Maggie Joan’s: A Secret Door in A Back Alley @ Amoy Street

Maggie Joan’s is located in a back alley along Gemmill Lane. The one very peculiar feature about the restaurant is that there is no means of access from the front. Rather, the entrance is a nondescript dark brown door, with only a simple black and white sign to indicate the presence of the restaurant.

As I entered the restaurant, I was led through the first dining area where a row of lacquer wooden tables lined the wall of the dimly lit room. We were guided towards the back of the restaurant, where we had “prime seats” facing the open kitchen. From there, I had a good view of the culinary team hard at work in the kitchen. By the way, both dining areas are dimly lit and rather chilly.

Appetisers:

Roast Jerusalem Artichoke & Manchego ($8). The artichoke tasted strangely like potatoes. It was liberally topped with sesame seeds and ivory-yellow Spanish manchego cheese. The light and buttery texture of the cheese complimented the artichoke.

Egg, Dukkah & Saffron Mayo ($6). If you have been following social media, this is touted as one of the best dishes at Maggie Joan’s. And it is true. The dish was executed perfectly. With just a slice, the yolk burst through, intermingling with the flavourful spice mix.

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Catalunya’s Weekend Brunch with Passion @ Fullerton Pavilion (Media Tasting)

I was delighted to be invited to Catalunya for a weekend brunch tasting by Burpple some time back. I had heard and read many good things about the restaurant but never had an opportunity to try it for myself.

The restaurant is located at The Fullerton Pavilion, which is off Clifford Pier and between One Fullerton and Fullerton Bay hotel. And as you can see from the picture below, the place offers a panoramic view of the bay as well as Marina Bay Sands.

With the expansive floor to ceiling windows, you are able to enjoy the beautiful city backdrop while dining on authentic and contemporary Spanish cuisine. The 4,300 square foot restaurant comfortably seats 120 people and diners may choose to dine indoors or alfresco.

As for the main reason I was there, Catalunya’s Weekend Brunch with Passion is a stunning selection of Spanish food, with everything from cured meats to salads and seafood! The semi-buffet brunch is available every Saturday and Sunday from 12.30 to 3.30pm. There is only one seating for and it is a whole THREE HOURS of indulgence!

In addition to the wide variety of food, if you go for the brunch on the last weekend of the month, you will be entitled to a Bingo Game, where you can get to win dining vouchers at Catalunya. The game really kept each of us diners on our toes!

During weekend brunch, the bar area of Catalunya is transformed into sections of food: Market Selection, Charcuterie, Cheese, Salad, Fish and Fresh Juice.

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New Modern European Brunch at FYR Cycene ond Drinc @ Boon Tat Street (Media Tasting)

FYR Cycene Ond Drinc has recently launched a new modern European brunch, offering a fun DIY party detox drink, new appetisers and main courses, the last two using their Josper Wood Charcoal Oven and lychee wood to infuse a smoky note to their dishes. By the way, this is my second visit at FYR and you can find my first post here.

SMALL BITES:

Other than the Baked Half Bone Marrow that we had the previous time, FYR has added three more new Small Bites to their brunch menu.

Yam & Sweet Potato ($8), served with cheese sauce and tomato salsa. The chips were sliced so thinly that it was hard to tell what they are made from. I am not much for the cheese, but the salsa with bits of garlic inside, was delicious.

Grilled Squid ($12), served with turmeric, garlic, crispy onion and lime leaves. This was a hot favourite among us foodies and everything about this dish, from the flavouring to the crispy onion were spot on.

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Violet Herbs @ Tras Street (Media Tasting)

Violet Herbs first opened its doors on Tras Street in January 2015 and is famous for its modern European cuisine. The name Violet Herbs is inspired by the rare and unique purple-coloured herbs in nature. Hence, the restaurant hopes to offer excellent semi-fine dining experience at affordable prices.

The restaurant is helmed by Chef Edward Hoe, who at the young age of 34, already has almost 20 years of experience under his belt. He held various executive roles at restaurants like Restaurant Ember and Keystone Restaurant perfecting his culinary skills before deciding to open his own restaurant.

The restaurant is housed within a two-storey conservation shophouse. The main dining area which seats 28 people, reflects the colour of the name of the restaurant. With elegant purple and grey hues, high ceilings and mirrors on its wall, it is a comfortable and inviting place to dine at.

The second floor dining area seats about 28 too. Off the second floor is a private room which can seat about fourteen people or can be separated into two smaller rooms of eight people.

Amuse bouche of the day was Duck Confit with Champagne Jelly. The amuse bouche changes daily, depending on the day’s fresh ingredients and chef’s inspiration. It was served with Saffron Parmesan Bun and a dip made with garlic, parsley and mint.

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FYR Cycene Ond Drinc @ Boon Tat Street (Media Tasting)

Initially, I was not really looking forward to this tasting at FYR Cycene Ond Drinc as my friends who went for the previous one said that the food looked good but was not very tasty. However, they were invited in a huge group and I reckon that the food quality might not be very good when orders were going out at the same time. Also, general reviews online have been quite good, so I decided to give this a try.

FYR Cycene Ond Drinc is pronounced as FIRE Kitchen and Drink (I have no idea how they got ‘kitchen’ from ‘cycene). The walls are filled with vibrant murals and as the name suggests, fire is an important element in their cooking. All of the dishes are cooked using the Jasper Charcoal Oven with lychee wood to ensure that dishes have a smoky note tinged with sweetness. The dishes here are European with a Southeast Asian take on them.

Although I went there for dinner, the interior is quite brightly lit, so I did not have to worry about the lighting for photo-taking. The tables are rather small and if you are in a huge group it can be quite cramped.

Hibiscus Mint Iced Tea ($4.50) and Lime & Mint Soda ($4.50). The hibiscus drink came with hibiscus tea, fresh apple juice and is infused with mint syrup. For me, the tea was too overpowering and the fragrance of the hibiscus was lost. As for the soda, it reminded me of a virgin mojito.

Apple Rosemary Soda ($4.50), infused with lemon syrup. This soda was a perfect balance of fruit and herb. Unlike the hibiscus drink, this was pleasantly refreshing.

We also tried the Grilled Fresh Orange Juice ($4.50, not featured here), it was really interesting! The sweetness and smokiness were a winning combination. While we did not try the pineapple version of this, others said that the pineapple one was a pale comparison, which was unexpected since the caramelisation of the pineapple would have brought the flavours out more.

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MEDZS’ New Breakfast Menu @ Clifford Centre (Media Tasting)

MEDZS has recently introduced a new breakfast menu at their Clifford Centre outlet, which is just 100 steps away from Raffles Place MRT Station Exit A.

The new menu consists of usual breakfast favourites like scrambled eggs with sausage to easy-to-grab sandwiches for those on the go. It is catered especially to the working crowd in the area and is available from 8-11am, from Monday to Friday.

The outlet has indoor seating as well as a semi-alfresco dining area; the latter was what we opted for because it had the best natural lighting and it was a good place to people watch.

While waiting for the rest to arrive, we enjoyed the morning breeze along with our English Breakfast Tea and Peppermint Tea ($4.90 each).

First to arrive on our table were the artisan sandwiches & baguette. We had the Olives Ciabatta with Prosciutto & Veal Paprika Lyoner Ham ($12.90), Laugen Brotchen with Pork Bierschinken & Red Cheddar Cheese ($11.90), Beef Pastrami with Rustic Baguette ($12.90) and Italian Panini Bread with Tomato Capresse & Buffalo Mozzarella ($12.90).

Out of the four sandwiches, I found the olive ciabatta the most interesting. The distinctive sweet, sour and pungent flavour of the olives enhances the soft sponginess of the bread.

This Scrambled Eggs with Chicken Sausage, Mushroom and Bacon came at an UNBELIEVABLE price of $5.90! While the eggs were slightly salty, it was very delicious and unanimously everyone’s favourite dish at the tasting.

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O’Coffee Club Christmas High Tea (Media Tasting)

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I think people who do not frequent the CBD area (like me) will not know about this beautiful greenhouse-like structure, which O’Coffee Club  is housed in, right in the middle of Raffles Place.

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I was invited for a Christmas High Tea during the weekend to sample some items from the O’Coffee Club’s Festive Menu “My Favourite Things.”

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Chocolate Wonderland Log Cake ($53.50 nett), O’Coffee Club’s signature item and a hot favourite among their regulars. Dark chocolate ganache, cream cheese and praline feuilletine wrapped with chocolate sponge.

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