Monday, October 26, 2015

Maggie Joan's - My Kind Of Food

Hidden behind Gemmil Lane is an almost inconspicuous door and entrance to Maggie Joan's. It is the new eatery from the guys behind Moosehead Kitchen, which is one of my all time favourite places to eat.

Maggie Joan's has a more refined look about it, with more seating area but it still retains a cool vibe and tone.

There is still an open kitchen concept which lets the diners see the bustlings behind the preparation of each dish, and they are still using INKA ovens here.

What I like about Moosehead is apparently still present here. Good soul food, mixed with a touch of zaniness that will surprise your palate at almost every turn.

The other thing I always appreciate about Moosehead is their unpretentious approach to cooking, and it is also evident here. The plates maybe dressed prettier here, but nothing is over the top. Neither does it come across as trying too hard. Everything that is on a plate deserves to be there for a reason.

Egg, Dukkah and Saffron Mayo

There is a Mediterranean slant to the cooking here, and something as simple as a dukkah is playfully executed. The egg is nicely rolled in crumbly dukkah mixture, and served with just a perfect saffron aioli on the side. Creamy, crunchy, full on flavours. The mayo is just awesomely simple and great.

Hamachi, Carrots and Brandade

The sashimi element is fresh and muscular to the bite, but it is the incredible tasting brandade that took my breath away. The mousse like texture is so smooth and creamy, and packed with so many lovely ingredients (saffron, fish, potato, garlic, milk etc) that it is bursting with bags and bags of flavour.

Scallop Carpaccio and Mint Peas with Ham

A pretty dish if ever there is one. Plump fresh scallop slices, dressed in a refreshing tonic of sherry, lemon and olive oil. Coupled with a mint pea puree and Iberio bits, it is brings a zesty and sweet tone to the occasion. The best way to liven the mood and conversations around the table.

Roast Seabass with Pesto Broth and Tomatoes

This has to be one of my favourite plates of the year and it exemplifies everything I adore about cooking. Simple but fresh ingredients, perfectly executed with a touch of cleverness and invention.

The bass is thick and succulent that has been started off on the pan and finished off in the INKA oven. That moist, juicy meat in the center is simply the best piece of fish I have eaten whole year. That crisp, smoky and aromatic skin just begs to be admired and respected at every bite.

The pesto broth would have sounded like a bad idea on paper, but when the basil and pine nut mixture is smartly infused with a vegetable stock to give it depth and flavour, it works like a dream. Finished off with a nice acidity of marinated tomatoes with all the natural sweetness coaxed out of them, it is a beautifully balanced plate of flavours and textures. Simply can't get any better than this.

Iberio Secreto and Cauliflower 

Iberio that has been brined, bathed and baked is simply a delight on the final plate. It actually looks and feels a bit like pulled pork in the end, but with that extra level of pork fat and goodness to enrich your palate further. The cauliflower puree is just spot on too.

White Chocolate, Spiced Crumble and Passionfruit

As for desserts, there are some well done classics like figs and ricotta, but my pick has to be this intriguing mix of white chocolate, spiced crumble and passionfruit bits that looks like the most beautiful edible garden ever.

Little shrines of white chocolate dot the plate while the edible soil just adds so much texture to the dessert. Little citrusy portions of passionfruit is on hand to cut through all the richness and bitterness from the chocolates and crumble.

It goes without saying that Maggie Joan's will be among my new favourite places of the year. Everything that was served up was pretty much on point. Some were reaching for the pinnacle, and the seabass dish just simply broke through to reach gastronomic orbit.

With barely a month in service, the food and service is already exemplary to the max. Honestly, I can find little fault in such a new establishment. Then again, it is from the Moosehead boys, so it should come as no surprise.

In fact, if I have to classify their food, I will simply call them Crazy Good, in the best possible manner. If I have to be a bit more explicit, I will have to say that their cooking is inventive, clever, unpretentious, soulful, knowledgable, adventurous, insightful and naturally beautiful.

In other words, my kind of food.

Maggie Joan's
110 Amoy Street (Enter from Gemmil Lane)

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