As Singaporeans, we have great pride in our local food — both, for variety and flavours. Chef Justin Quek is one of the pioneers of in the realm of local celebrity chefs, and his new dining concept JustIN Flavours Of Asia at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands sees this celebration of familiar favourites, elevated with prime ingredients.
As the only one of its kind, this casual eatery sits on top of his higher-end Chinoiserie and looks out to the Singapore River, so you can idle your time away with scrumptious food and people-watching.
Chef Justin’s philosophy is to use simple ingredients, and allow them to shine through in his own renditions of classic Singaporean dishes.
A great snack to munch on is the Wok Fried Angus Short Ribs (S$20), peppered in sea salt, garlic and chilli. I don’t think I’ve ever tried beef prepared this way before, so my initial preconception was that it’d be a greasy, overly fatty bite.
It was anything but. It was succulent, yet crispy. In fact, it wasn’t even remotely greasy on the palate; it was simply savoury, subtly spicy and hearty. I could get used to wok-frying my beef from now on.
Another popular dish that Chef Justin personally recommended was the Charcoal-Grilled New Zealand Lamb Leg Satay (S$18, for six sticks). Expect all meat and no fillers. I can personally vouch for these meat pops as you’ll find yourself struggling to accept any other satay after taking a bite of this.
Not only was the lamb a great balance of tender and chewy, the crunchy peanut sauce was highly addictive. I normally don’t make an effort to finish the sauce, but this time, I found myself trying to find any and all excuses to dip my food in the luscious gravy.
Every now and then, JustIN Flavours Of Asia serves diners a special that is seasonal (and of course one of the freshest catches of the day!).
I was fortunate to be able to dig into Sambal Squid (off menu, seasonal price), slathered in Chef Justin’s homemade sambal sauce. His take leans towards the sweeter side, and less spicy. I wish it had more of a kick to it, and that the squid was fried to a crisp. But of course, all that is a preference.
What I like about this place thus far is that the dishes don’t aim to be anything more than what they are; they stay true to its original identity, save for minor swaps in ingredients.
Take the Prawns and Doroc Pork Shaomai with Tobiko (S$8) for example. Who knew this elementary dish could be transformed into something even more delicious than the original?
I absolutely enjoyed how the salty tobiko brought out the rich flavour of the minced pork, while the scallop added a nice touch of salinity.
Looking for something a little more comforting? Chef Justin’s signature Prawn And Pork Belly Noodle Soup (S$16) will give you all the feels.
Loaded with fish cakes and prawns, the broth is boiled for at least two hours with pork bones and prawn shells.
There was a mix of yellow noodles and bee hoon, which I really enjoyed. The soup was flavourful and the sweetness of the prawns was really potent.
The only drawback of this dish was the obvious slick of oil that stayed afloat. But with its great depth of flavour, I could easily pay it no mind.
Our national love for seafood is undoubtedly exemplified by chilli crab, but here, you can get your hands dirty with the restaurant’s unique Live Mud Crab (Kampot White Pepper) (market price). Its size is perfect for one hungry diner, or two to share.
The crab tasted sensationally sweet, and the flesh effortlessly peeled away from its shell. The kampot white pepper was, needless to say, quite strong and lent an aromatic and smoky element to the dish.
It was the first time I actually finished an entire crab solo, proving that it was a heavenly dish, to say the least!
Get your fill of fibre with Seasonal Oriental Greens (S$15), which actually aided in dousing a wee bit of the heat from the crab dish.
Stir-fried simply with garlic and onions, it’s the kind of accompaniment that one would have with a steaming bowl of rice. No frills, and straight up heart-warming.
Prior to the meal, I was already looking forward to giving their Durian Crème Brulee (S$12) a go, and I was not disappointed at all.
It’s a portion perfect for sharing, and the sweet smell of sugar and durian temptingly wafted as it was placed on the table.
The texture was a smooth custard, and for someone who’s a mega fan of the king of fruits, this dessert certainly hit the sweet spot!
I can’t recommend this treat enough to those who wish to take advantage of the fruit’s surplus season that we’re enjoying this year.
Now, who would turn down banana and ice cream? Their Goreng Pisang “Split” (S$15) comes with crispy banana fritter, Salted Gula Java ice cream, vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce and caramelised crispy rice.
The batter was surprisingly light and airy, while the Salted Gula Java ice cream was quite decadent — just the way I like it. Altogether, this dessert is for when you really feel like indulging and being unapologetic about it.
The appeal of JustIN Flavours Of Asia isn’t only made for tourists. As someone who’s born and bred here, I would gladly return when I want to tuck into a meal of local favourites while soaking in the view of one of the best skylines in the region.
Expected damage: S$30 – S$50 per pax
JustIN Flavours Of Asia: 2 Bayfront Avenue, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, Bay Level, L1-83, Singapore 018972 | Tel: +65 6688 7722 | Opening hours: (Mon – Fri) 10am – late, (Sat & Sun) 9am – late | Website
*This post was brought to you in collaboration with The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
Thanks for reading the article. Share if you enjoyed!