Food Review: Province Restaurant At Joo Chiat Road | Intimate & Contemporary Southeast Asian Concept
The Place You would not notice the newly opened Province restaurant along 153 Joo Chiat Road as it tucked within the same space as the equally new 808 Eating House. Both concepts are under the same roof by new F&B group The Fillmore Collective, where the dining concept of Province by chef-owner Law Jia-Jun is contemporary Southeast Asian concept. Chef Law has previously held stints in restaurants in California such as Manresa and Atelier Crenn. To get to Province, simply walk through the entrance of 808 Eating House and head towards the back of the restaurant where there is a separate space where Province is located.
The eight-seater space is cosy and is an intimate counter seating from a large teakwood dining table and the kitchen runs on a lean team. The setting also makes it easy to strike up conversations with Chef Law or even other dining guests.
The Food It is a S$138++ seven-course prix-fixe menu at Province where the dishes are inspired by Chef Law’s travels to neighbouring countries like Malaysia and Thailand, so you can expect ingredients used from these regions. The menu is refreshed seasonally every three months, and include common produce like carrots and sweet potatoes, buah keluak, coconut, and soursop, as well as rare spices like mahlesa, a wild spice found in mountainous regions of Northern Thailand.
My meal started with a trio of Snacks. The Tomato and kombujime smoked snapper from Ah Hua Kelong is a cold, refreshing starter where the freshness of the snapper is evident. The second snack is the Carrot croustade and Ricotta where the texture of the croustade is quite thin and soft, so I recommend picking it up delicately. The third snack is the Prawn tsukune with calamansi kosho and prawn tare which reminds me of a more refined version of ‘Hei Zho’ where the prawn fillings are delicious.
The second course is named “Into the Garden” homage to chef David Kinch, whom Chef Law worked with previously, where Chef Kinch is also one of the earliest proponents of farm-to-table, ingredient-driven cooking. This course features Ravioli, grilled tang ‘O’ sauce, ferments and regional greens. Served in custom made plates that reflect the organic and earthy nature of the dish, Into the Garden spotlights vegetables as its main ingredient. This looks like a very healthy green garden, and I love the green tang ‘O’ sauce. The huge ravioli is stuffed with sweet alliums – a blend of grilled spring onions and caramelised onions, so the flavour gels very well with the rich and smoky tang-o (garland chrysanthemum) sauce. Topped with fermented carrot and a garnish of over 10 different vegetables, before some calamansi vinaigrette and ginger flower oil are added.
The third course features Tubers and is a mix of purple and yellow Japanese sweet potatoes, orange sweet potatoes and native sweet potatoes with buah keluak and smoked potato espuma. The significance of this Tubers course reflects Chef Law’s experience of harvesting sweet potatoes on a research trip to Thailand previously. There is Buah Keluak purée at the base of the dish, where the potatoes are slow baked first then fried in duck fat. It sounds like a simple potato dish, but the overall flavour comes across as quite complex for me. I also like the fried and crispy julienned sweet potatoes atop the dish.
The fourth act is Molluscs which showcase grilled abalone, rice, liver sauce, shishito peppers and laksa leaf relish. The rice is delicious with an al dente texture, which is a combination of glutinous and jasmine rice. I also like the use of Laksa relish as a seasoning here which adds to the fragrance of the dish.
Have it about half portion first, where the second part involves adding a comforting fish broth which is prepared overnight to the rice.
The fifth course is coined Finned – Coral Trout, mussel jus with smoked coconut cream, sweet peas and spring onion. The aged trout is first grilled, then served with smoked coconut cream, daikon puree and sweet peas from Chiang Rai. The mussel jus uses mussels from Ah Hua Kelong, and overall there is a nice natural sweetness from the sauce here.
The last savoury course is Feathered which features 14 days Aged Duck, grilled duck heart, aubergine puree, grilled oyster mushroom and duck jus. I am typically not very excited to see duck breast, but this duck breast is surprisingly delicious. It spots a crispy skin and the aging made it more flavourful where the duck is seasoned with a wild spice from Thailand.
The grilled duck heart is not as gamy as I thought, and I love the delicious duck jus tempered with sherry vinegar.
For dessert, it is named the Fruit and there are two parts to it. The first part of the dessert is Longan sherbet with dried longan pudding, poached longan and pickled Thai basil.
The second part is Soursop sorbet with love letters cooked over charcoal, citrus meringue and prik pao. I find this quite an interesting combination especially with the addition of the crispy love letters crackers which are made in-house.
Rants Not an obvious location to find if you did not do any research on how to get here. The bathroom is also located at the end of the restaurant, so you would also get diners from 808 Eating House walking through Province to get to the bathroom which could be a tad distracting.
Will I Return Again? Province is a pretty promising new concept where there are some interesting mix of regional South-East Asian ingredients in each dish. At its current price, it is good value if you want to try a tasting menu in Singapore, and it also helps that Chef Law is very passionate about his craft.
Make your reservation instantly at 808 Eating House here.
This was an invited tasting, though all opinions expressed are our own.
Taste bud: 4/5
Hole in the pocket: 4/5
Overall Experience: 4/5
153 Joo Chiat Road
Tuesday to Friday: 6.15pm to 8.15pm; 8.30pm to 10.30pm
Saturday: 12.30pm to 2pm; 6.15pm to 8.15pm; 8.30pm to 10.30pm
Closed on Monday and Sunday
Ranted by The Ranter