The first time we visited Morsels since it relocated to Dempsey Hill, we stayed for four hours. It’s hard not to love this place. Tucked in a quieter part of the well-known enclave (just behind Long Beach@Dempsey), it’s housed in a small bungalow with an inconspicuous grey door you can easily miss.
It took us a while to figure out the entrance but once the staff welcomed us in, we soaked in the rustic atmosphere and admired the barnyard setting. Think: grey walls, concrete flooring, high, open ceiling and chandeliers that resemble antlers. There’s a small bar on the side and at the far corner, the open kitchen where chef-owner Petrina Loh and team can be seen whipping up one dish after another.
Chef Loh describes her cuisine as experimental fusion. She says, “I like to work with a variety of ingredients, teasing their natural flavours to release into the mouth a trained frenzy of sweet, salty, bitter, sour and umami, tempering the temperature and texture, all on one plate.”
Years after she left the banking industry to work in the kitchen, we think she has truly found her calling. Dishes were deftly executed and throughout the meal, our palates and minds were piqued by the interplay of flavours and ingredients that seemed like a match made in gastronomy heaven.
Our starter of oysters was a burst of freshness, the brininess mellowed down by the citrusy kumquat and pickled seaweed; the ever-popular devilled eggs was still as delightful as the first time we tried it with its smoked crabmeat and house-cured prosciutto filling leaving a lasting impression.
Interesting new items include the compressed watermelon salad, which uses slightly nutty bok choy (instead of the usual greens), enlivened by dollops of whipped burrata and pickled watermelon. Our favourite was the grilled wild Sri Lankan tiger prawns with just the right char that retained their natural sweetness. Trimmings of burnt okra and sakura ebi daikon cake drizzled in tamarind sauce and calamansi furikake made for a palatable dish.
Soups were comforting as well. Although slightly on the salty side, the steamed venus clams satisfied our cravings for something hot and soupy. The inclusion of kimchi gave it a zingy finish.
The beef noodles was especially savoury, not surprisingly since chef Loh took 48 hours to prepare the broth. The thinly sliced beef flank melted away with every bite and the satiny rice vermicelli was perfectly soft and chewy.
But while the mains were stellar, the were not nearly as impressive. The strips of glazed jackfruit was served with homemade coconut yogurt, sticky pistachio nougat and thick, gooey butter crumble was a little too sweet for our liking.