Chef Marvas Ng’s Path Singapore Is A Trip

Two-time culinary world cup winner, urban gardener, and accidental pastry chef, Marvas Ng is a bit under the weather. Still, he can’t help it. He’s sticking around at Path Singapore to introduce each dish like he’s presenting his best friend at a party. This is, after all, his inaugural restaurant, where the magnificent, meandering tasting menus take diners on the journey of how he got here.

The destination is a little incongruous – the ground floor of Singapore’s Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 3 at 12 Marina Boulevard – but the journey, and the cuisine that’s the culmination of it, is fascinating. 

Path Singapore at the ground floor of Singapore’s Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 3 at 12 Marina Boulevard
Path Singapore is Executive Chef Marvas Ng’s modern-Asian culinary journey.

Path Singapore Is Chef Marvas Ng’s Modern-Asian Culinary Journey

Although he’s hosted a couple of chefs for four-hand dinners – the team from KL’s Eat And Cook, Chef Kevin Wong from Singapore’s Seroja – this is all about Chef Marvas Ng’s modern-Asian culinary journey. 

And this is his second tasting menu, launched last October, served in three formats: the full-experience eight-course Expedition menu ($228++), the Voyage six-course menu ($188++), and the Flow four-course menu ($138++), and it’s full of surprising twists and turns, like any good path. One is the indie soundtrack piping into the restaurant: Joy Division, The Pixies, The Stone Roses and Belle And Sebastian.

“We’re not a Chinese restaurant,” Marvas decides, “but we serve Chinese food.” And he’s fearlessly taken on some iconic dishes – Peking Duck and Chicken Rice – giving them a refreshingly personal twist.  

Bombay Duck at Path Singapore
The staff join in, theatrically lifting the cloche over the Bombay Duck.

A Well-Defined Philosophy

The restaurant’s name is reflected in the decor. Tiered, undulating relief lines in the window and on the off-white walls and ceiling recall the fields of rural Sembawang, Hong Kong’s Island’s steep inclines, and mountainous Hebei – all milestone places for Marvas.

He was raised there in Sembawang, in the rural north of Singapore, “surrounded by dogs, cats, chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs and chiku trees.” The area was all plantations before it became a naval base.

After that, he worked his way up through kitchens in the Tower Club Singapore, Hebei’s Tianjin Goldin Metropolitan Hotel, Resorts World Sentosa, and the revered fine-dining restaurant, Le Pan, in Hong Kong’s Kowloon Bay.

Over a decade into his career, he’s opened Path with a well-defined culinary philosophy: true to his Chinese roots he doesn’t use butter and cream anymore (they only appear at the end with the petit fours), he chooses local ingredients, where possible, like Singaporean container-grown greens from his native Sembawang, where he still likes to do a bit of gardening too, and the seafood which mostly comes from the waters of Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. And he prefers hand-caught, not farmed fish, like the hand-caught sea cucumber from Sabah or the line-caught local marble goby fish that both appear on the menu, because, he insists, you can taste the difference.

The decor reflects the restaurant's name at Path
The restaurant’s name is reflected in the decor.

Marvas Ng’s Chicken Rice Without The Chicken Or The Rice

The setting might feel clinical, but Marvas brightens it, lugging over a large jar of homemade, fermented chili sauce to show us, or gleefully explaining that his chicken rice contains neither chicken nor rice (Japanese Tai and quinoa ably stand in for the chicken and the rice). 

The team join in the fun too, theatrically lifting the cloche over the Bombay duck dish allowing a plume of smoke to rise up and trimming the green and red lettuce leaves – grown in a container farm in Singapore – at the table for the actual duck dish that’s aged for 15 days, smoked and then slow-roasted for seven hours, and served medium-well, he says, because he never quite understood the European taste for duck served medium rare. 

Persimmon dessert
Finishing with a flourish at Path Singapore with Marvas Ng’s persimmon dessert.

Finishing With A Flourish

And the menu finishes with a flourish – not just from the late addition of butter – but because, Marvas tells us, he became an accidental pastry chef and desserts are still very close to his heart.

So, there’s a dessert course with persimmons, where the overripe fruit is frozen then thawed – something he’d seen families do in Beijing, leaving the persimmons outside during the winer – which gives them a wonderfully soft, succulent character. 

And there are red date lollipops, a strawberry tartlet, apricot bon bons and caneles. At Le Pan, he’d endlessly observed the pastry chef, and became so proficient that when they left, he stepped in. 

It was just another stop on the journey of how he got here, he smiles. 


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