Eat well and support young local culinary talent at Magic Square, a pop-up concept that’s well worth checking out if you love your food. The mastermind behind this unique dining experience is Tan Ken Loon of The Naked Finn and Nekkid Bar. Tan wanted to create a platform for hardworking chefs under the age of 30 to hone their talents and expand on their creativity, so he took over a homey space on Portsdown Road, and now each month a different chef creates a 9-course menu for the lucky few who snag bookings.
We gathered a few peeps on a Tuesday night and made our way down to the unassuming space right next to Pietrasanta. It’s pretty no-frills with just an open kitchen, a long communal table that can seat up to 18 people, and an large space in the back with a bunk-bed that makes it seem like you’re in a friend’s studio apartment. There are two seatings available from 6pm to 8pm and 8:15pm to 10:15pm, and they won’t start the ‘magic’ until the whole party arrives.
Our chef for the evening was Desmond Shen, who has prior experience working at big-name dining destinations like Odette in the National Gallery and Blackwattle. The omakase-style meal was just awesome with a vibrant mix of Peranakan, Malaysian, Singaporean, and Indian flavours to each dish. Highlights for us included the umami-packed Aomori rice beef tartare tossed with XO sauce and the black-barred halfbeak fish that was cured and dried in house, then stuffed and char-grilled.
The dining experience is communal, which we didn’t mind, but our dining companions didn’t want to chat much. Some music would have been great to ease the mood. We had the early booking and had to be out by 8pm, so if you want to relax and linger a bit longer, the later seating might be a better option. Also, it should be noted that Magic Square will only be around for a year, so book in now while you can. We suggest gathering a group of 18 if you can and booking out the whole space so you can have your own private party.
This is a fabulous experience for die-hard foodies, as the dinner goes for just $78++ per person, which is amazing value considering the chefs are super talented, the produce is fresh and locally sourced, and the innovation is off the hook.
Magic Square, 5B Portsdown Road #01-02, Singapore 139311. +65 8181 0102. Open Tues – Sat 6pm – 8pm, 8:15pm – 10:15pm