Thursday, November 20, 2014


C says:

We had a thoroughly enjoyable, and surprisingly reasonable, meal at &Sons at China Square Central. Owned by Il Lido’s Beppe de Vito, it serves small plates of Italian food, which as everyone knows is right up our alley. Their portion sizes are perfect for sampling a fairly wide selection of their menu – we shared 6 dishes (2 of them were pastas) and were satisfyingly full without being stuffed.

Grilled Smoked Caciocavallo with avocado

Caciocavallo is a smoked, fairly firm cheese – a bit like haloumi. It was pan-fried so it had a nice crisp browned crust, and was served with a simple salad and chopped avocadoes.

Spaghetti sea urchin carbonara

Excellent; the sauce was briny, savoury and had perfect consistency, just coating the al dente spaghetti. If this is any indication, then their lunch-only bucantini carbonara with guanciale must be stellar.

Tagliolini with crab and nduja

Also good, but not as addictive as the carbonara. Nduja is a spicy pork sausage tasting similar to chorizo, so the sauce was basically a creamy crabmeat tomato sauce with a hint of smoked paprika. The interesting snow on top of the dish was a malt extract, which doesn’t taste like much but adds a richness to the sauce.

Lamb tenderloins with cannellini beans

The tenderloins were cooked a perfect medium rare, but I found them a little too aggressively spiced. The cannellini beans, on the other hand, were perfectly seasoned.

Crab and sundried tomato crostone

This was A’s pick, and while I didn't dislike it, it definitely wasn’t something I’d personally order. The bread for the crostone was good, but otherwise I found the crab topping fairly ordinary and predictable.

Calamari with nduja

This was amazing. The calamari will simply grilled so it was charred and smokey but still succulent and tender. The nduja was in the form of a dip, which wasn’t even really necessary because the calamari was so sweet and flavourful on its own.

The dishes we ordered ranged from $9 to $19, which I thought was very good value given the quality and quantity. I imagine that it can get pretty crowded on weeknights after work, but it’s a nice, calm vibe on Saturday night and a new go-to for us.

A says:

Great value. The pastas and calamari are definitely worth ordering. And the service is excellent. 

20 Cross Street
#01-19 China Square Central
Lunch: Mon to Fri, 12 noon to 2.30 pm
Dinner: Mon to Sat, 6.30 pm – 10.30 pm
Closed Sundays

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Wild Rocket omakase

C says:

The newly renovated and re-opened Wild Rocket now has an omakase counter, where you can enjoy a tasting menu of Chef Wilin’s creations, explained to you by Chef himself. You have to specify that you want the omakase menu when you call to reserve, though.

The omakase we recently had was quite an eye-opener. Prior to this, while we enjoyed the food at Wild Rocket, it didn't make a huge impact and we weren’t raving about it both during and after the meal. The meal we had, though, was really quite outstanding.

(Sorry, no photos of first 2 dishes, because they accidentally got deleted...)

First course: scallop carpaccio with konbu and truffle oil. Meant to be reminiscent of chwee kueh. Best dish of the night, in my opinion. Sweet scallops, umami konbu and just the right hint of truffle.

Second course: Thai pomelo salad with frozen coconut milk dressing. Bright, refreshing and with a hint of heat.

Third course: Crab cake on a bed of salted egg yolk paste. Chef’s take on a zi char favourite – salted egg yolk crab.

Fourth course: Grouper with a broth of spring onion and ginger. Again, this is meant to be a riff on that classic zi char dish – sliced fish with ginger and spring onions. Very impressive how the textures are so different but the flavours immediately remind you of the dish that inspired it.

Fifth course: “Singapore fried noodles”. Anyone who’s ordered this dubious-sounding dish in foreign Chinese restaurants will completely understand why Chef is on a quest to change everyone’s impression of this dish; from the lurid yellow, curry powder-flavoured noodle dish can be found nowhere in Singapore, to a dish that represents all the delicious noodles that are truly Singaporean. This will be a constantly evolving noodle dish, and the current version is a take on fried prawn noodles, with pasta, king prawns and a rich prawn stock.

Sixth course: Beef short rib rendang. A really good version of beef rendang with super flavourful short ribs.

Dessert 1: Palate cleanser in the form of pineapple sorbet with soy powder and chill padi – a nod to how the older generation used to eat pineapples with a dip of soy sauce, sugar and chilli padi.

Dessert 2: Matcha sugee cake with coconut ice cream

It was a thoroughly enjoyable meal. I’m not sure how often they update the omakase menu, but when we do go back it’ll definitely be for another omakase.

A says:

Food is better than ever. Definitely a place to take guests for inventive Singaporean cuisine.