In October last year, I messaged celebrity make-up artist, Tinoq Russell Goh (@pasirpanjangboy) on Instagram to inquire about reservations at his twice-weekly Peranakan private dinners. “Sorry, we are unfortunately fully booked till end of the year,” Goh replied. “We’re in the midst of planning Lunar New Year menu. We’ll put you on our waiting list if there are any cancellations.” I never heard back from Goh. View this post on Instagram Frying prawn head shells in lard for our Prawn noodle soup! A post shared by TheAmpangKitchen (@theampangkitchen) on Sep 26, 2018 at 10:22pm PDT But based on what I’ve read online, Goh’s guests have raved about his bakwan kepiting, ayam buah keluak and ngoh hiang – dishes that are easy to find in most Peranakan restaurants in Singapore. Priced from S$120 to S$150 (US$88 to US$110) per guest, equivalent to the cost of a dinner tasting menu at one Michelin-starred Candlenut, the twice-weekly dinners hosted in Goh’s home cater to from eight to 10 guests each night. Why more wealthy Chinese long to have upper-class manners In the home-dining sphere, make-up artist Goh is anything but alone. Over the past two years, Singapore has witnessed a vogue for private chefs, who range from a moonlighting food writer, violinist, shoe business operator and former banker to a clutch of professionally trained chefs, all operating from private residences and, in some cases, government-subsidised flats. View this post on Instagram Marinara is the simplest of all pizzas. A light fluffy crust is what we love to see in our creations. . Photo credit: @blueskiescottonclouds . #pizzasingapore #pizzasg #pizzanapoletana #pizza #pizzamarinara A post shared by Casa Nostra (@casanostrasg) on Aug 6, 2019 at 10:57am PDT Apart from Peranakan fare, which is trending among home chefs, guests can expect to savour anything from artisanal Italian pastas and pizzas, to homespun Cantonese fare, hearty European classics and modern American fare. In a city where everything, including restaurant operations, is tightly regulated, this boom in supper clubs hosted in private homes is an anomalous situation. Is fine dining dead? China’s Gen Z eaters think so “Home dining is a good way to start for young chefs,” says John Loh (not his real name), a restaurant and bar owner. “But while hawkers and restaurants are regulated by the Singapore Food Agency, they are not.” According to the Singapore Food Agency website, all food retail establishments must be licensed to operate. As part of the application process, food operators are required to submit a host of documents including food hygiene certificate, pest control contract, Food Safety Management Plan and tenancy agreement, among others. View this post on Instagram Foodies delights: Sri Lanka Jumbo Crab Beehoon braised in my special stock and home fried pork lardons, Crispy big Prawns with Hae Bee Hiam salted egg, Tamarind Squid with chilli and lemongrass truffle salt, Buah Keluak Fried organic mixed red brown rice with Hae bee hiam, Buah Keluak Prime Pork Ribs, Sayur Lodeh vegetables tempeh coconut, Baked Snapper filet with Assam pineapple sauce with Laksa leaves #love#onaplate#peranakan#sgfoodies#live#heart#taste#singapore#privatedining A post shared by Lynnette Seah (@lynnettes_kitchen) on Sep 15, 2019 at 8:34am PDT Once the shop space is approved for restaurant use, Loh says, the planning work starts. Space planning, he emphasises, “not construction”, for the location of kitchen exhaust, grease trap, sewerage, fire safety (sprinklers, fireproof doors and ceiling), gas installation, costs around S$10,000. That doesn’t include the cost of submissions to the various authorities for all the licences, plus the actual construction costs. We review: Bangkok’s edgy, no holds barred Gaggan Anand Restaurant “It costs at least S$5,000 to construct grease trap; about S$12,000 to S$60,000 for exhaust and hood; and a minimum of S$5,000 for gas installation,” he adds. “On an ongoing basis, there are also the added costs of pest control, grease trap and exhaust maintenance amounting to several thousand dollars a year.” Home eateries are not subject to licensing, hygiene inspection, pest control and grease trap, a practice that Loh deems “unfair to restaurant and bar operators in Singapore”. View this post on Instagram F U L L Y C O M M I T T E D | There is only so much ravioli to go around and only so many ways you can split one. For some weird reason, I seem to be booked out for the rest of this year. In case you were making plans, I’d hate to disappoint you later so this is me telling you now. Feel free to write to me though as there are bound to be cancellations - I have a wait list for those patient enough. #sorry A post shared by Ben Fatto (@benfatto_95) on Apr 4, 2019 at 6:37pm PDT To add insult to injury, he says most home-based eateries charge S$1,000 to S$2,000 upfront per night for group bookings, with full payment due at the time of booking and often with a minimum of three months advance reservation. While some restaurants are understandably not pleased about private dining disrupting the dining scene, diners are lapping it up. Is modern Chinese dining the new culinary trend? “When I dine with private chefs, I am fully aware that it’s not regulated,” says Hayashi Shinryo, a Singapore-based fund manager who has visited four different home-based dining venues. “I also know that I am paying almost as much or sometimes more than what a restaurant charges.” “I am aware of the risks – including hygiene, pricing, etc – with no avenue for legal or financial recourse, I treat it like I am eating at a friend’s home,” he says, adding that he only goes to private dining spots that have been recommended by trusted foodies. “I leave it to the home chefs to deal with their neighbours and fire hazard, etc.” View this post on Instagram We've added seats! Email firstname.lastname@example.org to chope your seats now OCTOBER 2019 Sinfully Seafood EXTRA Session 1, 4 October (13 seats left) Sinfully Seafood EXTRA Session 3, 11 October (9 seats left) NOVEMBER 2019 Sweet Surrender II, 2 November 2019 (4 seats left) Offaly Good (One Night Only – NEW DINNER), 9 November 2019 (4 seats left) EXTRA SESSION Sinfully Seafood SP NOV I, 15 November 2019 (12 seats left) aPORKalypse XVII (last aPORKalypse for the year), 16 November 2019 (12 seats left) EXTRA SESSION Sinfully Seafood SP NOV II, 22 November 2019 (12 seats left) Sinfully Seafood XVI, 23 November 2019 (10 seats left) DECEMBER 2019 EXTRA SESSION Sinfully Seafood SP DEC I, 6 December 2019 (10 seats left) All of My Favourite Things (NEW DINNER), 7 December 2019 (4 seats left) Wok & Barrel VIII, 14 December 2019 (4 seats left) EXTRA SESSION Sinfully Seafood SP DEC II, 20 December 2019 (6 seats left) Sinfully Seafood XVII, 21 December 2019 (8 seats left) A post shared by Shen Tan (@ownselfmakechef) on Sep 3, 2019 at 8:38pm PDT Having said that, Shinryo says that he only picks venues that offer something unique that no restaurants can offer – small batch, artisanal, home-made or unique produce, where the food is “cooked five feet away and served piping hot”. In August, Shinryo visited Mustard Seed, a modern Peranakan eatery with Japanese inflections that started life as a home-based pop-up in June 2017 before becoming a fully-fledged restaurant this June. 2 new Hong Kong restaurants we can’t stop talking about “We heard so much about the Mustard Seed private dining, but could never book,” he says, relieved that he had finally tried its “heart-warming, genuine, humble and super-delicious” fare. Despite the success of its low-cost, home-based set-up, Mustard Seed proceeded to join the restaurant fray recently. View this post on Instagram Tagliatelle | Variations of garlic | Lemon . . . #lessismore#fresh#supperclub#foodie#theartofplating#cheflife#chefclub#chefstable#sgfoodtrend#sgfoodlover#eatgreen#foodforthought#sg#sgfoodie#sgunderground#epicplateup#theartofplating#dearborn_sg#ramps#garlic#garlicchives#garlicscape#pickles#imissramps#pasta#handmadepasta#eatlocal A post shared by Dearborn Singapore (@dearborn_sg) on Jul 21, 2019 at 2:18am PDT “I want to create a business sustainable enough for my business partner and I to work together,” says chef-owner Gan, who was previously at Peranakan eatery Candlenut and the now-defunct kaiseki restaurant Goto. Gan was operating the pop-up from his parents’ home. “But the main reason for the change is for personal growth, both in terms of my cooking and also as a person – I enjoy a good challenge!” Home-dining options in Singapore: BenFatto_95 for artisan pastas Casa Nostra for artisanal pizzas Dearborn Supper Club for modern American FatFuku for Peranakan Lucky House Cantonese Private Kitchen for classical Cantonese Lynnette’s Kitchen for Peranakan Ownself Make Chef for meat-based dinners and Peranakan Pasir Panjang Boy for Peranakan The Ampang Kitchen for Peranakan Want more stories like this? Sign up here . Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .