The hype: Previously located at Circular Road, Mag’s Wine Kitchen now resides in the hip and trendy neighbourhood of Keong Saik. It continues to dish out French comfort food, at a space that creates the impression of dining within Chef-owner Magdalene Tang’s own home, giving the restaurant its moniker.
The vibe: There’s nothing quite like being welcomed into a restaurant, kitchen-first. You’d probably think you’ve stumbled across the wrong entrance.
But go ahead and head into the open yet intimate kitchen/dining area, and take a seat at the 7m-long marble chef’s table, so you may watch the chefs prepare your meals right before your eyes.
The food: French food may get a bad rep for being particularly ostentatious, although that’s certainly not the case at Mag’s Wine Kitchen. Using fresh ingredients while placing an emphasis on seasonal produce, this spot makes French food suitable for our local palette through simplicity.
There’s the usual French starter Foie Gras ($28), a classic terrine of foie gras with apple compote, that the restaurant has been serving since its early days.
The Risotto ($44) is also a signature, thanks to the delicately-cooked, fresh Boston lobster chunk and its bed of creamy, sage brown butter risotto.
However, the real highlight here is definitely the Whole Duckling ($85) that requires a three-day advance order notice, found under the Sharing Platters section. The braised duck meat readily falls off the bone, and will remind locals of Teochew-style braised duck dishes thanks to its aroma. The added Nocerella olives is just icing on the cake.
The drinks: Named Mag’s Wine Kitchen for a good reason, find an extensive wine list that caters to both wine lovers and casual drinkers here. House pours (from $15 per glass and $65 per bottle) include Leeuwin Estate’s Siblings Sauvignon Blanc 2017, Chateau d’Ollieres Coteaux Varois en Provence Classique Rose 2017, and Dalva Colheita 1990, Barao De Vilar port wine.
Why you’ll be back: If it’s not the Whole Duckling that seals your return, it’ll be the endearing dining experience and warm hospitality that keeps you coming back for more homestyle French cuisine. Few things are as enjoyable as uncomplicated gourmet nosh with local touches.