Six Senses Maxwell, which opened in December last year after its sister site Six Senses Duxton launched last April, is a beaut to behold. Its minimalistic facade may not tower over you in a grand fashion — heck, we’ve walked past multiple times and failed to notice it — but once you’ve stepped through the doors, the place is warm and welcoming in a way that’s posh without crossing the line into snobby territory.
The boutique hotel’s elegant interiors lead you past the lobby into Cook & Tras Social Library, a quiet, cozy space where you can have a bite to eat while surrounded by shelves of more than 3,000 titles from the UK’s Ultimate Library, covering topics from wellness and nutrition to natural history and climate change.
It’s classy but not showy with its dark woods, patterned carpets, and plush chairs, almost like you’re dining in the home of a friend who enjoys the finer things in life, coupled with a good book.
Previously catering mostly to hotel guests with breakfast and bar bites, the restaurant recently launched a full food menu based on what it calls “Straits Heritage and Southern European” cuisines. At the helm is executive chef Ian Mancais, who has fed the royal families in England and Dubai, and served as consultant for the world’s first all-glass undersea restaurant Ithaa at the Conrad Rangali Maldives Island resort.
In line with the brand’s Eat With Six Senses program, he takes a slant towards sustainable, organic, and local produce in a menu that strives for clean eating and healthy dishes. For a light start, the plate of vine tomatoes and mixed melon ($22) is topped with refreshing citrus granita, dollops of burrata, and lemon balm vinaigrette, while the Alive & Inspired ($22) dish appeals to kale lovers with its mix of baby spinach, avocado, papaya, and kombucha dressing.
When it comes to signature mains, the steak chimichurri doesn’t disappoint — you can choose your cut from options like tenderloin ($65), ribeye ($55), or sirloin ($45), and each plate is served with juicy confit cherry tomatoes, a fragrant scoop of roast garlic purée that you can slather all over your meat, and stalks of asparagus.
The kitchen’s baked barramundi ($28) is another star — especially if you don’t want to be bogged down by a post-lunch food coma — with its slab of fork tender fish that sits on a bed of yogurt and pickled pineapple achar, which provides a tangy break between bites.
But don’t brush past the Asian selection either; the sticks of Iberico pork satay ($9) are as tender and generously chunky as they come, rubbed in a turmeric marinate and accompanied by rich peanut sauce, ketupat kicap manis, and achar. Plus, the Nonya-style chicken meatballs ($9), studded with chunks of tofu, are paired with a bowl of rice to make a simple, hearty meal.
Cook & Tras’ menu, as extensive as it is, also features a variety of soups, sandwiches, pastas, pizzas, and burgers for those who prefer to stick to what they know. But when it comes to sweets, we recommend you try the Red & Keep Popping ($16), a bite-sized treat that bursts in your mouth with the tart flavors of sour plum, hibiscus, and osmanthus. Just like its name suggests, you may not be able to stop at one — good thing it’s not the heavy, cloying type of dessert.
For a grand end to the meal, the Camp Fire S’mores ($20) is a show in itself, arriving in an enclosed glass casing filled with smoke. It’s just the right amount of rich and creamy, and each nibble of the torched marshmallow that’s wrapped around chocolate, vanilla ice cream, and a crumbly base is tinged with a pleasant smokiness, gloriously elevating the dish from its humble origins.
But then again, if you’re all about classic comfort food, the warm chocolate chip cookies ($16) with an ice cream pairing ought to bring back some carefree memories.
Cook & Tras Social Library is at the ground floor of Six Senses Maxwell, 2 Cook St.
6914-1421. Daily 11am-midnight.
MRT: Chinatown/Tanjong Pagar