The truth is, I knew Willin Low can cook. But I didn’t know he can really cook. My very frank reply to Willin after trying out the revamped Wild Rocket was, “So much better than what I expected.”
Wild Rocket reopened after a 8-month hiatus, initially facing some rent issues, and this break seemed to have done our celebrity Mod Sin chef some good.
I first met lawyer-turned chef Willin in an interview over his love for Hokkien mee years back, tried Wild Rocket, Relish and the defunct Burger, Bench & Bar.
We became friends (but he knows I try to objective when it comes to food , so…), the previous Wild Rocket was rough on the edges, and didn’t impress too much. Another friend thought celebrity chefs made it on TV for looks and gift of the gab more than actual skills.
The reinvention of Wild Rocket saw the introduction of an omakase menu ($118++ for 8 courses) at the Chef’s table, where Willin would personally introduce the dishes and concept. This guy is an auntie-charmer I tell you, making all the ladies (and some guys) laugh at the 8-seater table.
To be thoroughly honest, I was impressed with 7 out of the 8 dishes, of which 3 were exceptional. Only 1, the Grouper with Spring Onion with Ginger Milk, was kind of average and flat in taste.
The Thai-inspired starter, a Pomelo Salad with Frozen Coconut Dressing was already uplifting and invigorating. The mishmash of hot spiciness contrasting with coldish sweet felt like a dose of attack on the senses, and kept me in anticipation on what else was to come.
My personal favourite dish was a Laksa Risotto & Pesto with Seared Hokkaido Scallop. The coconutty-laksa base bizarrely reminded me of a long-forgotten taste, a particular laksa gravy tang that I was fond of as a child (can’t remember if it was Malaysia’s). To have that taste resurface on creamy risotto perfectly matched with plump scallop was like eating a dream.
Equally mouth-watering was the 48 hour sous vide Beef Short Ribs in Rendang Sauce with Ketupat, which is like breathing new life to a traditional dish. Almost impeccable, otherwise marred by dry ‘packed rice’.
Each dish in the omakase menu has a captivating story, inspired by Willin’s travels, childhood in Singapore or love for hawker food.
For example, dessert was a Matcha Sugi Cake with Coconut Ice Cream, served on a plate with dancing Vanda Miss Joaquim motifs (that’s Singapore’s national flower).
The Pineapple Sorbet with Salty Soy Sauce and Chill Padi was what he used to eat as a child, though we don’t common find fruit combinations like this anymore in modern Singapore.
It is necessary to mention that Wild Rocket isn’t a one-man show, and Willin’s team is attentive in service, knowledgeable in its offerings.
There are glimpses in the new Wild Rocket which reminds me of Alvin Leung’s Bo Innovation, and you suspect that Willin will get even better. We hope this is the start of greater food and things to come.
The Hangout Hotel, 10A Upper Wilkie Road, Singapore 228119
Tel: +65 6339 9448
Opening Hours: Lunch 12.00pm – 3.00pm Last Seating 2:00pm (Tues – Sat)
Dinner 6.30pm – 10.30pm Last Seating 9:30pm (Mon – Sat, Closed Sun)
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