Celebrity Chow with home-grown a cappella group MiCappella

How do you tell when someone's truly impressed with the food laid out on the dining table?

Well, it's kind of obvious when things start to get very loud.

M dined with home-grown a cappella outfit MICappella last Friday evening at Adrift, a new Californian-Asian restaurant helmed by US celebrity chef David Myers at Marina Bay Sands Hotel.

Not only did the delectable dishes elicit "oohs", "ahhs" and furious photo-taking from the quintet - MICappella's sixth member Goh Mingwei couldn't make it - but the seared scallops, suckling pig, squid and king crab melt were so delicious, everyone could not stop gushing throughout the meal.

MICappella comprises Peter Huang, Tay Kexin, Calin Wong, Goh Junyi, Eugene Yip and Goh Mingwei, all aged between 26 and 33.

They have been active in the local music scene since 2010. In 2012, they shot to fame as first runner-up on popular Chinese reality TV singing competition, The Sing-Off China.

Said Yip: "I've followed David Myers' career ever since I tried his food at Sona, his now-closed restaurant in Los Angeles.

"Myers' pairing of small plates with wine was something I loved. At Adrift, it's pretty similar, he pairs small dishes with cocktails."

After a round of cocktails, the musicians were visibly relaxed. Youngest member Tay, 26, appeared slightly intoxicated.

"I'm such a cheap drunk," she said with a laugh, her face reddening.

"This is a gorgeous place. Single guys, you can take me out on a date here!"

Last month, MICappella did three performances at the City of London Festival. How did you enjoy the food there?

Goh: We visited Borough Market, where I had the most amazing Indian food. There were also lots of artisanal foods like cheese, truffles and honey.

Tay: Borough Market is like our pasar malam, but more upscale. They have Middle-Eastern fare, which is quite rare in Singapore. I also tried Ethiopian cuisine.

Yip: London's Bayswater has the best roast duck. It is so fat and juicy. I'd rather eat roast duck at Bayswater than anywhere else.

Tay: We randomly ordered this duck confit blue cheese burger at a vintage flea market in Brick Lane. That turned out to be superb, too.

As a cappella musicians who create sounds of musical instruments only with your voices, are there any foods you cannot eat?

Wong: Oh, Peter (pointing to the group's human beatbox) can eat whatever he wants. He doesn't use his vocal chords to produce drumming sounds. If he has a sore throat, it doesn't affect his performance one bit.

Huang: In fact, there was a recent show where I couldn't speak. My vocal chords were completely swollen, yet I could still beatbox. The sounds are formed by my lips, tongue, teeth and breath control.

Wong: We try not to drink sparkling water before our gig as it has a dehydrating effect.

Huang: There was a show we did in Germany and all the drinking water there was sparkling water. Nobody touched it.

Do you guys have a regular haunt for meals?

Goh: It'd be Bendemeer Market And Food Centre, as our practice studio is at Boon Keng. It's both convenient and affordable for us, and there are more choices for everyone.

Yip: There are lots of awesome things there, like the lor mee.

Do all the group members share the same taste in food?

Wong: Of course not. Peter doesn't take spicy food, while Eugene and Junyi love chilli.

Yip: I'm part-Peranakan, that's why.

Wong: Kexin tends to go for low carbs. Whenever we want to eat at McDonald's, she'd be the one to back out.

Tay: When we were performing in China, I wanted to die! Everything there was so oily. I had to prepare two personal "filtering systems" during our meals. I'd put two bowls of water on the table and "filter" my food twice before eating.

Wong: Normally, I'm not as health-conscious as Kexin, but right now, I have to be a bit more selective in what I eat. I'm eight months pregnant with my first child.


This article was first published on July 15, 2015.
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