13 Duxton Hill Chicken Liver

{CLOSED} Thirteen Duxton Hill – Now renamed to Thirteen Hectares of Nutmeg!

{Update: 24 March 2017}

Despite its promising beginnings, this was a short-lived venture, and Thirteen Hectares of Nutmeg is now permanently closed.

{Original Post: Published 29 January 2017}

I don’t quite know where to start with Thirteen Duxton Hill. Perhaps I’m a sucker for social-media savvy sommeliers posing as front of house starlets, tripling up as the best reservations manager you will find in town.

13 Duxton Hill Exterior

13 Duxton Hill Interior

Or maybe it’s the “upcycled” (I really hate that word but at 13 Duxton Hill, it’s rather irreverent in all its ingenuity, so I’m loving it) décor of the restaurant. We’re talking tungsten bulbs, lovingly wrapped with baking paper, held together by wooden clothes pegs.

Or maybe it’s the wait staff – having stolen the aprons from the Tippling Club, I must applaud their brazen thievery.

Or maybe, just maybe, it’s the food.

The food! Splendid, marvellous, at times mind-boggling, it’s bringing out the nasty, unedited, superlative hurler in me.

With an ever-changing menu of 13 dishes, depending on what Chef JP finds at the wet markets (actually, I told Sally the sommelier/reservations manager/social media starlet that Tekka market is the place for old-skool street cred, call me if you wanna go, yeah?), you might not find the dishes below, but you’ll get a feel for his inventive style, anyway.

13 Duxton Hill Menu

We’re lazy and usually go for the degustation option, so here – it’s a reasonable (please keep it so!) $66 per person for around 6-courses. Around because I think we ended up with 8 dishes, but it’s really dependent on what they have on that day. Maybe they had expiring ingredients to get rid of, lucky me. Kidding!

First up, Corn, Prawn, Cocao. You smell the accompanying warm, buttery croissant first, which serves as an excellent sponge to mop up the prawn head butter that’s liberally splashed across the dish. The prawn head flavour is barely discernable which is probably a good thing for most people, but I wouldn’t have minded a punchier taste.

13 Duxton Hill Corn Croissant

13 Duxton Hill Corn

Then, one of the stars of the night – Chicken Liver, Plum, Beetroot and Shiso. What a medley of brilliant flavours that was! Sour, sweet, bitter balance so well with the robust, rich taste of chicken liver pate and my favourite element was the ruby-red crystal shards of beetroot. Idea – bag it up as crisps and sell it to us?

13 Duxton Hill Chicken Liver

Following that, slivers of Tuna in a Fermented Chicken stock jelly – the tuna had been dressed by fish head “oil” drippings – don’t ask, just note that together with the spring onions, the dish had a strangely familiar taste, like eating chicken rice but with tuna.

13 Duxton Hill Tuna

Actually this theme of confounding and yet strangely familiar flavours recurred throughout the meal for me, and maybe, this is the reason why I find Thirteen Duxton Hill so compelling.

On to the fourth course – Chook, Flowering Greens, Seeds. The chicken breast was tender, moist and more of that fermented chicken stock accompanied the dish. Normally I hate repeats of sauces, but the sauce was sparingly used here, just a slight drizzle to enhance the flavour of the chook.

13 Duxton Hill Chicken

We were gearing up for the red meat of the meal, when an ink-slathered Pomfret appeared before us. Where’s the beef, lady, I ordered my red wine specifically for the beef, why am I getting fish, yo – was what I wanted to ask Sally.

Instead I patiently waited for her to finish presenting the dish before diplomatically asking, “oh I thought we were going to have beef” to which she replied “oh yes, you get that too. This is just an extra.”

Well, all right then! And yum! Fish + squid-ink curry = flavour bomb! And so happy that they proved me and my Masterchef Australia-influenced thoughts about aussies and their fear of a whole fish staring down at them wrong. No fillets, no worries!

13 Duxton Hill Fish

And at the risk of sounding like a broken record, next up was the very tender and delicious Beef with malt vinegar butter. That butter! So caramelized, so malty – again, do you want to bottle it up and sell it?

13 Duxton Hill Beef

We were pretty stuffed by now but as always, dessert has its own compartment in our bellies, so we were eagerly awaiting our chocolate treat when a fluffy, snowy dish appeared.

After a verbal description of the Sunflower Ice Cream and how the snow is actually olive oil, using terms like citric acid (which obviously went over my head), I dug in, only to reveal a gloriously oozy egg yolk.

Thing is, I don’t like gloriously oozy egg yolks – well, not in my desserts at least, but for those who are into this, you will love it.

13 Duxton Hill Egg Yolk dessert

13 Duxton Hill Egg Yolk dessert 1

I was smitten by the Chocolate and Black Sesame though. A mischievous little dish, hiding my pot of 55% chocolate beneath marshmallowy meringue, once again, flavours and memories from absolutely unrelated experiences came to the fore. Primarily, one of leaving an Indian restaurant, where you enjoy some mukhwas – that aniseedy, sweetish, floral spice mix that aids digestion and freshens breath.

13 Duxton Hill Ginger Beer and dessert

13 Duxton Hill Chocolate dessert

Coupled with zingy, very au naturel tasting ginger beer, it was a perfect end to what I genuinely believe is a gem of a find in Singapore! Long live Thirteen Duxton Hill.

Thirteen Duxton Hill:

Address: 13 Duxton Hill

Contact: 9054 1435 or hello@thirteenduxtonhill.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thirteenduxtonhill/

Opening hours: Open every day except Sunday. Call, message or check online for latest updates on timings.

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