Hidden out of view, the restaurant rewards with gastronomic surprises to those who uncover its location
Setting up in 2015, Maggie Joan’s must be doing something right for lasting the past two years – a period where most dining establishments crack under pressure or fizzle out due to poor response.
One of the clear indicators of the restaurant’s bright future is its “Paris-Brest” Chocolate ($16) – an atas ice-cream sandwich that has pillows of chox pastry cushioning the trinity stuffing of chocolate cremeux, praline ice cream and poached pear slices.
But look at us, getting ahead of ourselves.
Found in the back alley of Gemmill Lane, the Mediterranean-inspired restaurant is seemingly a hole in the wall. Walking through the only entrance that takes the form of a nondescript metal door will have diners greeted by the restaurant’s sensual vibes of polished wooden furniture and exposed brick walls, bathed in dimed warm lighting. Head on to the back and you’ll find a private dining room for a convivial time with close ones.
Maggie Joan’s is big on starters. Go for the Taramasalata, squid ink & nori ($3 per piece), which got our juices flowing with its piquant flavours stemming from the Taramasalata’s bready paste of mentaiko, egg yolk, mustard, lemon juice and garlic, sandwiched between squid ink tortillas for that added crunch. To cut the saltiness of the Taramasalata, you’d be best chowing down on the delightfully sweet crab sandwich & green harissa ($7 per piece). Dusted with paprika power, semi-sweet choux buns sandwich savoury crab meat filling and spicy harissa – in other words, a party of flavours. Others for the picking include the chicken liver, rhubarb, cacao and peanut ($17), green zebra tomatoes, black olive & sea lettuce ($20) that has a base of croutons, and the cheesy burrata, yellow peach, shio kombu and basil ($23).
If you find it in yourself, or your belly, for mains, the smoked potato and egg yolk ravioli ($28) is deemed fit for indulging. Handmade (but of course), the pasta is filled with 1:1 ricotta and smoked mashed potato, plus a single egg yolk that unleashes its liquid gold once the pasta ravioli is cut into. Laid on a bed of spinach salad and dotted with picked mushrooms and roasted hazelnuts, the pasta is doused with a brown butter sauce infused with sage, before parmesan shavings are thrown in for a good measure.
Aside from the remarkably decadent ‘Paris-Brest’ chocolate creation, the restaurant offers lighter delights of the coconut sorbet and rockmelon ice (available from the set menu) and the unconventional goat’s cheese parfait, topped with honeycomb, raspberry and sorrel ($12). The latter was almost meringue-like without the instant melt-in-your-mouth effect, We would have preferred it creamier though.
All in all, Maggie Joan’s is what one would call a sanctuary tucked away from the city, located in the city. Definitely a secret place to go for good food, and perhaps to hide away from crazy exes.
Address: #01-01 110 Amoy St, Singapore 068579
Opening Hours: 12pm – 2.30pm; 6pm – 11pm (Monday-Friday) 6pm – 11pm (Saturday)