Wild Rocket in Singapore is fine dining without breaking the bank. In fact, cheap! For those who know me, I tend to go for cheap eats over fine dining, but I wouldn’t say no to the occasional special treat while I’m travelling. Whilst delicious hawker food are aplenty in Singapore, but their fine dining scene is just as impressive and definitely worth checking out. According to the Asia’s 50 best restaurant list, 10 of them is in Singapore. I can foresee Wild Rocket will soon be in the list in no time. Tipped off by a good friend, the prolific, forever hungry food blogger Miss TamChiak, we found ourselves had a wonderful lunch at Wild Rocket that worth every penny.
Wild Rocket is housed within Hangout Hotel up on the hill at Mount Emily. So the best way to get there is by car; for tourists, grab a cab. Don’t be alarmed to find yourself at a hotel lobby, just walk straight down the corridor and you will find the restaurant is tucked away at the back of the building.
Inspired by the Japanese Chashitsu (tea house), the minimalism design amplifies the limited space to make the restaurant look much bigger than it is. From the ceiling to the walls and onto the exterior façade is the eye catching wooden carapace made up of 15,000 meranti batons which is not only an art installation but acts also as a sunshade.
Lawyer turned chef, Willin Low is reinventing the city’s traditional food culture by serving up “Mod Sin” – where he draws inspiration from the hawker food which he grew up with and reinterpreted them into Modern Singaporean cuisine.
For lunch, diners can choose between A la Carte or the well priced Set Lunch menus. There are three different set lunch menus and each comes with 3-course Set Lunch for $35++ SGD or 4-course ‘rocket set’ at $53++ SGD. If you want the full experience, the Omakase Lunch at the chef’s table will set you back between $80-$120SGD. We opted for the 4-course ‘Rocket Set’ and it was a great choice.
A bowl of warm curry leaf brioche to whet our appetite. They were absolutely delicious, pillowy soft brioche with an exotic hint of curry flavour from the flecks of curry leaves. We were happily dipping them in the smooth EVOO.
It took us quite some time to realise that there was actually no cutlery on the table. The waitstaff came around presenting our first course, only then informed us that all cutlery are smartly tucked away in the drawer under our table. Rather nifty. I chose to use chopsticks for my first dish.
A Japanese influenced first course of Aburi salmon and baby octopus red rice donburi. Chunks of salmon were charred slightly over charcoal, leaving a subtle hint of caramelised smokey sweetness. I particularly enjoyed the chewy red rice studded with tiny cubes of rubbery baby octopus, whilst the tobiko fish roe popping on every bite.
Many of the dishes are representations of Low’s Singaporean root and his culinary experience from around the world. The second course was a perfect East-meets-West fusion of Tau Yew Bak soy sauce pork rigatoni. The familiar taste of braised pork in soy sauce definitely reminded me of my childhood but yet so foreign to be served as ragout with the rigatoni. It was a very clever execution.
The third course was the heavy meat dish, 48 hours slow cooked beef short rib was meltingly tender, oozing with fat gelatinous on every mouthful, adorned with a wafer thin crisp of fried kale, and richly paired with silky smooth potato mash in smoked oyster milk. Now, only if it came in a bigger portion, I will be a very happy chap.
The dessert came with two choices and we ordered one each. The Pom’s wild rocket strawberry cheesecake was a classic, macerated strawberries served with a dollop of cheesecake, but couldn’t detect any wild rocket or how it was incorporated in the dessert. I, however, was well chuffed with my dessert using the nostalgic ‘Gong Tng’ Chinese peanut candy all crushed up over a big scoop of peanut butter ice cream.
The whole experience was pretty casual yet felt well looked after with top notch service. I had my eyes set on the Omakase Dinner, I am sure I will be back again.
Hangout @ Mt Emily
10A Upper Wilkie Road
Phone: +65 63399448
Lunch – Mon – Sat: 12 – 3pm (Last Seating: 2pm)
Dinner – Mon – Sat: 6.30 – 10.30pm (Last Seating: 9.30pm)