Skip to main content

Advertisement

Advertisement

Wild Rocket | 4/5

SINGAPORE — After an eight-month hiatus, Wild Rocket is back. And though chef-owner Willin Low initially closed the restaurant with the intention of relocating it, the stalwart remains where it has always been for nine years — tucked away along Mount Emily — thanks to the landlord, who agreed to lower the rent.

SINGAPORE — After an eight-month hiatus, Wild Rocket is back. And though chef-owner Willin Low initially closed the restaurant with the intention of relocating it, the stalwart remains where it has always been for nine years — tucked away along Mount Emily — thanks to the landlord, who agreed to lower the rent.

Low and Singaporean design house Produce have revamped the space into one that reflects how the chef has grown since he made his culinary debut in 2005. The new interiors have been designed after a Japanese teahouse, with spare brushed wooden furnishings, pale stone walls and arresting lattice timber structures that hang from the ceiling. Anchoring the space is an oak-and-earthen dining counter that serves as the chef’s table, where Low delivers an eight-course omakase menu (S$118) of dishes he said he’s always wanted to serve but couldn’t. “Without an omakase menu,” he explained, “I couldn’t serve things that work best in such small portions.”

More than anything, this tasting menu is telling of how far Low has come as a chef. Each dish is elegant, with a sure sense of balance and 
boldness.

Take his laksa pesto risotto — a three-bite portion of tender Arborio rice steeped in a laksa spice mix and topped with a drizzle of laksa leaf pesto. Our rendition was crowned with a perfectly cooked Hokkaido scallop that was bronzed on the outside and singing with sweet flavour within (Low sometimes serves it with sea urchin instead). Though miniscule in portion, the risotto was so full on flavour that three bites 
were enough.

The same goes for his beef short rib rendang — three fabulous slices of the meat that had been cooked sous vide (vacuum-sealed and in a low temperature bath) for 48 hours and served with a dollop of spicy, citrusy rendang sauce and minute discs of ketupat (rice cakes). This was as perfectly portioned and as fine a deconstruction of the traditional dish as we’ve 
ever eaten.

Low, a very youthful 42, may have built his renown as a chef by reinterpreting classic Singaporean flavours, but it is evident that he has truly nailed his art. At dessert, the pineapple sorbet with soya sauce salt, chilli powder and mint flakes perfectly mimicked the old-school, uniquely Singaporean combination of fresh pineapple dipped in dark soya sauce and sliced chillies. The little cubes of compressed pineapple that accompanied the sorbet tasted exactly like the cubed pineapples in the golden, syrupy drinks that were sold from bicycle carts in 
the 1970s.

The fact that his food not only satisfies discriminating palates but also evokes nostalgic taste memories at the same time is an admirable thing. It is what transforms the dining experience at Low’s omakase counter into a sensational trip down memory lane. How many chic, modern restaurants can lay claim to that? 
ANNETTE TAN

Wild Rocket @ Mount Emily is at Hangout Hotel, 10A Upper Wilkie Road. Telephone: 6339 9448. Opening hours: Mondays to Saturdays - noon to 10.30pm. Closed on Sunday

Read more of the latest in

Advertisement

Popular

Advertisement

Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.