Keong Saik Road has always been known for its trendy restaurants and watering holes, and Lonely Planet has even chosen the stretch to be one of the “Top 10 travel destinations in Asia”.
One of the more under-the-radar restaurants at this heritage street is Wine & Chef, which aims to serve up “semi fine-dining food” at pocket friendly prices.
(Click PLAY for highlights of Wine & Chef.)
The Asian Fusion Restaurant has received positive reviews and feedback from food bloggers and diners alike, and popular YouTube channel Night Owl Cinematics NOC has given it a 3-star ranking – which means Wine & Chef is “Food King Good”.
I previously haven’t had the chance to visit it, but its recent menu revamp has given me a good reason to.
While its menu has previously been categorised as “Mod-Sin”, I would say these are Italian dishes with a creative Asian take.
Prices are also wallet-friendly, with a 3-course weekday set lunch starting at $18++. For example, you can get a Smoked Duck Salad, Roasted Baby Chicken, and Venere Rice Pudding for that price.
If you are into wines, you would be delighted to know that a glass of their house pour wine starts at just $7++.
A big reason why they are able to keep costs lower is because the restaurant imports Italian wine directly from the wineries and boutique wine producers, in turn passing on the savings to the consumers.
Dishes that Wine and Chef recommends include the Wagyu Beef Tartar, 100 Day Grain Fed Ribeye Steak, Salmon Crudo, ‘Due’ Finger, Seared Scallop, Roasted Baby Chicken, Salmon Risotto, Pork Collar, Scallop Capellini, Truffle Fries, and ‘Tea’ramisu. Just to name a few.
Whether it is for a date or after-work gathering, if you are keen in booking a meal there, these are 10 of the recommendations at Wine & Chef:
1. Hokkaido Scallop Capellini ($28)
As the Executive Chef has previously worked at a 2-star Michelin restaurant, you may find this dish vaguely familiar. It has of course been given a slight Asian twist.
This is a cold Capellini dish, and probably that one item that left the deepest impression.
This was largely due to a combination of the al dente pasta and fresh sashimi grade Hokkaido scallops. The truffle flavour was strong on this one, but it was the soy dressing with a Japanese touch that was both aromatic and appetising.
2. Beef Cheek Pasta ($28)
While the previous dish would fare well as a starter; if you are into heartier dishes, then this spaghettini dish cooked with slow braised beef cheeks in light tomato salsa and sauteed mushrooms should fill you up.
The pasta itself was flavourful and tangy – reminded me of a robust Bolognese; while the beef cheek was fork-tender meltingly tender and moist.
3. Salmon Risotto ($20)
I liked the salmon part of this dish, where the fish was prepared by using a “tataki” method of searing the piece very briefly over a hot flame over a pan. The result was a crisp outer layer, and soft flaky flesh.
Barley risotto cooked with Mascarpone was used for its base. It was very creamy, and Chef explained that he used barley because diners has given feedback that they preferred the bite as compared to Arborio rice.
Just so you know, Michelin Guide Singapore has also described this dish as “perfectly cooked Salmon Confit Risotto topped with ikura”.
4. Salmon Crudo ($14)
Interesting, this small plate may just remind you of beef tartare as the recipe is ‘derived’ from the dish.
Instead of raw ground beef, you get smoked salmon mixed with shallots, capers, scallions and dill mixed together, served on toasted ciabatta, topped with caviar for that luxe element.
The marinate used was honey and Dijon mustard, which gave this likeable sweetness and earthy medium spicy tinge, without overpowering the savouriness of the salmon.
5. Wagyu Beef Tartare ($19)
The Wagyu Beef Tartare was presented like a burger patty on toast – with minced wagyu beef dressed with egg yolk, mixed with light seasoning and truffle oil, added with parmesan and caviar for that rich creamy finish.
6. “Due Fingers” ($10)
An addictive modernised version of the shrimp paste chicken, otherwise known as har cheong kai. So you get that distinct fragrance as you take bites.
Marinated mid joint wings are used so that they are easier to consume – best eaten with your fingers so that you can lick up the special honey and soy glaze.
Felt like a cross between the local zhi char dish and Korean fried chicken.
7. Asari Clams ($12)
Sauteed Asari clams in garlic and white wine. The base has a refreshing sweetness as vegetables are used in the stock.
8. Iberico Pork Collar ($33)
Pan roasted Iberico pork shoulder with a side of apple and thyme brandy compote. The sauce was cooked using the pork jus, further glazed with white wine and chicken stock.
9. Roasted Baby Chicken ($24)
Lightly spiced baby chicken with flesh superbly succulent and supple, cut in the middle into half for easier dining.
Chef explained that he only used chickens that were about 2 weeks only for that tenderness, and revealed the secret ingredient of Korean gochujang sauce in the marination for a unique spiciness.
10. Crayfish Linguine With Nudja ($28, available for limited period)
A special pasta dish of linguine with crayfish, tomato salsa and calabrian spicy sausage – the Nudja sausage (raw pork sausage) is specially air flown in from Southern Italy.
For a sweet ending at the end of the meal, choose between Venere Rice Pudding ($10); Bleu ($13) – of butterfly pea tapioca pearls with pomegranate with sweet coconut cream, accompanied with lemongrass and ginger ice cream; or “Tea”ramisu ($13) of Grand Marnier infused mascarpone sabayon, Earl Grey tea savoiardi with caramel crumble bits and grated dark chocolate.
As Wine & Chef is started by the people behind wine retailer SG Wine Cellar, they also display an extensive and distinctive range of Italian-focused wines at inexpensive prices.
Several of their imports come from small family owned, boutique Italian wine producers that make wines of reasonably priced value yet high in quality.
Even you are not that much of a wine expert, the staff members will also help you choose something that you would enjoy to enhance the dining experience.
Last note, it is best to come in a group to savour more dishes, and also because portions are really quite friendly.
Wine & Chef
No 7 Keong Saik Road #01-01 Singapore 089115 (Outram Park MRT station)
Tel: +65 6221 9279
Opening Hours: 11am – 11pm (Mon – Sat), Closed Sun
* This post is brought to you in partnership with Wine & Chef.