Friday, December 10, 2010

'Twas the nigh before Christmas - Menu

Tonight, Once Upon A Table will celebrate Christmas. Here's the menu:
Spiced Pear Prosecco
Nordic cerviche crostini
Parma ham & fig
Tomato & basil crostini
Butternut & apple soup with crispy sage

Slow roasted pork loin enveloped in caraway and mustard
Calvados caramelized pears
Roast potatoes served with rosemary sour cream
Green beans
Austrian Apple Strudel with Cream or semi-freddo
•Coffee and Melomakarona - Greek honey & spice Christmas biscuits

Cost: $380 (without matched wines) , $520 (including generous glasses or matched wines)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house,
Delectable aromas were wafting to arouse
The appetites of guests invited to share
Once Upon A Table’s Christmas fare!

On the 11th of December festivities take place
So please come and join us – a smile on your face!
We’ll clink glasses at 7 ‘o Clock
Ties for the men, ladies a frock!

The venue is a secret, tightly concealed
Only the night before shall it be revealed.
Wine, food and merriment what a night it will be!
So do come and join us under the Christmas tree

As Christmas is for relaxing to reduce the fuss,
We’re asking for “Santa’s helpers” to cook with us
If you’d like to join the cooking team
Drop us a note – that would be supreme!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Our first mention in the HK press

Foodie Magazine HK has kindly mentioned Once Upon A Table!
Check it out :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Mamma Mia, Mamma Mia!

The day began with pasta making...

Mama Angie transforming dough into pasta!

Ollie the octopus thawing nicely...

Ollie the octopus now tenderised and chopped up, ready to be dressed.

Shreya preparing the aubergine...

Sofia prepping the beans ...

The "chefs" just before the guests arrive!

Campari on the terrace lit with dancing candle light.

The table is set, the magic begins...

The beautiful Song collection of dinnerware donated to us for the night by Latitude21

Guests take their seats, ready to eat!
What's on the menu?

Antipasti of tender squid dressed in lemon, olive oil, anchovy and capers served alongside marinated peppers.

Homemade limoncello, crisp and zesty, clears the palate and prepares the belly for more!

Elisa captures the attention of guests with her descriptions of the wines matched with each meal.

Alla Norma with homemade fetuccini, topped with salted ricotta and pecorino shavings.

Rich, flavourful Osso Bucco ready to be platted and sprinkled with zesty gremolata.

Delicate, homemade semifreddo topped with salted roast-nut praline & balsamic marinated strawberries.

If I imagine the quintessential Italian table I can hear the rhythmic sing-song of banter amongst friends, their laughter rising over the clink of wine-filled glasses. I can smell an array of delectable aromas that subtly shift throughout the evening every time a new dish is laid on the candlelit table. The guests become animated and cheer as each course arrives, and the mama smiles in her kitchen, satisfied at their appreciation. I can taste the fresh, intense flavours in every bite, flavours imbued with the Italian countryside – the just-torn herbs, the squeeze of sun-ripened lemons, the warmth of baked grains smothered in golden olive oil. The air is filled with a natural generosity and passion: passion for the sharing of food and good times – passion for life.

Recreating the true magic of the Italian table can be a little challenging. It often comes off as contrived, especially when you’re 8,000 miles away from the heart of Italy and you fill the table with veritable strangers. But we like challenges! So, for Once Upon A Table’s third secret supper, Mamma Mia, we sought to transport guests to an authentic Italian tavola by recreating recipes from our off-the-beaten-track adventures in Italy. Recipes for meals that once captured our imaginations and left our taste buds enticed.

In the hours before the guests arrived, the apartment we’d hijacked felt like a real mama’s kitchen. Angie – a true Italian mama (in her heart) – kneaded solidly for 3 hours and then magically transformed balls of pasta dough into incredible threads of delectable eggy-fresh fettuccine. Shreya, (in between reducing fresh tomatoes and pan-frying sliced aubergine to a juicy crispness) grated ginger and shelled pistachios to go into our homemade biscotti. Argha, meanwhile, created a zesty dressing for Ollie the octopus whom he had gently simmered to succulent tenderness for over 3 hours the night before – periodically making sure his homemade limoncello was just cold enough. And I patiently stirred the Osso Bucco, wooing the richest of flavours from its depths.

Somehow, by 7.30pm the kitchen had transformed into an Italian casa. The table was beautifully set with crisp linen and jars of fresh-cut flowers, and the terrace was alive with dancing candles ready to welcome our 15 guests.

An aperitivo of Campari with freshly-squeezed orange juice and soda kicked off the night as guests got acquainted on the terrace overlooking one of Hong Kong’s magnificent city views.

With appetites piqued we asked our guests to take their seats at the cosy table. Jesse and Julie of Latitude 21 then introduced their “Song” collection of dinnerware which guests would be dining off for the evening. The fascinating story behind the design and hand-craft of this collection is underpinned by passion and love, aptly matching our Italian theme.

And then the food came… but not without the wine, of course. Our dear friend Elisa, who is in finance by day, but ponders wines of the world by night, was our elected sommelier for the evening. Each dish was matched with a carefully selected Italian wine, and Elisa captivated guests with her descriptions and anecdotes of the grapes, as well as the flavours and aromas that they could expect.

A Prosecco di Conegliano Valdobbiadene, DOCG millesimé 2007 accompanied the Antipasto di mare: Insalata Di Polpos – a zesty antipasto of tender baby octopus & pepperoncino served with three choices of extra virgin olive oil & homemade rosemary focaccia.

For Primi, guests were whisked to Sicily for Pasta Alla Norma. Here the homemade fettucini was brought to life by a sensual tomato-eggplant sauce dolloped with salted ricotta cheese and pecorino shavings. To enhance the flavours of this dish Elisa selected a Soave Classico, 2007, Antonio Fattori DOC. This counterbalanced the strong aroma of the fried aubergines, leaving a fresh but medium-intense palate in the mouth.

From the bottom of the boot we travelled north to Milano for Secondi where the Osso Bucco was served. Shanks of veal slow-cooked to a rich intensity were lightly dressed with a fresh gremolata of parsley and lemon-zest. We encouraged our guests to eat this the traditional way, sucking out the marrow from the bones. From the kitchen we smiled as we heard the slurping goodness across the table. To match the intense flavour of this dish, Elisa selected a Lagrein, Cantine Terlano, 2008 DOC – an elegant, full-bodied wine.

Our satiated guests welcomed the Digestivo of homemade limoncello – a distinctive, lemony liquor with crisp, smooth flavours known to clear the palate and prepare the belly for the grand finale!

At last, Dolci was served – delicately sweet, homemade semifreddo flavoured with salted hazelnut and roast almond praline. Velvety smooth and surprisingly light, this divine dessert rounded off the meal beautifully.

After a few more glasses of wine and seconds of the semifreddo, coffee was served. As a final “thank you” each guest was given a little bag of homemade biscotti in two flavours – ginger and pistachio, and orange – so that they could continue their Italian adventure at home.

A few guests lingered after caffé, and it was great to mingle with them and hear some of their feedback:

“Dinner was wonderful, thank you so much for inviting me. I thought the atmosphere was so convivial, and the food was particularly unique as we were able to taste Italian home cooking. I really felt like we were transported to an Italian kitchen.”

“The wine pairings made the food very special and went excellently together. I really enjoyed meeting some great people at the dinner party.”

“Mamma Mia, the 3rd supper club so far and my first, was exceptional. The ambience, from the moment I stepped through the door till the secret surprise as I was leaving at around midnight, made up a very memorable evening. I loved the attention to detail, not only with the 6-course meal, but also with the decor. In short it was brilliant, amazing and very yum!"

“It was a fab evening and we absolutely loved it!”

“The food was incredible and I cannot stop thinking about that squid salad and antipasti... wowowowowow. Everything was outstanding. Loved the music too, and I think the group dynamic was awesome.”

So Mama Mia has bid us arrivederci, but next on the table is: ‘
Twas the Night before Christmas’ on the 11th of December!

Watch this space…

Once Upon A Table

Friday, October 8, 2010

Mama Mia! Inspired by off-the-beaten-track adventures in Italy

It’s no secret that a trip to Italy is a sensorial adventure that will delight the palate and leave your mind filled with evocative memories. Once Upon A Table’s 3rd secret supper: ‘Mama Mia' takes inspiration from our own personal travels to this sun-drenched land. We’ve reflected on our most memorable journeys selecting recipes that once captured our imaginations and left our taste buds enticed. From Isola Stromboli off Sicily to the pastel coloured villages of Cinque Terre, Liguria to the mountains of Lombardy, Milan we will recreate off-the-beaten-track recipes that will leave you as captivated as they left us.

In true Italian style we look forward reliving our experiences with you through generous sharing platters, good conversation and a carefully selected wine menu that will bring out the flavour of each dish.

Join us on Saturday 6th of November at 7.30pm where we will share a 5 course experience of the flavours, aromas and sounds of our Italy.

Cost per head: $540 – This includes a 5 course menu served with generous glasses of wine which has been carefully matched by Elisa, our Italian friend and sommelier (see below for menu).

To be invited please email Sofia at by the 12th of October with a short description of one of your favourite meals from your travels. We will select 12 guests based on the best descriptions. We will confirm the guest list on the 14th of October by 8pm.

As always the secret venue will be revealed the night before via email & text message.

Buon appetito!

Mam Mia! Menu
Campari with soda & freshly squeezed orange juice

Antipasto di mare: Insalalata Di Polpos
Antipasto of the sea: A salad of baby octopus, potatoes & peperoncino served with 3 choices of extra virgin olive oil alongside roast vegetables & homemade foccacia
Matched with: Prosecco di Valdobbiadene - Zardetto (millesimé 2009)

Pasta alla Norma fatta in casa
Homemade Pasta alla Norma (freshly made on the day)
Matched with: Soave 2007

Osso Bucco con patate e fagioli
Osso Bucco with smashed potatoes & tender green beans
Matched with: Lagrein 2007

Limoncello fatto in casa
Homemade limoncello

Semifreddo alle nocciole e mandorle
Semifreddo with salted hazelnut & almond praline

Caffè e biscotti a due gusti: pistachi e zenzero, arancia e cioccolato
Coffee with biscotti of two flavors: pistachio & ginger, orange & dark chocolate

Una sorpresa alla fine
A final surprise

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Passionately Pairing People & Flavours

10 singles, 7 courses of lovingly prepared food, 3 passionate cooks, 12 bottles of vino, and 1 long table in a secret venue.

These were the ingredients for Once Upon A Table’s second event: Passionately Paired.

“Passionately Paired” was inspired by a book my good friend Matt gave me for my birthday called the “Flavour Thesaurus” . The book cleverly works through 99 flavours grouping them into unique pairings and combinations each described in a quirky write up. It’s a great read.

The food for the evening was prepared by a trio of ladies united by their passion to cook, eat, laugh, talk and share ideas.

To add a twist to the theme we decided not to limit pairing to flavours and textures, but to include people pairing too. We therefore only invited singles to the secret supper – 5 eligible guys and 5 gorgeous gals. A bit of a chemistry experiment perhaps, but fun.

The secret dinner was held in the gorgeous home of a very dear friend who generously gave up his space for a day and night so that we could do our thing.

Upon arrival guests were welcomed with prosecco and pomegranate cocktails in the living room of the apartment. One guest told me that this was a brilliant way to “warm everyone up, and get them feeling relaxed”. To be honest, the 3 cooks needed “warming up” too –we were not sure how the pairing of people part was going to work out!

But the bubbly helped and the canapés were snapped up: Asparagus parcels wrapped in salty prosciutto, drizzled with a sweet balsamic glaze, pungent gorgonzola paired with caramelised red-onion, fig slivers and walnut crostini, watermelon dipped in honey and homemade dukkah, and dates enveloped in bacon (a twist on pigs in blankets).

After the chit chat we invited our guests to the dinner table for the first course – a cold pea soup flavoured subtly with a splash of fresh lemon and garlic served with chunky homemade croutons.

To ensure that the guys and girls all got to speak to one another we asked the gents to move to the next seat on their left after each course. They all politely agreed and did as they were told.

After the first round of musical chairs we served Shreya’s refreshing salad of rocket, caramelised beetroot and fresh goat’s cheese dressed in a tangy mustard vinaigrette.

Before the main dish tiny glasses of homemade lemon, lime and mint sorbet were served to guests giving them a moment to refresh and take a breather (in hindsight perhaps a bit too much food?!)

And then the main dish – fresh summer cherry & port sauce over duck breasts served on a bed of herbed polenta alongside braised bok-choi.

Looking across the table as everyone was tucking in was encouraging. We didn’t expect the conversation to flow so easily. People genuinely felt at home. Of course the wine helped, but more importantly the surrounding comforts - being in a real home (albeit a complete stranger’s to our guests), eating genuine, unadulterated home-made food and chatting with likeminded souls gives this type of evening an unmatched ambiance that you cannot buy in a restaurant, bar or club.

The three of us cooks eventually joined guests at the table for the final highlight of the evening: Toni’s dark cocoa torte topped with a dollop of homemade chocolate mousse, almond ice cream and raspberry coulis. This was the perfect way to round off the meal and to ensure guests were not left unsatisfied!

In the wee ours of the morning we handed guests their gifts - jars filled with Sofia's home made Dukkah. New friends left the apartment to continue the merriment…apparently they all got home at 3am.

The evening left us feeling warm, happy and rewarded. We’re looking forward to the 3rd Once Upon a Table secret supper in October – so watch this space!

Getting ready...

Drink break

The table is set.

What's dinner without fleurs!?

Guests mingling in the lounge area

Watermelon dipped in honey & home made dukkah

Iranian dates wrapped in bacon

Caramelised onion, pungent gorgonzola, delicate fig and walnut topped on home made crostini

The fresh, summer cherry and port sauce

Spicy rocket, sweet beets and goat's cheese salad

The canard served on home made herbed polenta draped in the cherry port sauce

Dinner conversation

Chocolate deliciousness

Hanging out with our guest, Elisa

Chocolate torte topped with chocolate mouse, alongside almond ice-cream & raspberry coulis

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Secretsupper #2: Passionately Paired

There’s nothing better than a perfect pairing. Like Bonnie & Clyde, warm toast and butter, sunshine and ice-cream; some things are better together.

Once Upon A Table’s second secret supper - “Passionately Paired” - invites 10 single Hong Kongers - 5 gents & 5 ladies - to indulge in a 5 course feast. Each dish couples complimentary flavours that will tickle your taste buds and unleash your inner flirt. Click here for menu.

As always, the evening will be hosted in an intimate apartment. But that’s a secret we’ll reveal the night before via sms.

Merriment will begin on Saturday the 28th of August at 19h30 .

Cost per head $450, please bring your own alcohol.

If you would like to join us, please drop an email to

Space is limited so hurry!

Passionately Paired Menu

Welcome drink
Something deliciously & sparkly

Baby asparagus enveloped in prosciutto
Homemade dukkah & honey tipped watermelon
Fig slivers with a kiss of walnut & gorgonzola
Dates wrapped in organic bacon

A little surprise

Homemade lemon, lime & peppermint sorbet

Duck breast draped in fresh, summer cherry & port sauce served with braised greens & herbed polenta

Rich chocolate torte caressed in a raspberry drizzle
Cost per head: $450, please bring your own vino
Unfortunately we cannot cater to specific dietary requirements

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sensational First Night

Last night we launched Once Upon A Table with our first event - A Tale of Two Cities...

The table setting - each placemat was a different city map

The team - looking thrilled (and relieved); Toni changing dessert in HK with her Pavlova

Making the Patatas Bravas which were served in Pani Puris - marrying Barcelona & Bombay; Calcutta salmon served on August Table crockery

Roast lamb, vine tomatoes and zesty asparagus for mains - passion food celebrating Patras & Johannesburg (the meal my parents used to make)

Hanging out with guests (Elisa); Ingrid, our guest loving chef Argha

The evening was personal, warm and so much fun. We had 15 mouths to feed in total and managed to make sure everyone left feeling happy and full.
Cherry from August Table came to talk to us about the story behind the designs of her beautiful crockery (we used Cherry's plates to serve most courses last night as the city maps tied in brilliantly with the theme). It was great to get a local artist involved - something we'd like to do more of.

The secret location was a private apartment in Sheung Wan - which lent itself to the intimate ambiance. Most people were stangers to one another but when you looked over at the table it felt like these people had known eachother for years. The vibe was great. So great that I left feeling completely energised and managed to stay out (at another party) until 5am - very unlike me!

We are already planning our next event - to be held early August. So watch this space!

Once Upon A Table

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Once Upon A Table presents: A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities captures what lies at the heart of Hong Kong
– an intense merging of people from different backgrounds, cultures, languages, countries and cities who have one thing in common: they like to eat.

Hong Kong’s first secret supper club, Once Upon A Table, will host A Tale of Two Cities
on the 5 June, 2010 at 7.30pm.
Dinner will be served at a private apartment in the heart of Sheung Wan.

Here, 4 Hong Kongers will introduce you to a feast that narrates their story of the two cities that have influenced the way they cook, share and experience food.
Click here for the menu

To be invited, please send a photograph or tell us in one sentence what "A Tale of Two Cities" means to you by replying to this email address:

The first 10 responses received will be invited. If you are successful, you will be notified immediately. Apartment address will be sent to you via text message the night before the supper so make sure you send us your mobile number too.

Cost per head: $380 / BYOB

A Tale Of Two Cities - The Menu

SHHHHHH! It's a secret

Once Upon A Table is Hong Kong’s first secret Supper Club held bi-monthly at a secret location. Our aim is to put homecooking back on the menu, served up in the homes of Hong Kongers - no matter how big or small.

Each event centers around a theme that tells a story through the menu and atmosphere.

Each course is a collaborative effort delivered by ordinary Hong Kong citizens. We are not professional chefs, but rather people who like to create, cook, dream, entertain and eat.

Bon Appetit!