Entrepreneur

I Dined With Total Strangers In A Bukit Ceylon Condo. It Sounds Sketchy, But It Was Pleasant.

Dine Inn is an online platform that was started in Singapore to bring chefs and foodies together in a casual environment.

Foodtrepreneur Luke Lee and celebrity chef Eric Teo launched it in early 2017, after Luke realised there was a gap in the Singaporean market for homecooked food.

Chef Eric (far left) and Chef Luke (far right). / Image Credit: Dine Inn

In 2019, they’ve finally brought the concept over to Malaysia, setting up a space in Bukit Ceylon to begin operations.

Their new service is called Private Chef’s table, and it’s supposed to bring guests a “home away from home” dining experience.

Signing up for an experience is as easy as booking an Airbnb, where you can see what each experience will offer you and book it based on availability.

Booking a dinner.

So far, the experiences range from RM60 to RM120, depending on the host and cuisine served.

All hosts are also encouraged to complete a Food Handlers Course (approved by the Ministry of Health Malaysia) and obtain a Food Handlers Certificate.

But enough about the technicalities of it, and let’s get down to what the experience of Private Chef’s Table really was like.

Based on a session I attended, here’s what stood out to me.

1. The Homey Atmosphere

Many restaurants on the slightly higher end of the price spectrum tend to put some pressure on its diners. You might feel the need to dress a certain way, talk a certain way, eat and drink a certain way.

At Private Chef’s Table, we’d say you get the same quality of food and service, but without the aforementioned pressure. Here, you get to actually interact with the hosts who prepare your food as well as get to know your fellow diners.

A rather intimate dining experience with total strangers.

Relaxing lounge music plays casually from a small bluetooth speaker atop a shelf, filling in any gaps of silence during the initial conversation.

You can walk around the space, look out the windows at the view (you’re on the 21st floor of a condominium in the middle of KL, after all), or just stay in your seat and soak in the laid-back vibe.

2. The Semi-Private Dining Experience

Thanks to the laid-back atmosphere and close seating, you get the chance to interact with new people. Sometimes they’re fellow Malaysians, other times they might be international tourists.

The space can fit up to 20pax, split between two rectangular dining tables. During short breaks in between dishes, the chefs/hosts might have a seat and a chat with guests.

The chefs chatting with guests.

There’s also no rush to get you out of the space as soon as possible. Luke said that only one session is available per night, which means guests can stay for hours on end, sipping at their wine and chatting away.

Of course, you’ll eventually have to leave, but hey, Changkat is just down the road with its many pubs and bars for you to continue your conversations.

3. A Multi-Course, Homecooked Dinner

The first main dish, Shanghai Double Scallion Sauce Capellini.

When we Malaysians think of homecooked meals, it’s either a single dish cooked and eaten alone, or multiple dishes shared by a family. 

The second main, 24 Hours Brine Crispy Chicken Thigh.

We definitely don’t think of Mexican or Sri Lankan cuisine as homecooked food, nor do we think of restaurant-style, multiple-course meals as homecooked.

Sanchoku Wagyu Beef (that night’s specialty dish).

But homecooked food is exactly what the hosts of Private Chef’s Table bring to the, well, table. You’re in a home, they’re preparing and cooking the food before your very eyes, and then they serve you. 

No dinner is complete without dessert! This was the Parmesan Dark Chocolate Tart.

It combines the cosy homecooked meal experience with a service that’s restaurant-level, to put it simply.

4. Sharing Is Caring

If you’re an avid baker or someone who loves creating finger food, feel free to bring your own to share with the crowd. 

During the dinner session I attended, one of the guests brought some keto-friendly bread she had baked and passed them around as appetisers.

It was a pleasant surprise that enabled the other guests to strike up a conversation over the bread.

For those who are feeling generous, you can also bring your own wine to share.

5. There’s No Corkage

Unlike when you bring your own wine to a restaurant, at Private Chef’s Table, you won’t be charged any corkage. 

If you’ve booked out the place for your own friends and family, you can bring as many bottles of wine or champagne as you want, to share.

Depending on your host, however, wine might already be provided on the menu.

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Private Chef’s Table doesn’t label itself as a Halal service, but there are some hosts who cook up pork-free meals like Muslim chef Dyllon. If you’re unsure of what you’ll be signing up for, you can always chat with the host before committing.

Depending on your host, you may also be dining at a different location than the general 6Ceylon condominium in Bukit Ceylon. 

While I enjoyed the dining experience, one thing that dampened it was the parking. There is limited visitor’s parking at 6Ceylon, so most guests would probably have to park further away or resort to illegal parking, which comes with its risks.

The area isn’t the most convenient for parking, so if you’d like to have an overall hassle-free experience, I would recommend getting a ride there instead of driving there yourself.

  • You can read more about Dine Inn here.
  • You can read more about other F&B startups here.

 

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