A church mate and I wanted to try something off the beaten track for dinner one evening but we didn’t expect it was going to be that tough to find Gemmills. Technically its address is 110 Amoy Street but to locate its entrance, you need to first get into Amoy Alley, then turn right into a back alley off Gemmill Lane to find this quaint little wine bar that serves all-day dining.
The place was small and dim, but still rather charming thanks to its rustic decor. Tables are tiny too and we reckoned Gemmills is more popular as a place to wine rather than to dine. Its one-page Mediterranean-influenced menu is not extensive, not exactly cheap either, but fascinating nonetheless. Half of it were appetizers priced between SGD$6-$12, most seem very vegetarian (albeit healthy sounding), and “meaty” main courses ($18-32) seem to comprise mainly two fish dishes ($32) and one whole roast chicken ($50). Besides desserts (@$12), there is a decent selection of wines, cocktails, beers and ciders, juices, gourmet coffee and tea.
Since it’s a wine place, we kicked off with the house wines which were just $10 per glass during Happy Hour (5-7pm, Mon to Thu). I love my red but my friend’s white was quite bland. Luckily they served water as well so my pal was happy to go with that thereafter, while I had another glass of red.
As one of our starters, we ordered a House Baked Sourdough ($6) served with herbal butter which was quite nice. Although the crust was hard as rock, the inside was super soft and tasted really yummy with the butter.
We also had the Cold Cuts Board ($18) which was actually sufficient as a dish by itself. Lots of delicious slices of different kinds of ham, a generous dosh of salad, and even came with sourdough bread. Service was on the whole great but we felt that the waiter could have helped by letting us know how big the portions for each dish is, and – as there is bread with the cold cuts board – that we may not need to order a separate bread item (unless we wanted to). Still, they were considerate enough to give us two tables considering the amount of food we ordered. As you can see, the platter above plus our wines took up a whole table by itself. I’m not kidding when I say the tables are small…
We also had an Endive Salad ($10), a neat medium-sized bowl piled to the brim with slices of endives, hazel nuts, feta cheese and burnt honey. I don’t think I ever ate an endive in my iife but for this carnivore, this salad was one of the best “cow food” I’ve ever eaten. Crunchy, sweet, tangy and fragrant, just so many flavors in one dish.
Being a carnivore, I would have gone for the roast chicken item but at $50 and a whole chicken at that, there was no way the two of us could finish it. So instead we went for the Barramundi ($32) served with acid onions, leeks and salmarejo. The portion was so small – it was less than 2-in square – both of us were glad we didn’t order this as a main each! And the wood plate itself – gorgeous as it is – took up a quarter of the table! All said, the fish was very very well-cooked, thankfully. Soft, fresh and extremely tasty. For the price though, we could have order two or three other appetizers.
All in all, the quality of the food and the quaint ambience – dim as it was, I assume it’s brighter in the day – made Gemmills a nice experience. We were later told by the waitress that it’s managed by the same people who also runs Maggie Joan’s next door and Moosehead. Cool, two more places with good food (we assume) to try out in future then.
Gemmills is at 110 Amoy Street, #01-02 (entrance via Gemmill Lane). Opens 12nn-11pm (Mon-Thu), 10am-12mn (Fri) and 6pm-11pm (Sat). Closed on Sundays.