Let their powers combine – eight-seater Maison Shūko sees three familiar names in Singapore’s F&B scene take diners on an immersive and sensorial culinary journey using local produce.
What’s better than one award-winning chef? How about one award-winning chef, a celebrity chef, and another seasoned F&B veteran getting together to create a memorable meal using locally-farmed produce?
That’s what you get at Maison Shūko, a contemporary European-accented mod-Asian dining experience recently unveiled by the Zouk Group. It brings together the cuisine of three familiar names in the local F&B industry – World Gourmet Summit Chef of the Year 2018 and 2020 Angus Chow, private dining chef and content producer Justin Foo who has worked in the kitchens of Restaurant Par Andre and Le Saint Julien, and former chef-owner of Le Binchotan Jeremmy Chiam – in an intimate eight-seater restaurant.
Hidden in the back of Zouk Group’s recently renovated and revamped Robertson Quay warehouse complex (which also houses cocktail lounge Here Kitty Kitty and Japanese omakase restaurant Sushi Ichizuke), Maison Shūko presents a combination of Japanese and French techniques with a focus on locally-sourced ingredients.
Apart from taste, Maison Shūko brings a visual aspect to the dining experience through the screens above the counter. Prior to most of the courses, short documentary films produced by Chef Justin are shown to help diners understand where their food is sourced from. Expect to see the inner workings of a goat farm, a fish farm, and even a frog farm, before you partake of the said produce in front of you.
Maison Shūko’s menu changes seasonally.
My favourites from its inaugural offerings include the goat cheese starter by Chef Justin Foo – Goat Cheese, Tomato Textures, Yuzu & Basil, Seaweed – made with fresh goat’s milk from Hay Dairies. The strong flavour of the cheese paired nicely with a variety of heirloom tomatoes and sweet tomato sorbet, while the yuzu and basil dressing added some needed tartness to refresh the palate.
The grouper – Grilled Grouper, Soy Milk Broth, Matsutake – by Chef Angus Chow grilled over binchotan from Ah Hua Kelong in soy milk broth and matsutake was also a star in my book. The smoky notes from binchotan simply danced in harmony with the flavours from the savoury soy-based broth and earthy mushroom.
Another dish, the frog legs – Bullfrog Legs, Fermented Prawn, Papaya Sambal – was impressive as well, largely because of their size. Large and meaty as a chicken wing, those frogs obviously didn’t miss leg day. Perfectly fried and eaten dipped in a piquant papaya sambal, it’s almost an upscale version of our favourite chicken wing and chilli sauce combo from the hawker centre.
Overall the menu is bold and adventurous, and will pique the interest of many.
If there’s one criticism, it’s the lack of cohesion between dishes. While individual courses were a delight to eat and showcased the best of our homegrown ingredients, the experience did not flow as seamlessly as I’d hoped.
Our tasting menu featured that stunning grilled grouper in soy milk broth and an oden-style poached daikon and pear in broth topped with foie gras. Is there a need for two soup-type dishes in an eight-course menu? Our chilled somen – which came with egg sabayon and truffles – too came before a grilled Miyazaki wagyu beef course; by which time we were already too full from the carbohydrates to properly appreciate the exquisitely marbled beef. Sequence matters.
But these are minor quibbles. They are most likely teething challenges from putting three highly-talented chefs, each with their own culinary perspectives and philosophies, together.
The truth is that Maison Shūko offers a degustation experience unlike any other. And its razor-sharp focus in promoting local, sustainable produce – and local talent – absolutely commendable.
Address 3E River Valley Road, #02-02, The Cannery, Clarke Quay, 179024 (Google Maps link)
Opening Hours 7pm to 11pm Mondays to Saturdays; closed on Sundays
Tel (65) 9489 8357