Wednesday, June 11, 2014
How do I talk about this place?
For a start, I thought I would write about it way much earlier. But as fate would have it, many reasons came to be, putting stop signs to those moments whenever I felt the urge to tell you something about it.
This is not Henry Congressional version 2.0, although I think a little of Henry's spirit perseveres through our menu. There's the understated rosemary chicken sandwich, the ever nostalgic pandan chiffon cake and that satisfying dark cloud cookie.
This is also not just another hole-in-the-wall temporary pop-up. The bottomless amount of work required to run a typical day will only be understood and appreciated by its tireless crew, and perhaps those working in this industry.
But most of all, this is a place where I'm not just another customer. Or a regular customer, or a favorite customer. Helping out and being involved makes me see certain things and people from a different perspective. As we try to get out of the weeds and unexpected complications, we learn more about ourselves and others. Strengths and weaknesses, food preferences, special talents and amazing skills, all these coming together to provide the foundation and maintain those pillars crucial, more than just necessary, to the continuance of this space.
I guess the appropriate time has finally come.
After a year of collecting moments, memories and experiences, those stop signs can now be set aside and here I am, spilling out (perhaps too many of) these photos, hoping they will help complete this story. Going through them brought me back to this day exactly 12 months ago - that rainy evening when I was called in last minute for my first shift. I remembered how excited I was for this place, rushing to the shop after I just pulled out my own chiffon cake from the oven at home.
Since that evening, this space has written its own story and created its own life. Customers and crew members came and went. Those who remain continues to embrace what we stand for. Time and again I remind myself we are not here just to be different. As we ponder over what to add to the menu, how to make our iced chocolate, how to improve our fried chicken and how to keep our produce fresh, we draw support and conviction from those who come to us for exactly these offerings. And we continue to serve those who disagree with us with just as much affection.
There is no one dish I enjoy most making. Even a simple sandwich is made out of important elements, each ingredient worth their respect and right treatment. I believe in this business of feeding people, perfection is not necessarily when everything is done just right, for what is right may be subjective to personal taste, open to interpretation or benchmarked against varying standards. Perfection is when you put your heart and soul into each plate, regardless of who the plate is for. We want to indulge our long term fans, but we also wish for our new friends to keep coming back.
The only regret I have is my inability (at most times) to sit down and chat longer with those of you who have come from far to visit. My only hope is that our love for you comes strong through our humble bar and kitchen, and there will be many years to come for this place to make all of us happy.
Life Is Great explores the incredible world of food and cooking. We hope to share with you our most delicious moments and inspirations.
“Just like becoming an expert in wine–you learn by drinking it, the best you can afford–you learn about great food by finding the best there is, whether simply or luxurious. The you savor it, analyze it, and discuss it with your companions, and you compare it with other experiences.”
Julia Child (Mastering the Art of French Cooking)
“Life is short. Live your dream and share your passion.”
- Gooey Cinnamon Cake
- Chinese Crispy Roast Pork Belly (Siu Yuk 烧肉)
- ABC Soup (罗宋汤)
- Kong Bak Pau (扣肉包)
- Pandan Chiffon Cake (Improved)
- Crispy Fried Egg
- Tamago Kake Gohan (卵かけご飯)
- Strawberry Pie
- One Pot Chicken Rice
- Bak Chor Mee (肉脞面 - Minced Pork Noodle)
- Hakka Salted Egg Steamed Pork (咸蛋蒸猪肉)
- Hong Kong Part III
- Hong Kong Part II: Zongzi/Bakchang (粽子/肉粽)
- Caffè HABITŪ (the table) at G.O.D. Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
- Hong Kong Part I
- Australia 2010 Part 1: Melbourne
- Bourke Street Bakery, Sydney
- Il Fornaio, St Kilda
- Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne