Recently, we discovered the most motivational way to climb up stairs. It all started at the humble Lan Kwai House, where we followed the trail of the beautiful aroma wafting through the stairwell and ended up at Segreto Italian Private Kitchen on the 4th floor.
Grooving to jazz tunes in the background, Chef Ermanno Lelli was busy prepping for yet another Foodie collaboration with NESTLÉⓇ. Tasked to use daily products like tofu, breakfast cereal and ice cream in elevated Italian dishes, Chef Lelli seemed unfazed by the challenge as we watched him simultaneously sauté aromatics in the pan while laying out huge dishes of appetisers on the table – we couldn’t wait for service to start.
As the cosy space started filling up, Chef Lelli kick-started the dinner by explaining how he used different forms of tofu in classic Italian appetisers. Instead of the conventional buffalo mozzarella, tofu* was used to top the tomato slices in the traditional Italian caprese salad. Although not as rich without the cheese, the tofu marinated in herb-infused olive oil provided an earthy, refreshing kick. It was also a great substitute for our lactose-intolerant friends!
Melanzane a funghetto
The ‘croutons’ atop the melanzane a funghetto were big, crispy hard bean curd* cubes, whose texture complemented the perfectly sautéed aubergine with some added crunch.
Spaghetti alle vongole
The night wasn’t just about eating; it was strangely therapeutic watching how our dinner came to life with Chef Lelli in action. In an intimate seating of just 10 people, diligent guests were also asking the chef for tips and taking notes.
Just as our appetisers were cleared away, Chef Lelli lifted the lid of a boiling pan and overwhelmed the room with the fragrance of steaming hot clams. He then swiftly tossed in some spaghetti, soaked it in the clams’ savoury juices and served his spaghetti alle vongole with a dollop of refreshing lemon sauce made with yoghurt*, which provided a guilt-free, creamy texture. Oh, the sweet taste of the ocean with a zesty hint.
Trancio di salmone e spiedi di pollo e peperoni
For the mains, Chef Lelli turned up the heat with one of the greatest soundtracks in life – the sizzling hot griddle featuring juicy chicken chunks and bell pepper skewers, along with thick salmon steaks. The perfectly charred trancio di salmone e spiedi di pollo e peperoni was then paired with mint aioli, another dressing made from yoghurt*.
Dessert was the cherry on top of everything. The buttery aroma of croissants filled the kitchen as Chef Lelli sawed the crispy croissants in half, glazed the tops with hot caramel and dusted them with cereal*, which had earlier been grounded into powder using a food processor. It was like tuning into dessert porn when Chef Lelli generously scooped up chunks of tiramisu ice cream*, sandwiched it between the croissant halves, drizzled it with chocolate sauce and sprinkled more cereal bits around for that final decadent touch.
Some guests were hesitant on destroying the immaculate-looking dessert with their forks, but Chef Lelli gave the go ahead to just, ‘Use your hands and get dirty with it.’ Sinking our teeth into that ice cream sandwich had surpassed our dessert dreams: the contrast of the crispy, candy-like, warm exterior against the cold, decadent ice cream filling. Everyone ended up in a sweet mess, with sticky fingers soiled in chocolate syrup and cereal dust.
Nothing beats a cup of coffee after a thoroughly satisfying meal. In traditional Neapolitan style, Chef Lelli whipped out his Moka coffee pot and served shots of coffee with homemade hazelnut sauce to round out the meal.
Our Intimate Dinner at Segreto was perfetto in every way, with happy guests returning home with full bellies, cooking tips and a goodie bag courtesy of NESTLÉⓇ.
*Secret ingredients used by NESTLÉⓇ:
PAK FOOKⓇ Beancurd for Steaming
PAK FOOKⓇ Hard Beancurd
NESTLÉⓇ DAIRY FARMⓇ Low Fat Yoghurt
NESTLÉⓇ FITNESSEⓇ Breakfast Cereal
NESTLÉⓇ MILOⓇ Breakfast Cereal