Oenotheque Restaurant by Wine Universe

We know something about you. We know that, on a recent Saturday night, around 9pm you weren’t eating at one of the best restaurants in town—Oenotheque, a joint venture between Magdalene Tang of Mag’s Wine Kitchen, and Swiss wine distributor Wine Universe (yes, we said Swiss). We know this about you because we were there and you weren’t. (Unless, of course, you were the couple sitting in the corner. If so, apologies.)

We’re really not sure why no one was there, but maybe the magician in the kitchen waved his spatula and made the other diners vanish. Sound outlandish? Not if you saw the way he turned a tomato consommé into a jellied cone in which tiny, crunchy capsicums were suspended—or the way the whole affair was surrounded by tiny beads made from green olives.

Then there was the sashimi of ocean trout—a work of wonder itself without considering the arugula “milk” and super-thin beetroot-flourless-pasta-like-strips that adorned the outer edge of the bowl. So the kitchen wizard (who’s named Paul Longworth by the way, and has previously been a sous chef at the 1-Michelin star Club Gascon in London) knows how to invent, prepare and present his conjurings with art and flair.

But what about the taste? Abracadabra. The two starters just described were texture-rich and filled with clean oceanic and vegetal flavors. For mains, the seared Hokkaido scallops served atop salty, swoon-inducing pork belly and adorned with cauliflower puree and shallot jus were perfectly tender. The flavors in this dish each took their turn at center stage and then receded into an ensemble deserving of the applause coming from our taste buds.

The two lamb chops were fresh, tender and perfectly enlivened by their surroundings of leeks, mustard sauce and red onions (to be honest though, for the price, one more chop would have been perfect, which is why we took off half a star). With warm, professional service; an airy, modern indoor/outdoor setting; and an actual wine library (that’s what Oenotheque means) from where you can take a discounted bottle home after dinner; the magic act is truly complete. See you there next Saturday?