The last time we came to Wild Rocket together for a non-brunch meal was more than 4 years ago, when it first opened. Since then, it’s grown by leaps and bounds, from a fairly humble local restaurant to a bona fide dining destination for foodies the world over.
I must admit we weren’t tremendously impressed during our first visit, and over the years much preferred their burger and brunch items at Relish instead. Recently though, A and I came here separately for work events, admittedly spurred on by its growing international acclaim and honourable mention in the New York Times. That’s when we realised what the fuss was really about, and made a point to come back together for a timely return visit.
At dinner, you can either order a la carte, or have tasting portions of some of the highlights of the menu. There’s either a 4-course set dinner, or a 6-course tasting menu. If you order the latter, there’s a minimum of 2 per table. I would recommend the tasting menu, as it offers a good introduction to the “Modern Singaporean’ aspect of Wild Rocket. It’s a very reasonable $72 for the 6-course tasting menu, but as an added sweetener, that same menu also counts as the UOB Chef’s Creation menu, so you can get it for $128 per couple till 31 October 2010.
The amuse bouche (not part of the 6 courses) was a kueh pie tee cup filled with truffle shitake mushrooms. A preferred the laksa pesto pie tee that he had when he came for lunch, but give me anything with truffle and mushrooms and I’m a happy girl.
First course was a chicken consommé with their take on a Foochow fishball – a tang yuan (glutinous rice ball) filled with minced meat. The texture was slightly stickier than I would’ve preferred, but maybe because mentally I was expecting the texture of a fishball instead. The consommé was bordering on salty but very flavourful.
Next up was baby octopus salad with a Chinese miso panna cotta. Each individual element was good, but eaten together (as you’re advised to), all the flavours really came together. The panna cotta left a very lingering, familiar taste – salty yet almost buttery, and till now I still can’t pinpoint what it reminded me of.
The pasta course was A’s favourite – cannelloni filled with tau yew bak (soy braised pork) ragout. The sauce had a very rich deep flavour, the meat was tender, and the sprinkling of slightly burnt cheese on the pasta was a winner.
The fish course was very interesting – roasted Chilean seabass with winged beans, prepared with a light cincalok (fermented shrimp) sauce. The fish was moist and perfectly cooked. To me, I think this dish was the most creative of the night, and seemed to really define what Wild Rocket is all about, and what it’s come to stand for – Chef Willin Low mixing Western and Asian ingredients with flavours that we’re all used to, but prepared in completely unexpected ways.
In comparison, the meat course almost took a back seat (this also seemed to be the general opinion when I had my team dinner here). They seem to be much more adept at their fish courses than their meat ones. Tonight we had seared ribeye served with kalian and oyster sauce. It was good, especially the charred fatty bits of steak, but I found the meat slightly chewy and overall the flavours didn’t impress as much as the previous dishes.
Finally, dessert. The tasting menu came with a Lychee Martini White Chocolate Tart, which A had. I changed my dessert to the one on the 4-course menu – a deconstructed Salted Caramel Kaya Banoffee Pie (do you blame me...?). It cost $2 to switch but it was worth every cent. I found mine far superior to A’s. Sure, the tart was quite good and at least the sweetness of the white chocolate didn’t overwhelm the fairly pronounced lychee martini flavour. But everything in mine was fabulous, from the gula melaka whipped cream to the caramelised biscuit chunks to the caramel and banana. If I had one criticism, it was that they could still afford to push their caramel just a tad saltier. But maybe that’s just me.
I’m very impressed after tonight’s dinner. The cooking doesn’t try too hard, and kudos to them for taking the “Mod-Sin” concept but not overdoing it or falling on the wrong side of gimmicky. At the heart of it all, it’s still just simple flavours, executed well. We’ll definitely be back.
Great! Although I still wouldn’t call it my favourite restaurant. I don’t know why it’s taken so long for us to return.
Wild Rocket @ Mount Emily
10A Upper Wilkie Road
Lunch: 12 noon to 3 pm
Dinner: 6.30 pm to 10.30 pm
Sunday Brunch: 11.30 am to 3 pm