Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Maggie Joan's Dining & Bar @ Amoy Street - From Mediterranean To Modern European Flair & Finesse


Maggie Joan's Dining & Bar celebrates its third anniversary with a new chef on board, revamped menus and refreshed interiors. Chef Seumas Smith is actually not new. He is the former head chef at Moosehead, sister restaurant of Maggie Joan's. Taken the role of Group Executive Chef, he now fronts the kitchen at Maggie Joan's.

House-baked Sourdough with Smoked Beef Fat Butter 4/5

Dinner started with some warm House-baked Sourdough ($4). Besides the fluffy bread and delightful crust, what I adore is the smoked beef fat butter that goes so well with it.

Shiso Tempura 3/5

Light and crispy is the Shiso Tempura ($3 each). The fresh shiso leaf is coated with a light tempura batter and deep fried. The dollops of taramasalata is a blend of mentaiko, sourdough bread, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice, that adds colours (flavours) to the dish.

Burrata 3.5/5

This is probably the most beautiful plated Burrata ($21) I have eaten. It comes with garden peas, sugar snap peas, preserved lemon, olive oil, breadcrumbs, pea shoots and garlic flowers. The combination works for me, brightening the enjoyment of the burrata. However I find the burrata not as creamy as those I have eaten.

Hamachi Crudo 4/5

Swimming in a pool of almond sauce is the Hamachi Crudo ($17). It is topped with pickled wakame, edamame, mint leaves and trout roe. Unfortunately I felt it lacked something zesty to liven up the dish, for the fish to come alive.

Beetroot 3.5/5

The Beetroot ($17) is done two ways - barbecued in charcoal oven and pickled in a solution of red wine vinegar. wine and sugar. The burnt honey dressing helps to balance the earthy taste of the beetroot while I like how the candied walnut provides the needed boost in texture and flavours.

Barramundi 4/5

The Barramundi ($34) is pan seared until the skin is crispy and paired with a creamy parsley nage sauce. You can also find mussels swimming in the pool of cream sauce. What interests me is the sauteed cavelo nero in olive oil, I seldom gets to eat this variety of kale in my dishes.

Spiced Lamb 4.5/5

My favourite dish for the dinner goes to the Spiced Lamb ($44). The lamb loin is rubbed with a spice mix of toasted and ground sumac, cumin and dried coriander. This really perfumed the tender piece of lamb is beautifully melded with the aroma of the spices, making me drool even before it reached my mouth.

Roasted Carrots 4.2/5

This is probably the most delicious carrot I have eaten. The carrots have been confit in butter before being grilled in charcoal oven. This results in the Roasted Carrots ($10) having a delightful texture with a hint of smokiness, on top of its sweetness.

Duroc Pork Chop 4.5/5

Sourced from a boutique farm in Spain, the Duroc Pork Chop ($42) comes from pigs that are fed on olives. The meat is tender with good fat marbling. The chef even added pork crackling for that extra textural enjoyment.

Blackberries, Yogurt, Sorbet & Shiso 4/5

Coconut Panna Cotta 4/5

The sight of the dessert - Blackberries, Yogurt, Sorbet & Shiso ($12) did not appeal to me. I thought the dish looks messy. You really can't judge a book by its cover, the dessert turns up surprisingly good with the different components coming together, striking a balance for a sweet finish. The Coconut Panna Cotta ($12) on the other hand is a light and refreshing dessert to end the dinner.

Petit Fours 4.2/5

Diners at Maggie Joan's will get a complimentary Petit Fours at the end of the meal. Comes its a metal tin, diners will find Salted Caramel Chocolate Sable in it. This is really yummy.

While the new savoury dishes at Maggie Joan's has been rejuvenated with  a new chef on board what caught my attention is the dessert menu. Having dine here a few times, I noticed the vast improvement in the dessert. I was right when I checked with the restaurant, they have a new pastry chef on board.

Note: This is an invited tasting.

Maggie Joan's Dining & Bar
110 Amoy Street
Singapore 069930
(Entrance from Gemmill Lane)
Tel: +65 62215564
Nearest MRT: Telok Ayer (DT Line), Tanjong Pagar (EW Line)

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 12pm - 230pm, 6pm - 11pm
Sat: 6pm - 11pm
(Closed on Sun)

1) Alight at Telok Ayer MRT station. Take Exit A. Turn left and walk down Cross Street towards Amoy Street. Turn left onto Amoy Street. Take the side lane beside the shop house and walk to the back. Walk to destination. Journey time about 5 minutes. [Map]

2)  Alight at Tanjong Pagar MRT station. Take Exit G. Follow the covered walkway to the junction of Mccallum Street, Telok Ayer and Amoy Street. Turn left at the junction onto Amoy Street. Continue on Amoy Street to the end of the road. Take the side lane beside lane at the end of Amoy Street to the back. Walk to destination. Journey time about 12 minutes. [Map]

Sunday, November 18, 2018

The Wine & Gourmet Friends @ Bukit Pasoh - The Restaurant Allows You To Bring Your Own Food On Sunday


Opened in September 2018, The Wine & Gourmet Friends is an Asian tapas wine bistro located on the ground floor of a conservation shophouse on Bukit Pasoh Road. Albeit a narrow space that sits only 56 pax, it boasts a walk-in wine cellar which holds over 300 different styles of wine from over 80 old and new world wine producers, in which eighty percent are exclusive to the bistro. As the name suggests, The Wine & Gourmet Friends is all about wine over food, or vice versa, but what really lies within its core is the celebration of friendships over good wines and heart-warming food within a casual and welcoming environment. Afterall, the bistro is brought together by a group of friends with years of F&B experience under their belts.


Wines start from $6 a glass and bottles range from $25 to over $1,888, with option to drink in or takeaway. I can't read wines with my untrained palate, so if you are like me, owner William will be more than happy to help you with your purchase. To ensure that you get the most out of your purchase, an Aerating Decanter is used to efficiently and rapidly ‘open’ a bottle’s aromas and flavours. This process of decanting comprises two-steps: pouring wine into the decanter and when the wine has had sufficient time to breath, reversing the bottle to return the contents into the original bottle. This not only saves space on your table for more food, it will also prevent the mistake of accidentally mixing wines which often happens when an unmarked decanter is passed around.

Prawn & Seafood Bite 3/5

Helming the kitchen are Chef Wilson and Chef Gus, and the menu created features dishes inspired by the many that they have grown up with. The first Asian-style bite that we tried was one that we couldn't be more familiar with - Prawn & Seafood Bite (Hei Zou) ($12). This is an elevated version of Chef Wilson’s Mum’s Hei Zou, prepared with minced pork belly (hormone and antibiotic free), diced sea prawns, turnip and cuttlefish paste for bite and as a binder. I like the crunchy bits of the turnip, and appreciate the light seasoning, unlike some that filled my mouth with pepper and salt. The accompanying sweet and sour homemade achar (Peranakan spicy pickled vegetables) was addictive! I wish I had a full bowl of it to myself.

Foie Gras Lotus Leaf Rice 3.8/5

If you like Foie Gras, do order the Foie Gras Lotus Rice ($18).  Foie Gras and rice to me is an unusual combination but the chemistry between these two ingredients was better than expected. Perhaps the idea came from replacing liver with foie gras (just guessing), the role of foie gras in the rice was like that of a stir-fried pork liver but with an additional creamy texture. It was seared to attain a slight crisp on its surface, which released a layer of sweet gaminess into the savoury rice.  Being the centerpiece of a dish usually, it did not steal any limelight from the lotus leaf rice, which was just as outstanding on its own. Fragrant with oriental seasoning and condiments, Calrose rice is used instead of glutinous rice to lighten the load from your stomach.  Glutinous rice would certainly be too soft and sweet for this dish to succeed.  I love the chopped porcini and shiitake mushrooms, and the Chinese X.O. sausage which added another dimension of flavours and texture. The fried  lotus chips were not necessary, as they turned greasy towards the end.

Roast Pork Belly 3.8/5

Roast Pork Belly ($24) was a straightforward dish but deeply satisfying. The roasted Australian Bangalow sweet pork delivered what we had imagined it to be - crisp crackling with a layer of tender pork fat with no unpleasant porky taste. Like how a good piece of beef should be treated with minimum seasoning, the roast pork belly is served with a dollop of mustard and honey balsamic reduction just to kick your taste buds a bit of a kick.

Lamb Trio 3/5

This plate of Lamb Trio ($30) consists of lamb kofta, lamb rendang and rosemary grilled lamb rack, served with chilled quinoa salad and cucumber raita. Out of these 3 variations, my favourite would be the lamb rendang.  The rendang had a sweetness that helped to sooth out the gaminess of the meat. Second to that would be the lamb rack, in which I believe many would consider the fats lining the bone a delicacy.

Black Pepper Crab Noodle 3.8/5

When I first saw Black Pepper Crab Noodle ($18) on the menu, I thought it was going to be again a rendition of a prawn pasta.  But very much adhering to the characteristic of a zichar dish, chef kept the use of noodles. Wholegrain noodle us used and because it had a firmer texture than normal yellow noodles, the black pepper sauce was able to coat them without weighing them down. The soft shell crab was quite meaty and the blue swimmer crab meat pieces tasted even sweeter against the savoury blackpepper seafood broth.

Goreng Pisang 4.5/5

The dessert that we had was excellent.  Goreng Pisang ($12) with ice cream might sound really rich against the dishes we had but this is not to be missed. Banana and chocolate is a heavenly combination but chefs took this up a notch with their own homemade dark chocolate ice cream and banana fritters, served along with a 'banana kueh' and 'banana leather'.  The batter of the fritters was airy and the banana within had soften under the heat and bursting with sweetness.  The banana kueh had a sticky and dense texture but not too sweet, which acted as a textural support for the dish. The banana leather was paper thin like chips and so moriesh.


What I find interesting here is the Sunday BYOF (Bring Your Own Food!). The kitchen will be closed on Sunday, but The Wine & Gourmet Friends stays open from noon to 9pm and you are invited to Bring Your Own Food – home-cooked or otherwise, for a day out with family and friends. All you need to do is only order a bottle of wine (minimum one bottle for every four guests) to enjoy your meal within the bistro. If you need help with your wine pairing, William and his team will be here as well.

Photos and words by Si An. A girl who is allured by travelling, loves the feel of freedom, smell of the rain and the aroma of fine coffee and food. Note: This is an invited tasting.

The Wine & Gourmet Friends
48 Bukit Pasoh Road
Singapore 089859
Tel: +65 62241982
Nearest MRT: Outram Park (Ew Line, NE Line)

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 12pm - 11pm
Sun: 12pm - 9pm

1) Alight at Outram Park MRT station. Take Exit H. Walk to destination. Journey time about 3 minutes. [Map]


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