Remember I last time I went to Chinoiserie and they weren’t on their A game? Fortunately tonight we tasted what they were capable of doing.
Justin Quek runs two restaurants in MBS. JustIN Flavours of Asia is on the ground level of MBS offering luxe versions of local food, with an al fresco dining area facing Marina Bay. The other is this French-Chinese fusion fine dining called Chinoiserie.
Chinoiserie goes back to the culinary roots of the original Sky on 57, Chef Justin’s first restaurant right up on the iconic rooftop in Marina Bay Sands. As a founding alumni of Les Amis, the reverent French fine dining spot in Singapore, Chef Justin is solid in French techniques. In Chinoiserie, he combined the best of French and Chinese cuisine in a fusion presentation.
“This is a representation of who I am: a true-blue Singaporean Teochew who loves Asian and Chinese food, yet with an embedded spirit of French haute cuisine. I am a different person now – older and wiser, more travelled, having seen and tasted so much more.”
Oyster & Mussel
Freshly Shucked French Oyster | Ginger Flower Dressing | Fritters Holland Mussel | Curry
法国生蠔 | 自制姜花汁 | 香脆荷兰貽贝 | 咖喱
There was no amuse bouche or any teaser snacks and we went straight into the first appetiser. The pairing of the oyster and mussel, one raw and one cooked, one cold and one warm, was a contrast of flavours, texture and temperature.
Ginger flower bud is often used in Singapore rojak (a salad made with fermented prawn paste) to give it that distinct fragrance and sharpness. A little goes so far and it had totally lifted the dressing for the freshly shucked oyster made with chopped zucchini, carrot and shallots zested with lime.
The Dutch mussel was battered and deep fried and topped with a curry mayo sauce with the same salsa less the ginger flower. Excellent contrast from the cold oyster. The Dutch accounted for 25% of the world’s farmed mussel, but I only tasted this for the first time. They were quite small in size but flavourful.
Abalone & Xiao Long Bao
Braised African 7 Head Abalone | Signature Duck Foie Gras Xiao Long Bao | Jamon Iberico Ham
焖南非七头鲍鱼 | 鸭肝松露小笼包 | 伊比利亚火腿
The next appetiser was Chef Justin’s signature truffle xiaolongbao (soup dumpling). Besides adding the non-traditional truffle and foie gras to xiaolongbao, each dumpling was topped by shredded Jamon Iberico ham, which was unnecessary for the rich tasting dumpling, but it provided a musky, oily finish unique to the ham for the otherwise slightly dry dumpling. The abalone was relegated to become an accompaniment to the dumplings. I wished the dumplings to be piping hot though, with the soup scalding anyone that bite into the dumpling.
Taste of Sea
Maine Lobster | Wild Threadfin | Hokkaido Diver Scallop | Crustacean Pea Purée
海中宝 | 波士顿龙虾 | 野生午鱼 | 北海道扇灵 | 海味豌豆泥
Taste of Sea is another of Chef Justin’ signature dish, his take on the bouillabaisse. Pan fried butter Maine lobster craws, grilled Hokkaido scallops and a Teochew-favourite wild-caught threadfin topped with crispy garlic, finished with a lobster bisque and sweet pea purée. Everyone cleaned out the delicious sauce/soup and mopped every last drop with the bread.
Live Maine Lobster
Wok Fried Hokkien Mee | 招牌龙虾福建面
The Hokkien mee was my favourite Chef Justin’s creation. This is more street food than fine dining, but I could not help to ask them to alter the menu to include this noodle dish as an intermission before we have the main course. Everything about it was delicious; little bits of deep fried pork lard, the noodles braised with a lobster/prawn stock, the overall wokhei that defined the stir-fry genre in Chinese cooking.
Dry Aged Galiciana Striploin MBS 3
Charcoal Grilled | Quail Egg | Truffle Jus | Winter Black Truffle | Seasonal Greens
炭烤 | 干式熟成加利西亚西冷牛排 | 鹌鹑蛋 | 松露汁 | 冬季黑松露
With age comes flavour. In the world of wine, the oldest vines with the deepest roots birth a flavour combination of depth and complexity. In the Galician region of Spain, farmers have been deliberately breeding older animals for this same result.
Vintage beef are from retired pure pasture fed breeding cattles. These roamers further mature in a relaxed environment until they are at least 5 years old – more than 2x the age of regular cattle. Because the cows are older, the meat has a rich, developed grass fed flavour alongside superb marbling. And with dry ageing, the tenderness is reintroduce with a concentration of flavours.
The result was evident in our plates. The piece of beef was simply divine and too good on its own. The black truffle and au jus reduction did not do anything to enhance its flavours. I simply ate the sunny-side up quail egg with the truffles and au jus.
Dark Chocolate Espuma | Candied Hazelnut | Hazelnut Ice Cream
榛子巧克力 | 黑巧克力慕斯 | 榛子冰淇淋
One of my guests commented that this dessert tasted like a deconstructed Ferrero Roche chocolate. Rightly so, with the hazelnut mousse hidden in the cannoli under the thin wafer holding on to two quenelles of hazelnut ice cream, and sea salt flavoured hazelnut and chocolate nuggets decorated with gold flakes. The only downside to this dessert – there was too little portion of it! Chef Justin, you have to up the size of your desserts. It was too little the last time I was here as well.
Service and ambience were excellent usual; we had the whole place to ourselves as we have a large party. They managed the large group with ease as we started with wines and drinks before the dinner. If they would have provided some amuse bouche during the cocktails.
Chinoiserie Modern Asian Restaurant
2 Bayfront Avenue Galleria Level, B1-15,
The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore 018972
Tel : +65 6688 7782
Visit in Jun 2022