Our second visit to @magicsquare.sg 2.0 was to have Chef Eugene’s (@abangkau) menu. He’s the first of the four young chefs in this current version of 田 Magic Square.
Manager @itshozay kicked things off that evening, sharing some details about this incubator for the benefit of the first-timers.
Supported by Chefs @jonathan_gan and @pristinamok (@lawjiajun was on medical leave), Eugene presented nine courses based on his interpretation of Chinese heritage cuisine blended with his knowledge of French techniques.
Although it was bracing cold and upside-down, the first item had me immediately thinking of “chwee kueh” (our local breakfast favourite) with its mushroom duxelles, onion consommé and rice pudding.
Number two paid tribute to a dish found in both French and Teochew cuisines - the Aspic Terrine. The jelly which was formed by chilling the collagen-rich braised pork trotter and pork belly, was accessorised with a tiny dollop of red chilli jam for a punch of sweetish heat, and pickled onions and cauliflower. Yums.
One of my favourites from that evening was the Bone Marrow Chawanmushi. Finished with a delicious “pot au feu” broth and barbecued gingko nuts, it had tiny cubes of crunchy bamboo shoot buried in its silkiness. If only second helpings were available…
The succulent frog legs wrapped
in sheets of old cucumber with
mint and chervil were delectable. I liked them even more swooshed through the roasted garlic aioli.
For the fifth course, Giant Tiger Prawns were wrapped in chiffonade-cut beancurd skin for crispiness and extra flavour. Laid on a purée of roasted kabocha (Japanese pumpkin) and dressed with a luscious Dijon mustard chives and parsley creme fraiche, it was a dish that showed off the quality produce very well.
Local barramundi was the sixth. Steamed to perfection, it came with a garlic, ginger and aromats sauce, beurre blanc made from the fish’s own bones, as well as wok-fried “nai bai” vegetable, pickled white fungus and chrysanthemum flowers. In contrast to the soft flesh, its skin was transformed into crunchy “chiccharon”.
Chicken was the star in the seventh, and it tasted distinctly Chinese as the slices of tender breast meat were stuffed with glutinous rice cooked with “lap cheong” (preserved pork sausage), “yun cheong” (liver sausage) and mushroom, Surrounded by pickled daikon was a small liver ball which wow-ed me.
To refresh our palates after that, Chef Eugene and his team mates served a unique herbal-style pre-dessert that brought pomelo sorbet, barley amazake and chrysanthemum oil together.
Dinner ended with an astonishing creation of black sesame ice-cream crowned with a meringue made using the beef garum by Chef @markerpenn (Head of R&D at @nakedfinn). Utterly brilliant pairing.
Am looking forward to seeing what the other Chefs have up their sleeves in the months ahead.