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Restaurant review: R.E.A.D., Seki, Magosaburou, Yakitori Enmaru ION, La Maison Fatien, 7Adam and The Living Cafe

Oozing laid back French chic charm at La Maison Fatien 

La Maison Fatien

76 Duxton Road

6220 3822 | www.lamaisonfatien.com

Just along from the Berjaya Hotel in a gorgeous renovated shophouse is La Maison Fatien, the brainchild of a Frenchman with a very Spanish surname, Jimmy Lopez.

Without being too fancy or pretentious, the French food hits the spot with reliable favourites. There are six entrées and six mains to choose from and the emphasis is on quality, in dishes such as seabass with braised leeks and tomato basil fondue ($18) and lamb shank with red wine sauce ($26). A weekday cocotte, or casserole special, includes classics such as coq au vin and beef bourguignon ($26 each),.

Complementing the classic food is an extensive French wine list, some from Jimmy’s own vineyard in Burgundy. The Rully (a buttery drop, $16) and the Pinot Noir (cinnamon-y with light berry flavours, $16) were the two standouts.

You’ll love it if: you want to feel comfortable and at home.

You’ll hate it if: cutting-edge gastro food is your thing.

Must try dish: mussels with enormous wedge-cut fries (a weekday special).

Katie Roberts

We were recommended to try the signature Kurohana course, or nine-course degustation menu 

Magosaburou  

ION #04-11 and #05-01

6634 1411 | www.magosaburou.sg

Entering Magosaburou feels a bit like entering a spaceship: bathed in purple light, the décor epitomises futuristic sophistication. We were recommended the signature Kurohana course ($180) or nine-course degustation menu, with their house red Feotto dello Jato.We started with a rich beef soup with yuzu flavour and organic vegetable bagna càuda with avocado with a side of miso Wagyu yukke (beef tartare)with Hokkaido sea urchin – an umami overload. The prime beef tongue with leek and salt and a side of three kinds of namuru followed.

Thinly sliced Wagyu yakishabu steals the show: pure culinary perfection with wasabi, sesame sauce and citrisy ponzu . After clearing the palate with champagne sorbet, though, we realise that this was a mere curtain-raiser for the ultimate course: assorted thick-cut prime Wagyu, prime short rib and prime rib eye, served with lashings of wasabi shouyu espuma , rock salt with yuzu skin and Chef Takatsuki’s original barbecue sauce: a carnivore’s nirvana.

We rounded off the nine courses in hedonism with cold Inaniwa udon and ochazuke – a simple dish made by pouring green tea over cooked rice – combined with beef soup in a hot-stone bowl.

You’ll love it if: You appreciate premium quality red meat.

You’ll hate it if: You’re in a hurry; expect a long evening and lots of courses.

Must-try dish: Assorted thick-cut prime Wagyu.

Alex Westcott

R.E.A.D. stands for “Relax, Eat And Drink” 

Place to R.E.A.D.

46A Prinsep Road

6333 0689 | www.place2read.com.sg

R.E.A.D. stands for “Relax, Eat And Drink”, and this is charming Anthony Low’s first F&B venture. The shortish menu of loosely European dishes includes lamb shank ($26); that’ll do nicely, thank you. Tender and succulent, it comes with mash and an unexpectedly good ratatouille. Roy goes for the rather cinnamon-heavy moussaka ($14), which we’re told is very popular. Though fresh and well-dressed, the Greek salad ($12) of leaves, sliced olives and a little feta could do with a change of name; it has none of the essential tomatoes, cucumber or onion.

A couple of good desserts end things off sweetly: apple crumble for Roy, molten chocolate cake for me ($12 each), both served with vanilla ice cream.

You’ll love it if: You’re in the mood for a couple of drinks and a casual bite.

You’ll hate it if: You were expecting fine dining.

Must-try dish: Lamb shank.

Verne Maree

You’ll love Yakitori Enmaru if: You’re looking for a casual place for drinks and nibbles 

Yakitori Enmaru ION
ION Orchard #04-11
6636 7282

Yakitori Enmaru is the new kid in ION, and, judging by the tables full of young Singaporeans, it’s making friends fast.

Our favourites,  were the simpler things done well: deliciously slippery green cold cha soba noodles ($13.80), and a selection of yakitori – skewered meat or veg grilled over charcoal, good washed down with Kirin beer or ice-cold sake. Try the tsukune shiso (chicken with plum pulp $3.80), Wagyu beef with wasabi ($6.80), unagi (eel; $7.80), hotate (scallop; $9.80), asupara buta (asparagus-wrapped pork belly; $3.80) and shishito (green peppers; $3.40).

You’ll love it if: You’re looking for a casual place for a small group for drinks and nibbles.
You’ll hate it if: You’re hoping for a romantic tête-à-tête.
Must-try dish: Yakitori selection.

Beate Baldry

A convivial modern bistro that welomes kids – just keep the tykes away from the art 

7Adam

7 Adam Park

6467 0777| www.7adam.com

The menu of Asian-Euro fare is on the shortish side. For instance, they only offer two sandwiches, but the choices – Waygu or grilled steak with foie gras – keep things interesting. Steer towards the crab cakes with tomato chilli jam ($15) – ah, that chilli jam! – and seared tuna loin with avocado salsa and rainbow trout roe ($16.50) for starters. The pan-fried sea bass with tomato lime salsa ($20) wasn’t as exciting as the braised lamb shank ($27), the latter elevated by a saucy bed of kaffir lime couscous.

The creamilicious Kit Kat ($23), a rich, blended drink of Bailey’s and chocolate, with a candy bar teetering on the rim, is a solid choice for dessert, alongside vanilla ice cream with strawberries and a balsamic reduction ($12).

You’ll love it if: You’re looking for a convivial modern bistro that welomes kids – just keep the tykes away from the art.
You’ll hate it if: You want a menu weighty enough for bicep curls. 
Must-try dish: Crab cakes with tomato chilli jam.

Monica Pitrelli

The place to eat out but still stick to your diet, detox or healthy eating plan 

The Living Café 

779 Bukit Timah Road (just before 6th Avenue)

6468 4482 | www.balancedlivingasia.com  

Finding a healthy place to eat out when you are “trying to be good” can be difficult. Highlights from the The Living Café Raw set menu ($18.80 for three courses) are the cold zucchini soup,which is frankly brilliant – a pale green, creamy blend which is prettily presented and big on flavour, followed by raw lasagna, an interesting take on the old favourite, cleverly made from raw veggies. To finish, there’s a choice of refreshing pineapple sorbet or lime sorbet, or a mini raw cacao chocolate brownie that’s chockfull of goodness.

From the à la carte menu, standout dishes include the raw zucchini hummus ($5), the hummus being so good we would gladly take tubs of it home – and the Living Café roll ($12) – light, fresh and vibrant. Spoil yourself one of the unbelievable detox-approved cakes. We recommend the organic blueberry cheesecake ($7.50) and the German chocolate cake ($8.50).

You’ll love it if: You want to eat out but still stick to your diet, detox or healthy eating plan.
You’ll hate it if: You arrive with a bunch of starving, strapping, meat-craving lads.
Must-try dishes:
Zucchini soup, the Living Café roll, and the raw zucchini hummuswith toasted flax-seed chips.

Beate Baldry

Like many restaurants here, Seki has a lunchtime menu that’s great value 

Seki

9 Bras Basah Road

#01-02 Hotel Rendezvous Gallery

6336 3806 | www.seki.com.sg

During his 15 years away from Japan, Chef Takuma Seki-san he’s developed a fusion approach that means you get the yummiest of everything – including, today, succulent little rosemary-sprigged English lamb chops done robotayaki-style.

There’s a Grand Omakase (set) menu for $88, and what he creates for us à la minute approximates that classic structure: amuse bouche, sashimi, chawanmushi, robatayaki, tempura, sushi and dessert. But whatever requests you may have are welcome, he says. Just give him an idea of what you’re prepared to spend, and he’ll tailor a menu especially for you.

Like many restaurants here, Seki has a lunchtime menu that’s great value: just $25 for a midday feast.

You’ll love it if: You’re intrigued by the idea of Japanese fusion.

You’ll hate it if: You forgot to book ahead and don’t get a seat at the counter.

Must-try dish: Whatever Chef Seki-san recommends on the day is bound to be fantastic.

Verne Maree

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