef Rishi Naleendra.

D’Silva, who is widely regarded as the keeper of Singapore’s heritage recipes, heads Kin at private club Straits Clan. Naleendra heads modern-European fine diner Cloudstreet and the highly anticipated Sri Lankan restaurant Kotuwa, which is set to open early next year.

The dinner is the first in a series of collaborations that D’Silva is planning called The Heritage Table and it explores Naleendra’s Sri Lankan heritage and cuisine which centres around togetherness and community.

“The Heritage Table is an opportunity for us to explore cultural foods beyond what we do at Kin, especially ones that are lesser-known or underrepresented,” said D’Silva. “I am always interested in exploring more overlooked and under-appreciated cuisines. I believe there’s plenty we can bring to the table to share with our wider community.”

“The Heritage Table is an opportunity for us to explore cultural foods beyond what we do at Kin, especially ones that are lesser-known or underrepresented.” – Damian D’Silva

FORGING BONDS THROUGH FOOD

The only requisite for these collaborations is good chemistry and connection between D’Silva and the partnering chefs. “If I can’t connect with the other chef, then how can we create synergy in our food, right?” he added.

To that end, the connection between Naleendra and him was so immediate that everything clicked at the very first tasting menu. “We didn’t even need to do a second tasting or work on any other dishes. Everything just went so well together,” D’Silva said with satisfaction.

On the menu are dishes like Sri Lankan crab curry, lychee achcahru, jackfruit curry, and dried prawn peratal. (Photo: Kin/Kotuwa)

On the menu are dishes like Naleendra’s Sri Lankan crab curry, lychee achcahru (a spicy pickle), dallo baduma (fried battered calamari tossed in tongue-tingling chilli butter), and jackfruit curry. To that, D’Silva will add dry-fried moringa leaves, fish biryani, tomato and date chutney, a pennywort salad, and dried prawn peratal, which he describes as a take on the classic Eurasian prawn bostador.   

Working on this menu hasn’t meant doing separate work in their respective kitchens or one kitchen leading the charge. Rather, D’Silva has designed the process so that it involves staff from both kitchens working together. “The reason for that is when we share exchanges and ideas, then we come out richer for the experience. I want my team to be exposed to other cuisines and to learn about the challenges that other kitchens may face.”

The collateral reward is the splendid food that diners get to enjoy, even if just across two fleeting nights.

The Heritage Table featuring Kotuwa will be held at Kin on Oct 22 and Oct 23

READ> Does Singapore need another Japanese restaurant? Ginza Shinto makes a strong case

Source: CNA/ds

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