ART is the acronym for The Assumption Restaurant for Training, a restaurant to train students at Assumption Pathway School (APS). When children don’t pass their PSLE, they have the option of entering APS which offers vocational training courses on hospitality, baking, hairdressing, culinary, and design. After they complete their 4 years of studies like in any secondary school, they can choose to go to ITE or specialized institutions such as SHATEC or At-Sunrice.
ART is a restaurant where APS students can practice what they learn in classrooms; the service staff are students, so are the cooks. (Teachers are around to supervise the teenagers.) The students are paid for their work. So it’s really great that the students are learning as they are earning a small sum.
The casual restaurant does not use pork. It offers 3-course set lunch ($13.50 nett, 12pm-3.30pm) and high tea ($5 nett, 3pm-5pm).
But the porridge buffet ($12 nett or $9 nett for children and senior citizens) is a new initiative. It occurs on the last Friday of the month.
Why porridge buffet? Partly because students usually prepare Western food and this would give them exposure to Asian food. Partly because a buffet gives students an opportunity to cook in bulk. And partly because porridge buffet is popular with people.
On the day we were there, the porridge is Teochew style. And there is a dizzling array of condiments like in Taiwan porridge: peanuts, ikan bilis, salted egg, stewed peanuts, chicken floss, preserved choy sum, black bean fish, tauchu, and my favorite, preserved bean curd 腐乳. I love the stink of it.
Along with the condiments, there are about 10 items on the buffet table that go well with porridge: har jeong gai (prawn-paste chicken), braised egg, tau pok, fried ikan selar fish, chye por neng (omelette with preserved turnip), mui choy, eggplant, sambal long bean, etc.
They also have 2 dishes, not on the buffet spread, which are served once to every table. Whenever there is leftover sauce from the braised duck, they would keep it, and use it for the next time. “The sauce is a few years old!” said teacher-chef John Ten. The other dish, steamed sotong in Thai sauce, is super spicy and shiok.
The best dishes that night were mui choy (preserved vegetables), which has a slight tinge of sweetness behind the saltiness, and sesame chicken.
There were desserts, red bean soup, and two types of cake to end the night. It is a nice homely meal, and anyone who lives in the vicinity should take advantage of the inexpensive buffet and, at the same time, support the students’ endeavour. Reservations are encouraged.The ART @ Assumption Pathway School
30 Cashew Road, Singapore 679697
Tel: +65 6892 6187
M-Th 12pm-5pm, Every Fri 12pm-5pm, 6pm-9.30pm
(Porridge buffet on the last Fri of every month)
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.