Duxton Hill has a particular feel. It’s almost as if the air is clearer and the colours, brighter. Part of the appeal is its cobblestoned walkways, rare for Singapore. There aren’t many tall buildings, either, with local architecture dominated by 2-storey heritage shophouses. Thirty9 Mediterranean Kitchen and Bar fits right in.
Thirty9 Mediterranean Kitchen and Bar is one of the latest additions to invigorate the local dining scene. Throwing open its doors to the public on 31 Oct 2022, the restaurant has been enticing curious guests with a penchant for casual yet chic dining.
Right next door to its sister restaurant, the wildly popular Italian restaurant Latteria Mozzarella Bar, Thirty9 Mediterranean Kitchen and Bar is living up to the high expectations.
On the outside, it is an immaculately-conserved white shophouse. Signage is minimal, with the establishment relying on word of mouth rather than garish signs and lights.
Inside, the décor is typically Duxton— classy and understated.
What I tried at Thirty9 Mediterranean Kitchen and Bar
I skimmed through the menu. It regaled me with promises of delicious tapas, Napoli-style pizza and pasta, as well as a broad wine selection. With the open show kitchen just behind our table, I savoured the prospect of watching the talented chefs in action.
Mediterranean cuisine has a love affair with meat and so, I was surprised to find almost 15 vegetarian options, too.
First to our table was the bread basket. Visually striking for the bright red tomato at the centre, the circular bruschetta was divine by taste, too. The cubes of focaccia were pillowy soft and perfect for the olive oil served alongside. With a start as marvellous as this, we knew we were in for a treat.
We began with Tapas.
Bruschetta Tonnato (S$16) is poached beef loin topped with tuna sauce and black truffle. The tuna sauce was unbelievably rich and gave the thin slice of meat an extra dimension of taste.
The Bruschetta bread was as delicious as that of the bread basket. Really, all the bread at Thirty9 Mediterranean Kitchen and Bar is simply superb. Every loaf is baked in-house daily using only organic Italian 00 flour.
It was served with the handmade Focaccia Peperoni Burrata (S$12) of Genovese focaccia, peperonata and burrata cheese. If possible, it was even more wondrous than the Bruschetta Tonnato. I have always been a huge fan of burrata and this restaurant does it as well as any I have tasted in Singapore.
Keen to delight us next was the Polpo (S$32) appetiser. This is grilled octopus seasoned with paprika on a bed of chickpea sauce, accompanied by chorizo, rocket and sun-dried tomatoes. The octopus had less of a chewy texture than I expected. With the seasoning, it was stellar.
However, the real star was the chickpea sauce. I was vegetarian for almost 20 years and chickpeas were my staple. In all that time, I never came across a creation with such wonderful depth of flavour. Truly magical. We could hardly wait for the mains.
From the Homemade Pasta section of the menu came Fusilli Ragu Napoletano (S$34). It is Napoli-style pork and beef ragout, and basil topped with Parmigiano Reggiano, all served in homemade Fusilli pasta.
You’ve had Fusilli before, you say? My friend, this is not the clinical, machine-produced corkscrew Fusilli most of us are familiar with. No, this is the authentic traditional version rolled by hand individually each day in the kitchen.
I wouldn’t have thought it, but you can taste the difference. This pasta is easily among the best I have tried in all of Singapore. It’s amazing how the nature and character of the pasta used can transform the taste of an entire dish.
We weren’t fortunate enough to sample the highlight of the pasta menu, Gigli & Gamberi (S$36). This dish brings together red prawns, garlic, lemon, cherry tomato, zucchini and mint. It is served with an irresistible homemade Gigli pasta in the shape of an elegant Lily flower.
You can opt for a Half Boston Lobster (S$36) with any order from the Homemade Pasta menu.
It would be sacrilege to visit a restaurant with the Italian finesse of Thirty9 Mediterranean Kitchen and Bar without having pizza. We tried the Broccoli (S$25), one of the 2 vegetarian options.
This pizza brings a wondrous infusion of colour to the table. Mesmerising green from the spicy broccoli sauce, brilliant red from the cherry tomato, and dazzling white from buffalo milk mozzarella, it resembles the Italian flag but with black olives sprinkled about.
Full of flavour, rich in texture and exuding a wonderful aroma, this pizza was a delight for the senses. I would not have thought so, but despite being thin, it was also filling.
My one gripe would be the condensation from the heat of the pizza on the cool plate. Then, there is the liquid from the ingredients. It all pools underneath the pizza. If you take your time to indulge, you will end up with some soggy slices.
The first Main we tried was the Costolette Di Agnello (S$58). It is an artistic creation of New Zealand Merino lamb rack covered in an intriguingly texture-rich pistachio crust. Doused lightly in mint sauce and served with asparagus and baby potatoes, it quickly became our favourite of the night. That said, the night was still young.
Our second Main was Pollo (S$38), oven roasted spring chicken. Somehow, the meat was magically tender, flaking away from the bone with the gentlest touch. While the baby potatoes and green peppers were pleasant, it was the apple chutney that made this extra special.
If you are up for an especially decadent dose of protein, try the Costata Di Manzo (1-1.3kg) (S$188) grilled Australian beef tomahawk.
For dessert, we had Turkish Baklava (S$8). The familiar phyllo pastry is served drizzled with pistache and topped with lemon sorbet. My dining companion is not a fan of flaky pastry so I had the sublimely sweet baklava all to myself. Winning!
The highlight of the dessert menu, though, is the Applestrudel (S$16). While we did not try it for ourselves, we hear that the combination of apple, raisins, pine nuts and cinnamon served with vanilla English cream is worth returning for. So, I shall.
Thirty9 Mediterranean Kitchen and Bar serves iconic dishes made from premium ingredients, paired with an exceptional wine collection. (Happy Hour is 5pm – 7pm, Mon to Thu)
Mediterranean restaurants are not particularly rare in Singapore. However, the masterful way in which the talented team behind the kitchen doors coaxed out the cuisine’s unique flavours here was a revelation.
Duxton Hill’s latest resident is an excellent addition to the already-notable local culinary destination. Highly recommended.
Expected damage: S$50- S$150 per pax
* This article was brought to you in partnership with Thirty9 Mediterranean Kitchen and Bar.
Other articles you may like: