SINGAPORE - (THE NEW PAPER) Maggie Joan's can be so tough to locate that it makes you feel special once you find its entrance.
The first time I ate there, thank goodness it was an invited meal because I had the public relations person for the restaurant stand by the main road to guide me.
(Tip: Although the address is Amoy Street, go in via an alleyway at Gemmill Lane. The signboard is tiny, so be alert.)
But now with its expanded lunch menu, you can attempt to find it during the day. It's marginally easier.
And when you do, you'll be rewarded with a meal that is worth getting lost for. While Maggie Joan's comes across as hip and trendy, the lunch menu is down-to-earth, hearty and almost homespun.
Even something as simple as the hand cut chips ($9) - really just a bowl of potato wedges, with a touch of rosemary to add aroma and served with ricotta - will give you much pleasure.
The fried chicken sandwich ($18) is one of the best I've tasted. The chicken is crisp yet juicy. Be sure to squeeze the burnt lime over it for added zest, though the green harissa coleslaw and pecorino cheese provide lots of kick.
An outstanding dish is the al dente homemade pappardelle ($26), with a ragu made out of lamb shoulder that has been roasted for 12 hours. It's a full-flavoured and rich dish that will leave a smile on your face. You'll still be thinking of it at breakfast the next morning.
An interesting choice for lunch is the cured salmon tartare ($17) with dill, pickled cucumber and yoghurt. It is a refreshing and light choice and the sensation of different textures and flavours in your mouth is a pleasing one.
It looks amazing but the "Gypsy" style baked egg ($16) is something I won't order again. The tart tomato sauce and the chickpea stew are hearty, warm and great for a rainy day, but I find the dish just a tad salty.
The arancini ($9) may be considered a lunch dish, but it looks more like a snack for me. The risotto balls are light enough and the savoury tomato chutney adds depth. I can finish a few more plates of this.
Maggie Joan's Dining & Bar
110, Amoy Street #01-01
Weekdays noon to 2.30pm
This article was first published on August 24, 2016.
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