The back lane of Gemmill Lane houses a little gem called Maggie Joan's.
Brought to us by Glen and Daniel Ballis, the same father-and-son owner behind Moosehead, the entrance to Maggie Joan's is inconspicuous, and one of my dining companions actually took a while to find the restaurant. But once you can locate it, be ready to be awed by its gorgeous industrial chic interior, and delectable food prepared by Executive Chef Seumas Smith.
It's easy to be impressed by the dining experience that Maggie Joan's offers, just like we did.
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Even though it's my first visit to Maggie Joan's, I realised I might not be that unfamiliar with its food afterall as Chef Seumas was formerly the Head Chef at Moosehead.
His creations reflect his affinity for sourcing the finest seasonal ingredients from small or artisanal producers, an approach that come naturally having grown up surrounded by the land and seas, and his culinary training in top restaurants that practise the same philosophy like Michelin-starred Lords of the Manor, and Dinner by Heston in London.
It''s hard to believe this talented gentlemen is only 27-years young!
Maggie Joan's focus was on Mediterranean-inspired offerings when it first opened in 2015, but has since moved on to serve Modern European cuisine when Chef Seumas took over the kitchen last year.
Ala-carte items starts from $3++ onwards, while Set Lunch is priced at $36++ for 2-course, and $42++ for 3-course.
If you have time and tummy space to spare, I would strongly recommend you to go for the Lunch/Dinner Tasting Menu (5-course $90++ | Wine Pairing $60++) (8-course $140++ | Wine Pairing $80++) because it allows you to immerse yourself in a gastronomic "full-filling" good time with the best that Maggie Joan's has in store at a very reasonable price.
No prize for guessing right that we dived straight into the 8-course tasting menu.
You know you're off to a good start when so much heart is poured into something as basic as bread. The Sourdough is proofed three times (once in the afternoon, overnight after being shaped, and next morning before being baked) before being freshly-baked daily.
It is served with Smoked Beef Fat Butter, made from fat trimmings that's smoked in an INKA charcoal oven over hickory wood chips, and mixed with artisanal French butter. I'd be committing great injustice to the efforts put in if I leave such great bread and butter goodness aside. #byebyeketodiet
This was quickly followed by a trio of delightful snacks - Shiso Tempura with whipped mentaiko, nori & lime, Bonito Rice Cracker with ikura, dill & creme fraiche, and Foie Gras Ganache with pistachio apple & verjus caramel.
As I'm not really in favor of raw fish that day, Chef Seumas seperately prepared a Burrata dish for me, while my dining companions enjoyed their Hamachi Crudo from the tasting menu. He's also flexible in changing the Beef Short Rib to Iberico Pork Loin for one of us because of her dietary restrictions.
Talking about the beef short rib got me all excited again. Just look at that beautiful marbling!
After being quickly-grilled for a smokey flavour before being sous vide for 36 hours, and then grilled again to order, the beef was wonderfully tender and flavourful in each bite. The tasty sauce made from Chanterelle mushrooms and beef stock accompanied it well, and the caramelised cauliflower puree, fried salsify, and confit roscoff onions completed the dish perfectly.
The Duck Breast is another fantastic main that will be kept in my fond memories for a long time to come.
Meticulously brined, pan-fried then finished in the oven, the meat featured an ideal medium rare doneness, and is paired with savory jus made from duck bones, honey, brandy and red wine. I'm usually not a breast person, but this duck seduced us with such succulence that it's impossible to resist.
There are many more memorable dishes including Hokkaido Scallop with miso beurre blanc and Kristal caviar, and locally-farmed Barramundi with an utterly enjoyable broccoli puree. Even something as simple-sounding like Roasted Carrots with ricotta, apricot and rosemary is unforgettable.
We were served the refreshing Amalfi Lemon Sorbet & Blood Orange Granita as pre-dessert palate cleanser, but it could might as well be a dessert in itself.
By the time the Chocolate Bavarois, Blackberries, Meringue & Yoghurt Sorbet, and petit fours of Raspberry Chocolate Praline and Salted Caramel Sable arrived, it was a situation of happy indulgence even though we were all feeling stuffed. I think it's really true when they said that there's a separate stomach for dessert. Even more so when all the desserts here are so lovely.
I would definitely want to be back at Maggie Joan's again.
Maggie Joan's Dining & Bar
Address: 110 Amoy Street, #01-01, Singapore 069930 (entrance from Gemmill Lane)
Contact: +65 6221 5564
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri Lunch 12pm-2.30pm & Dinner 6pm-11pm | Sat Dinner 6pm-11pm | Closed on Suns
Prices are stated in Singapore dollars and subject to 10% service charge & 7% GST. Information is correct at point of published date.
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