The jury has reached a verdict: Wild Rocket is criminally good
Claim to fame: Dressing traditional Singaporean fare in shiny new clothes
Reason to go: An elegant introduction to the culinary delights of our city, without the street food vibe
To look out for: The supercharged version of Singapore fried noodles, with luxe jumbo shrimp and heady flavors
Willin Low stepped out of the courtroom and into the kitchen 11 years ago, he traded his barrister’s robe for an apron, quit practicing law and invented a uniquely local type of haute cuisine. The Godfather of modern Singaporean gastronomy recently refurbished his restaurant, Wild Rocket, and added a daily-changing omakase menu.
It’s a wily trick, but then again, attorneys are notorious for being sly, Low took regional street food favorites, infused them with Western touches and claimed them as his own, thus petitioning a new way of enjoying traditional favorites. Laksa went from being a rice vermicelli dish with a spicy, coconut milk-accented broth, to a laksa pesto linguini with king prawns, it’s still his most iconic creation. Further accenting this concept, Singapore fried noodles are wickedly jazzed up with a jumbo prawn crowning a heap of briny-savory spaghettini cooked in prawn-stock with lobster oil and prawn heads. Low’s take on bak chor mee, a popular hawker dish of minced pork noodles in black vinegar, is a boundary-crossing chef-d’oeuvre of glass noodles cooked in Iberico pork fat, topped with torched negitoro (Raw tuna belly with spring onion) and fried pork lard; his play on char kway teow, stir-fried flat noodles in black sauce with bean sprouts and cockles, is presented completely devoid of flat noodles but with strips of cuttlefish tossed in dark soy sauce, egg and lard. While most of the dishes at Wild Rocket look nothing like the local food that inspired them, it only takes one bite to bring diners right home to Singapore.
Low has a penchant for all things Japanese, his new digs are a cool feast of blond-wood accentuated by a theatrical installation of equally airy, organic wood paneling. The Japanese theme is also evident in the sake-heavy wine list personally curated by Low, who is an Advanced Sake Professional. His artful dining room is sequestered on the ground floor of a hipster budget hotel on Mount Emily.