Over the weekend, the Plural team had a spot of tea at KKI Sweets on a rainy afternoon by way of catching up. In these precarious times when dining in has become a privilege, it’s a rare treat to be able to gather to share an experience in person – what more when surrounded by a confluence of art, design and culinary delight?
KKI Sweets is a dessert restaurant, but the experience extends far beyond the plate. With Me:Time, its most recent collaboration with artist Genevieve Ang (gellyvieve), KKI has assembled a culinary experience to be enjoyed alongside a whimsical ceramic encounter.
Here, the porous boundaries between art and design dissolve in a joyous engagement of the senses. But you don’t have to suffer us waxing lyrical – see it for yourself:
KKI’s recently launched collaboration with artist Genevieve Ang (gellyvieve), Me:Time, includes 7 assorted pastries served on dainty custom-made ceramic-ware. We won’t spoil the surprise for you, but our favourites were the unexpected pairings such as corn and lychee, and truffle potato in a pastry.
Genevieve shares that her inspiration for the cloud-like shape of the ceramic set stems from how she interprets KKI and their desserts. “I think that KKI’s cakes are the closest thing we have to eating clouds,” she laughs. The artist used to wonder what clouds might taste like when she looked out from the window of a plane, and she imagines that it would be very much akin to the light and refreshing nature of KKI’s desserts.
The motif of the cloud thus featured prominently in the design of the Me:Time set. It also represents KKI and Genevieve’s shared ethos of “staying curious [and] appreciating the smallest details, like how a child would in encountering the world for the first time”.
In space, A sign
To accompany the Me:Time collaboration, the artist has created a series of sculptures entitled In space, A sign across the expansive roundtable seating at KKI – starting with this piece on the far left, which features a porcelain head in repose on lava rock:
This series of works explore our human perception of time and permanence. In this sculpture, 60 pieces of miniature pottery were wheel-thrown and then joined to form this representation of the minutes that comprise the journey round the clock:
Floral arrangements by Shilbe Lim of Still Life Floral complement the ceramic pieces with an adventurous touch of colour and texture. Small pools of white pebbles nested within the table itself evoke a little of that meditative stillness of Zen gardens; a nod to the Japanese dessert culture that KKI draws from.
Me:Time includes a short zine available for visitors to peruse when waiting for cake. While the artist shared that she had written it with a children’s book in mind, the monochromatic illustrations and relatability of the workday humdrum certainly strike a chord amongst the grown-ups who are here as a respite from real life.
We’re no food critics, but…
Gluttons that we are, we could not resist also ordering some of KKI’s mainstay desserts:
Each dessert has its distinctive character, but I think I speak for the team when I say that J is our unanimous favourite. As an object it is sculptural, resembling a flower pot with a little seedling. Take a knife to it and the illusion of the solid pot gives way to a creamy – yet light – black sesame mousse with a bright yuzu interior. Crunchy matcha crisps add a contrasting pop of texture to top off the whole experience.
We’re told that self-taught pastry chef and KKI co-owner Kenneth Seah came up with the idea of using a mould to construct this facsimile of a a concrete planter when he was experimenting with the medium of concrete itself. Then came the experimentation of using black sesame as a mousse ingredient, which replicates that shade of concrete to a tee. It’s a technique that we see used in the corn and lychee mousse dessert in Me:Time as well – to equal success.
J is a party in your mouth, albeit a considerate one. The same can be said for most, if not all, of the KKI sweets. While the flavours of each dessert are divergent and distinct, they aren’t cloying. Yes, they’re the party guests who don’t overstay their welcome, and help to clean up before taking off.
KKI’s co-owner – the other half of this husband-and-wife duo – Delphine Liau tells us that their business is all about showing the next generation of gourmands the infinite possibilities of what “made-in- Singapore” pastries can be. While we may have spoilt the surprise somewhat with this little photo-essay, KKI makes the deliberate choice to not include photos of its confections in its menu, so that customers can be more mindful of the flavours that they are choosing to consume.
Coupled with its dedication to supporting young artists in order to create an immersive multi-sensorial experience for the consumer, the brand is well-poised to create a vibrant and authentic group of creatives, one that appeals to many different communities and interest groups.
It all comes together, the delectable desserts and thoughtful design and art. On this wet day, tucked away in the middle of town (the place doesn’t even have a signboard) with food and friends, you can set aside every uncertainty for a moment.
Breathe. Eat cake.
The Me:Time pastry set is available at KKI Sweets from 18 Aug to 21 Nov 2021. Priced at $85+, it comprises 7 assorted pastries and is served with a pot of Lupicia tea. Limited sets are served daily and reservations are required. For more information, check out the KKI Sweets website.
More information on the artist Genevieve Ang (@gellyvieve) can be found via her website.
Feature image courtesy of KKI Sweets and Genevieve Ang.