It is hard to envision how something as basic as cashew hummus could possibly excite much emotion in anyone, but it truly does. This is the cashew hummus that could launch a thousand ships.
Or maybe a few thousand ships for that matter.
This dish is part of the a new sustainable menu that Fat Prince has just launched, showcasing seasonal and ingredient-driven morsels that are not only fresh and vibrant but also big on flavour. All the vegetables and herbs come from two independent farms, Quan Fa Farm in Singapore and the other in Cameron Highlands. Advanced farming techniques synchronise with the natural ecosystem, producing quality food crop that is both undisputedly nutritious and healthy.
Like excited school children embarking on a field trip, we eagerly head down to the farm for a behind the scenes look at the source of these premium ingredients.
Slightly off the main road, tucked surreptitiously away in a corner of Lim Chu Kang and hidden away from plain view is the Quan Fa Farm.
The area is surrounded by a fence of thick foliage and lush greenery. It is slightly reminiscent of a quaint little kampong somewhere in Malaysia. Borneo, maybe. For a quick moment, it is easy to forget that we are still in Singapore. A thin layer of mist hangs delicately in the air like silver cobwebs, creating a hazy, romantic atmosphere. The sun slides shyly behind the grey clouds, relinquishing its fiery grip on the earth.
As we trudge down the rocky path towards the farm, a delicious smell wafts our way, tickling our noses. It is the beguiling fragrance of grilled chicken, its invigorating scent permeating the air making our stomachs rumble eagerly. Memories of yesteryear school field trips float into my mind. There is a sense of nostalgia, and the feeling is a comforting one.
At Quan Fa Farm, only ecological agrarian methods of farming, abstaining from the use of pesticides and harmful fertilizers are used, to produce the freshest food crop that is both nutritious and healthy.
The Quan Fa Compost System in their farming methods have proven to be a reliable source of healthy and delicious food, minus all the nasty synthetic and chemical fertilizers. This system originated from a Japanese technique using a unique culturing medium to eliminate obnoxious odours of raw materials (mixture of decayed vegetations). This medium subsequently produces a nutrient-rich organic debris; which deters the rate of damage caused by disease infection and insect infestation.
As modern consumers ask more and more questions about a restaurants’ sustainability credentials, there is a push to create menus that fit this demand. Huge strides have been made in the last couple of years in reducing the industry’s carbon footprint and many people are already exploring what truly constitutes a sustainable dish as well as how to promote their increasingly planet-friendly menus. Gourmet kebabery, Fat Prince has jumped onboard the sustainability bandwagon and rolled out a new menu focusing on wholesome, sustainable eats.
For this new menu, Head Chef Beau Churchill channels the best, most local produce from the farm and combines them with the intense wood-fired flavours of the Middle East. From bread to toum and garnishes, dishes are made from scratch in-house using the freshest produce. Ingredients are sourced from the Quan Fa Farm. A range of pickings include coriander leaf, lettuce, spring onion, pea sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, dill, mulberries, mint and the ubiquitous bok choy.
Chef Beau explains, “We use local, sustainable ingredients because as a Chef, and a human, it is our duty to think and act responsibly and to help produce a better future. As a Chef, I have the ability to help create the demand to better our planet by utilising and educating on the use of local, organic and sustainable ingredients. For that, I am lucky. Local is always better.”
The menu is divided into three distinctive categories; Mezze & Salads, Kebabs and Desserts. Kick start your meal with the decidedly regal Pumpkin Seed Acuka that packs a huge punch and holds your attention the way royalty would. Comprising of smoked peppers and dried Turkish chili pepper – isot biber – this bold dip is served alongside warm, soft, pillowy pita bread.
Of course, not forgetting the Cashew Hummus.
Ah, the cashew hummus that launched a thousand ships.
Comprising of roasted cashew gremolata, this lovely dish makes for a rich, creamy, comforting start to your meal. It is insanely addictive. Attempt to maintain some semblance of civility and manners as you try (unsuccessfully) to withhold the desire to stuff yourself silly with the hummus (or lick the plate clean). You have been warned.
Apart from its signature kebabs, the Istanbul inspired café has also initiated some bold new items to the menu that are sure to tantalise your taste buds. An undoubted star is the Shish Tawook Chicken Kebab. A take on a classic Lebanese dish, the smoky meat is served with charred capsicum, coriander and toum for a fresh, herby finish.
The vegetarian version is just as appealing. The Grilled Halloumi Cheese Kebab incorporates grilled salty cheese smothered in peppered jam, spiced nuts and pomegranate molasses for a sublime balance of bold flavours. Be sure to sample the Chickpea Fried Seabass Kebab which is fried to a lovely crisp while the flesh remains delicately flaky. Fresh and bursting with natural sweetness, this kebab is wrapped up with cured lemon mayo, chili and shaved cabbage for extra crunch.
For a lighter option, the Avocado & Kale Tabbouleh, which showcases Fat Prince’s dedication to sourcing locally gets our vote. Inspired by the traditional tabbouleh salad, this refreshing salad comprises of bulgur wheat, herbs and a zesty cured lemon vinaigrette.
It’s a kind of magic, how good the food tastes.
Fat Prince has brought this enchantment from the farm, right to the heart of the city, in the form of these small plates of goodness.
One thing for sure is, I won’t be counting sheep/ships to sleep tonight, but plates of cashew hummus instead.