JUSTIN | Chef Justin Quek’s New Gastro Cafe-Bar in TANGS Plaza
Acclaimed celebrity chef, Chef Justin Quek embarks on a new chapter by opening a gastro cafe-bar JUSTIN at TANGS Plaza. Just opened in August 2023, Chef Justin brings back his signature dishes for diners to enjoy throughout the day. There is a gastro-brunch menu focussing on brunch / cafe type food as well as an ala carte menu with mains that draw inspiration from French recipes and local fares.
Just as we settled in, we thought of trying a couple of light bites from their “light bar snacks” menu. These poached live conch snails ($13) are de-shelled and paired with a thai style nam tok dip sauce. Chewy, zesty flavours and unlike the other bar bites you usually see.
My dining partner liked these charcoal grilled chicken gizzard skewers ($10 for 2 sticks) and said that the xinjiang spice that these gizzard skewers were marinated in make these sticks slightly spicy and easy to pair with drinks. I stuck to the live conch snails since I do not take innards well.
From the brunch menu, we had these eggs benedict with smoked salmon ($28). Chef shared with us that the eggs were organic and specially sourced hence the rich yellow hue. Taste wise we thought that they tasted like regular eggs, but that egg yolk that melds everything together is tough to resist.
We got the Giant Grouper Carpaccio Mi-Cut ($30) from the starters section. It was a pretty sight when served, a little garden with bright colours. The grouper was fleshy and did not give off any fishy aftertaste. The tanginess from the tomatoes and saltiness from the ikura complements the fresh cucumber.
My favourite dish was the crispy soft shell crab with korean glass noodle ($30). Expect glass noodle (the thicker sort you see in korean japchae) cooked thai-style (black pepper) and generous amounts of crabmeat. We thought the portion for this could be slightly larger since it is meant to be a main. Otherwise, the flavours were on point.
Look at how these glistening wok-kissed noodles!
I admit being a noodles person so I had to try the Prawn Tempura Ramen ($18). The prawn broth is very rich, simmered with kurobuta pork and pork ribs. Topped with fried prawns. Chef Justin also chose broader noodles instead of the usual yellow noodles, so there is no alkaline aftertaste.
Apart from the glass noodles, the desserts are also a standout here. The flourless souffle ($18 for 2 pax) with grand mariner is a must-order (despite the waiting time for it to be freshly baked).
It was so soft and fluffy – a cloud-like texture that melts once you bite into it.
The dessert that I’ll come back specially for are these financiers. You can smell them before they even reach your table. The buttery scent whilst the ground almond flour gave this toasty nutty flavour – it’s difficult to stop at one. Check out JUSTIN the next time you’re in town – it’s located at Level 4 of Tangs Plaza, a convenient pit stop after you’re done shopping. Budget per person: $30 to $40