There’s a new private dining restaurant in town and it’s squirrelled away in an upcoming hipster enclave. Located along a row of heritage shophouses in Jalan Besar, Subrosa makes strange bedfellows with its neighbours consisting mostly of spas, night clubs and auto repair shops.
When walking pass the restaurant, you will likely miss it due to the non-descript shopfront. The restaurant occupies two floors of a refurbished shophouse and offers a farm-to-table private dining experience. Ingredients are locally sourced and sent straight from the source to Subrosa’s kitchen within 48 hours. Yes, there are urban farms and fishing ports in Singapore to procure farm-to-table produce. You just need to know where to look like the culinary team at Subrosa.
The kitchen is helm by Executive Chef Steven Snowdon and Consulting Chef Francis Lee who have collectively served the royal family in Britain and many of the local celebrities at Mediacorp with a combined total culinary experience of over 40 years. Together, they seek to bring you the best from the East and the West in gastronomy.
Executive Chef Steven Snowdon
Chef Steven first started his culinary career at the tender age of 16 as a baker boy but very quickly worked his way up to cooking in Michelin starred restaurants, 5-star hotels in London, and even cooked for the British Royal Family several times. Chef Steven now brings his experience to Subrosa, where he lets the food tell the story.
Consulting Chef Francis Lee
Chef Francis first started out as a private chef for one of Singapore’s leading comedians and cooked his way to fame for exclusive gatherings. Since then, Chef Francis has been a private chef for many celebrities and some of the most elusive individuals. His speciality lies in infusing local flavours into our dishes and procuring some of the freshest ingredients you can find in Singapore.
Under the expert hands of Chef Steven and Chef Francis, the restaurant offers an ever-evolving five- and seven-course experience set based on the season’s freshest produce, tailored to the dietary requirements of their diners.
I was invited for a dinner tasting at Subrosa and here are the items we tried, prepared by the two private chefs:
What’s fun about dining at Subrosa is the intimate interaction with the chefs themselves. Chef Steven and Chef Francis would pop by the table to execute the final plating for their creations and also to share details on the ingredients used as well as some informational nuggets on the inspirations for the respective dishes.
Beside pampering your palate with amazing flavours, you get to embark on a thoughtful culinary education journey on the many possibilities for sustainable food sources and farm-to-table creations, even for a urban city like Singapore.
Among the dishes I sampled for the night, all the dishes were Chef Steven’s creations with the exception of Remember Mee which is one of Chef Francis’ signature dishes.
The standout dishes for the night were Chef Steven’s scallop and shrimp starters and Chef Francis’ fine dining interpretation of local hawker favourite, the humble fried hokkien prawn noodle. For the latter, the thick and flavourful broth was the key wow factor. For Chef Steven’s dishes, I like the way he uses natural colours and the artful mix of different flavours like what he did with the two starters. Not only are the dishes pretty to look at, they present a harmony of flavours at the same time.
With prices starting from S$108 per person for the five-course menu option, it is pretty reasonable for a private dining setting with personalised service and close interaction with the chefs themselves.
Concept and Space
Subrosa’s name comes from the Latin word sub rosa, which means ‘under the rose’ and indicates confidentiality in English. It originates from the ancient practice of having roses above dining tables and meeting chambers, symbolising that the participants were sworn to secrecy. Hence, what happens in Subrosa, stays in Subrosa.
Subrosa occupies the first and second floor of a heritage shophouse unit. The dining room on the ground level is where their five- seven-course dining experience is served. It is also available for booking for coporate events or other private dining functions.
The second floor is designed for more intimate gatherings in a private area and can seat up to 20 guests with a personalised menu and service. A minimum spend of S$1000 is required and the venue offers a lounge room with plush sofa seating.
Day to Night Dining
Prices start from S$108++ for the five course menu, and S$148++ for the seven course menu.
The restaurant takes pride in making all of their dishes from scratch, which includes in-house fermentation using raw ingredients.
Guests who book the second floor have the option to stick to the seasonal menu, or request for something specially created for their occasion.
Subrosa Private Dining
Address: 369 Jalan Besar, Singapore 208997
Tel: (65) 6610 0555
Opening Hours: 11.00 am to 12.00 am