Monday, October 24, 2016

Wild Rocket (Singapore, SINGAPORE) ★★★★☆

Three days into our trip but we're still awaiting our first Singaporean food experience. While everyone is fully expecting Singaporean cuisine tonight, I decided to throw them a curveball. Instead of the authentic Singaporean food (yawn~) we have all grown to love (or hate), I'm bringing everyone to get their first taste of "Mod-Sin" (modern Singaporean) this evening.

Dubbed as the father of "Mod-Sin", chef Willin Low is the owner-chef of Wild Rocket, an Asia Best 50 restaurant in 2016 (ranked 38th) and one of the most highly acclaimed Mod-Sin restaurant out there. That's where we're heading for our last supper on this trip.

Located on top of Mount Emily, I thought Wild Rocket would be an easy find especially when we were coming by taxi but that turned out to be an adventure as neither of our two taxi drivers knew where it was (we were taking taxis from two separate locations). Luckily, Google Map came to our rescue and we managed to find Hangout Hotel where Wild Rocket is housed.

Wild Rocket can be found on the ground floor of the HangOut Hotel.

This looks more like a modern Japanese restaurant with all the wooden furniture at first glance.

If I'm not here with mom and my nugget, I would most definitely sit at the bar table simply because it would look much cooler sitting there!

The food menu was simple enough with just 13 items on it so it didn't take long for us to nail down what we wanted.

Firstly, a small spring onion brioche to begin our "Mod-Sin" journey.

We were off to a rocky start with our lone appetizer of the night. This was a very plain pomelo salad with tiger prawns. They tried to make it interesting with a frozen coconut dressing (like a savory ice-cream) but it just didn't get the job done.

They were slowly turning the corner with the pasta dishes starting with this tau yew bah soy sauce pork ragout rigatoni with parmesan chips and cherry tomatoes. The wonderful combination of soy sauce pork ragout and rigatoni pasta really caught me by surprise.

But there was no question who the star of the evening was and that honor belonged to the second pasta dish, nori tsukudani spaghettini with king prawn. Billed as the house specialty of Wild Rocket, it certainly did not disappoint. I was absolutely blown away by the strong seaweed flavors from the sauce which was meshing well with the al dente spaghettini. That was just perfect and luckily we did order three portions to share among the four of us!

Obviously, the momentum has carried over to our main courses, at least for our first main dish, 48-hour beef short rib with rendang and achar. This was succulent and tasty. I thought the seasoning would be a bit overpowering but that was not the case at all. In fact, it was right on the money.

After three pretty impressive dishes, things were due to regress I guess. Personally, I couldn't figure this roasted stuffed quail "lor mai gai" out.

This would probably work better with foie gras as our friend Mr. Robuchon has demonstrated over the years. For me, this lor mai gai (or steamed glutinous rice with chicken 糯米雞) inspiration clearly didn't work with the roasted quail and stuffing of steamed glutinous rice. Perhaps doing it the other way around with quail meat inside the steamed glutinous rice would yield slightly better results (okay, I'm just kidding)!?

Dessert was again a little disappointing. I had the wild rocket strawberry cheesecake, a deconstructed dessert which came highly recommended by our server but it was nothing more than a combination of cheese, maple walnut ice-cream, candied strawberries and chocolate cookie crumbs.

We had three really amazing dishes (two pasta and the rib) tonight. I thought the pasta dishes were definite must here and the short rib was equally great. From those three dishes, I could see they were true to their words in refining the boundaries of Singaporean cuisine by adding contemporary twists while retaining the traditional flavors. Then, there were the other three (pomelo salad, roasted quail and deconstructed cheesecake) which were very marginal and average at best.

For me, this is the perfect way to explore modern Singaporean cuisine but I would personally like to see a bit more consistency over all of their dishes.

Food Rating: 6/10
Price: $$$
Address: G/F Hangout Hotel, 10A Upper Wilkie Road, Singapore
Closest Metro Station: N/A
Tel: +65 6339-9448
S. Pellegrino Asia's 50 Best Restaurants: 38th (2016)

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