Alma by Juan Amador sprouts from a series of cosmic events

Publications company owned? The Birds of America reprints on the walls? Chef Haikal who previously helmed the Water Library in Bangkok? The first ever four-hand kitchen collaboration with Chef Dan Barker of Upstairs at Mikkeller? Wait. How does three-Michelin-starred German chef Juan Amador even come into the picture?

Dining at Alma was as much a palate titillating experience as it was enlightening - the stories that unfolded over lunch extending to all facets of business. And despite the mind boggling series of cosmic events that have resulted in this manifestation of this Michelin-starred restaurant located with direct access to the car park of Goodwood Park Hotel (a bonus when hosting VVIPs ), I was intent on displacing the romanticism of the stories overheard and focusing on the food itself.

In a rather interesting collaboration of 2 culinary minds, Haikal Johari of Alma and Dan Bark of Upstairs at Mikkeller (1-star Michelin) have come together to blend their diverse culinary approach to food, to form a harmonious menu. Often, I would arrive at restaurants armed with just enough background information to form expectations. However, this time, I threw caution to the wind... and through this unhinged approach, was able to enjoy the surprises put out by both chefs. At the end of lunch, I had but one word to describe the meal. Euphonic, the courses so mellifluent that one would not have guessed there were two masterminds behind the dishes unless reading the indicator - the brassy headliner on the table menu.

I'm not one to usually mention the complimentary bread course; but Alma's rendition was one that I was particularly enthusiastic about. Warm potato bread jazzed with coffee grounds and oats are nestled in a wooden box of warm coffee beans that imbue the pillows with the scent of black gold. You'll accompany this with smears of French butter, that will transport you to flavour town.

Our opening course of "Ikura", is a frothy lagoon of celery root puree seasoned with sea salt and topped with ikura. Cold pickled pearl onion and baguette crisps bringing 'crunch' to its' textural make-up. It's light, sprightly, there's something surprisingly righteous about tucking into something that incongruous.

Nothing about the culinary trip was creamy or heavy, allowing for the palate to luxuriate in a seesaw of flavours ranging from piquant to tangy acidity. King Crab is melded with coconut puree, blobs of calamansi gel, pickled cucumber, rice berry puffs and cucumber granita. The right side of refreshing, with a delicate cure from the cucumber strips which leaves just enough room for a little fishiness from the crab to shine.

The Duroc D'Olives Pork is a gentle intervention from the procession of light and invigorating courses. Raised on a sophisticated diet of olive oil and olives, the resultant is a pork that is wonderfully soft and tender with the enhancements of lower cholesterol. Apprehensive initially about these characteristics, first bite called me a convert. The Duroc pork loin is slow cooked and drizzled with a pork consomme whilst a side serve of rib is glazed with gochujang - both of which are textbook case of what pork in its purest form should taste like. This is rimmed by Japanese sweet potato dauphinoise, smoked date puree and a dumpling of Japanese radish stuffed with onion puree. There's nothing mundane about this dish and it becomes clear that the whole point of the menu is that you can't make it at home. The endless 'to-do-list' probably capable of driving the most methodical person round the bend.

Needless to say, dessert was a triumph. Lychee mochi is presented alongside pistachio cream, tuille and cherry sorbet. A silken punch of toasted rice milk grounding the luxe dish with the profound pleasures of the homely childhood beverage.

Despite the relative 'weightlessness' of the meal, still, one feels like a bigger person afterwards for enduring all this boldness.


As part of the Singapore Food Festival, Alma by Juan Amador will be working together with Chef Emmanuel Stroobant of Saint Pierre in creating a five-course extravaganza to highlight their Singapore inspired culinary journeys. The 5-course menu as part of the 2-day long STREAT, is now available for an early bird price of just $55 (U.P. $60 nett). Visit to reserve your hot seats!

Alma by Juan Amador
22 Scotts Road
t: 6735 9937
Reservations: Quandoo

Operating Hours:
Mon - Fri: 12 -2pm; 6 - 9 30pm
Sat: 6 - 9 30pm
Sun: Closed

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