*This restaurant has since closed down.
I am a guy; so imagine how socially awkward it was when I approached my local magazine stand (a fancy term for Mama shop) and ask for this month’s copy of Her World magazine. (I do respect, in fact – admire, a guy’s decision and guts to cross-dress, but I never quite shared the same interest.)
In this October issue of Her World, they feature a list of coupons that entitles you to 2-for-1 deals. Being the food enthusiast that I am, how could I resist such a deal? Skimming through the list of restaurants, The Jackson Plan caught my eye. I’ve heard its name brought up over the dinner table a couple of times and I’ve seen the restaurant around, but never once had the opportunity to dine there. So with my trusty ‘kiasu-ness’, I immediately cut out the coupon and made plans for dinner.
The restaurant is located along Duxton Hill. I advice you to drive if possible; there is ample parking at Craig Place. Duxton hill is similar to Dempsey Hill – filled with treasure trove of restaurants, but hugely inaccessible by public transport, excluding taxis.
We were warmly greeted at the restaurant by the friendly staff – always a good start to a dining experience. Oddly, the restaurant had only 2 other patrons though it was already 7.30 in the evening. Perhaps this was because it was a Tuesday night. Opt for dining outdoors if possible – we were only aware of their beautiful alfresco dining area when we were leaving.
We began the night with a small glass of Pilsner beer as it was Happy Hour. Light and refreshing, the beer was every bit worth the $5. Just to note, the drinks list for Happy Hour is obscenely cheap! I definitely recommend you making your money’s worth from 5-8pm.
The first starter to arrive was the Crab cake served with quail eggs and anchovy cream. I was blown away. The presentation of the dish was delightful. The quail eggs were cooked bull’s-eye style, and set neatly on top of each crab cake. As one cuts into the crab cake, the yolk of the quail egg mixes with the crabmeat filling and anchovy cream to create a smooth texture on your palate. The crabmeat filling was aptly sweet, and the outside batter lightly fried. The dish offered a great combination of the 3 ingredients.
The only setback was that the rich anchovy cream became a tad overwhelming by the 3rd crab cake. It kind of reminds me of McDonald’s hot cakes breakfast meal – definitely not comparable in taste, but the first pancake is always a burst of flavors in the mouth, but by the 3rd pancake you are left wondering why didn’t you settle for a Happy Meal instead.
For the mains, the set menu offered a choice of Spiced lamb, or Scallops with cauliflower. Being a protein junkie, I opted for the Spiced lamb; my dinner companion was nice enough to order the Scallops so that we may taste both of the mains.
The Spiced lamb definitely offered more bang for the buck. The chef was generous with his serving portion of the lamb. The meat was cooked well – there was no overpowering gamey taste often present in lamb, which usually requires it to be cooked for a longer period of time. However, the slices of lamb remained juicy and tender, and accompanied the flavorful rice perfectly. The dish, however, was not served with a spoon. Try eating rice with a fork and you’d be thankful the spoon was invented.
The Scallop dish bore a strong resemblance to the Crab cake starter. The scallops were not immensely fresh, but neither was it stale. It was just… okay. The cauliflowers that accompanied were a tad too hard for crunch. Perhaps the Chef may like to consider serving the cauliflowers like pommes noisette – a softer style that still retains its taste. And the green pea mash? I honestly don’t think it made a difference to the dish.
Dessert was a Sticky toffee pudding that was served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Do not be fooled by the mediocre look of the dessert. Maybe by dessert the chef got lazy, but whatever the reason may be, the dessert was good. The spongy pudding went well with the ice cream and toffee bath.
While I liked the dessert, I could have been writing this from a sugar high. The 3 components of the dessert – toffee, ice cream and pudding, were all of sweet nature. The dessert may not have offered a balance of taste, but I liked it nonetheless. I didn’t finish the dessert because I value my waistline more than my tongue.
Looking past the absence of brown sugar for coffee and a mix-up with my orders, the dinner set menu priced at $52 ++ remains a great bargain when using the discount coupon. Ordering the dishes a la carte would cost you a mere $7.40 more excluding service charge and GST. If you’re not willing to take a gamble on the dessert, or should you not be a huge fan of lamb, I would suggest going for a la carte instead. Despite minor set backs, I left the restaurant with a good impression. Definitely worth a return as I am curious to attempt the Chef’s other creations.
Did it turn us on? Yes, it did! Now, if only we could share some to light up the ill-lit restaurant.
As we value honesty and integrity here at Six&Seven, all food reviews have been paid for by our writers.
The Jackson Plan
40 Duxton Hill
Lunch: Mondays – Fridays, 12pm – 2.30pm
Dinner: Mondays – Saturdays, 6pm – 11pm