As Maggie Joan’s at Amoy Street celebrates its third birthday this year, the restaurant updates the menu from modern Mediterranean to Modern European. Previously Head Chef at Moosehead (Maggie Joan’s sister restaurant), Chef Seumas Smith now helms the kitchen at Maggie Joan’s, having cut his teeth at Michelin-starred restaurants such as Lords of Manor and Dinner by Heston. True to their “underground” vibe, the interiors have also been refreshed to an industrial chic vibe. However do take note not to sit too near to the kitchen as the heat and aromas from the open kitchen might be too close for comfort.
Call me suaku but I’ve never eaten such a crumbly, crusty sourdough before. The house baked sourdough with smoked beef fat butter ($4++) is chewy, soft, tangy and deep with flavours. It is best when slathered with smoked beef fat butter (fat trimmings rendered and smoked in an INKA charcoal oven over hickory wood chips mixed with French butter). Seems like the folks at Maggie Joan’s are very serious about their bread. It’s proofed three times before being freshly baked every morning: once in the afternoon, overnight after being shaped and the next morning before being baked. I don’t mind coming back here again just for the bread.
The jiak-buay-ba light bite, shiso tempura, taramasalata, nori & lime zest ($3++ each): Shiso leaf on its own can be an acquired taste (think minty or citrusy or both?), however when lightly fried in tempura batter and decorated with taramasalata (here we are given Chef Seumas Smith’s rendition of Greek fish roe dip which consists of mentaiko, sourdough bread, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice), it becomes moreish. Great texture and big on flavours, but light on the palate.
For entrees, the beetroot, smoked crème fraiche, walnuts & burnt honey ($17++) is a delight as the combination of beetroot (prepared in two ways – barbecued and pickled), paired with crunchy candied walnuts and drizzled with burnt Scottish heather honey from Prince Charles’ Mey Selections – a nod to the chef’s Scottish heritage—is sweet, smoky and has a little tang. A touch of upland cress lends the dish a slight peppery heat.
The hamachi crudo, almond, trout roe & edamame ($23++) is light but the contrast between the soft but firm Japanese hamachi (yellowtail) slices and lightly blanched edamame (young soy beans) provides texture. The almond sauce helps to undercuts the otherwise oily fish.
Burrata, peas & preserved lemon ($21++) is a refreshing and light dish however we found the burrata to be less creamy than the ones we are normally used to.
Barramundi, mussels, cavelo nero & parsley nage ($34++) is a dish that seafood lovers would enjoy. The crispy barramundi skin goes swimmingly well with the rich parsley nage (the nage here is prepared by reducing roasted fish stock coupled with vegetable stock, thyme, aromatics, white wine and cream). The mussels, although small, are juicy and it is worth noting that it is sustainably farmed off the coast of Chef Seumas’ hometown in Scotland.
As for the spiced lamb, salmorejo, black garlic & salsa verde ($44++), instead of opting for the usual cut which is the rack of lamb, lamb loin is used here instead. A dry spice rub which consists of toasted ground sumac, cumin and coriander not only gives the meat a nice purple-reddish colour and also a balanced depth in flavour. It’s tender and not gamey at all. And do not fooled by the cute lamb bun sitting in a corner of the plate; although small, it packs so much flavour. The filling consists of confit lamb belly and braised shoulder, mixed altogether with parsley and thyme; encasing all of the lamb jus and fat in a bread roll dough. Outstanding.
The pork chop in Duroc pork chop, apple puree & pork sauce ($42++) is sourced from Spain and the pigs are fed on olives. It is nicely seasoned and cooked perfectly. The sweetness of the apple puree complements well with the thick slices of tender and juicy pork chop.
A crowd pleaser and great accompaniment to the mains, the roasted carrots, ricotta, apricot & rosemary ($10++) is sweet, refreshing and tangy. The ricotta is made in-house and the carrots (sourced from Cameron Highlands) are cooked in butter and herbs and then, grilled in a charcoal oven. The end result? Meaty, caramelized carrots. Delish.
The combination of coconut panna cotta, prosecco & grapefruit ($12++) is unique and sits well with me. The rich coconut panna cotta is soft and smooth but not overly sweet. Together with the prosecco jelly, the tart grapefruit sorbet and chopped grapefruit provides texture and balances out the sweet notes. I expected the blackberries, yogurt sorbet & shiso ($12++) to be tart, however, I am pleasantly surprised to note it is nicely balanced and the yogurt sorbet is smooth and creamy. The meringue provides the much needed texture and altogether, this makes a very comforting dessert.
On the whole, Maggie Joan’s serves hearty food with refined cooking techniques. I also like the fact that Chef Seumas takes pride in sourcing seasonal ingredients from small or artisanal producers and preparing each dish component from scratch. That said, all the effort does not come cheap. In my opinion, the set lunch/dinner offers more bang for your buck (2 courses at $36++, 3 courses at $42++, 5-Course Chef’s Selection menu (dinner) at $88++, add $60++ for wine pairing, a la carte).
110 Amoy Street, #01-01 Singapore 069930 (Entrance from Gemmill Lane)
M – F 12pm – 2.30pm, 6pm – 11pm; Sat 6pm – 11pm; Closed on Sun
You may be interested in…
–FYR Cycene ond Drinc, Boon Tat Street: Modern European Cuisine with Asian Twist
–The Butcher’s Wife, Tiong Bahru: The Butcher’s Wife Eats Gluten-free Modern European Food. Lucky Her.
–House of MU, Mohamed Sultan: A New Gem Serving Fine-Dining Modern European Cuisine at Affordable Prices
–RVLT, Carpenter Street: A Natural Wine Bar Housing the Best Sommelier in the World and the Former Chef of Moosehead
Written by Vanessa Khong. Vanessa is someone who enjoys checking out the local food scene. She believes the way to her heart is through her stomach.