A really late birthday celebration with Richard at Wok & Barrel.
Ever so often, the name of a new cafe pops up in my twitter feed that intrigues me, especially when I trust my friends’ taste in food. so this time round I decided to follow the scent and try out Wok & Barrel, a modern Singapore bistro they call themselves. Situated at 13 Duxton Hill (I had to google for driving instructions so that came out really easily), it wasn’t that hard to find considering it was a weekday and the streets were quiet.
It’s a small white cafe with enough tables to sit about 20? the menu boasts local favourites prepared by a certain Madam Tan. I have no idea who she is except that she supposedly used to run a stall at the nearby Maxwell Hawker Centre serving Nasi Lemak which was rather popular. she then closed that down to open this cafe, serving the same nasi lemak and much more.
Mutton rendang. tasty and rather succulent. I didn’t find it all that different from having rendang at Tambuah Mas though.
We didn’t make reservations but it was rather easy to get a table since it was a Tuesday night. However I noticed that most people stayed at their tables for rather long so the turnover rate of the cafe wasn’t that high.
Nasi lemak with 2 types of chili and topped with ikan bilis. this was priced at an affordable $1?
5 spiced roast pork was served in a delicate small bowl. it had a sweet taste with a slight kick back taste that got a little overpowering as you dug into the bottom of the bowl. the shredded meat was soft and chewy.
the famed lamb char siew that Germaine raves about. it is really really tasty and the meat is tender. however i think it uses the same 5 spice seasoning as the roast pork so after about 5 pieces, i felt a little sick from the overzealous sauce. Perhaps a tasting or 2 of the meat would suffice but I’m not sure how it’d work as a main.
in all, it was a pleasant meal but I’m not sure about heading back again as most of the dishes can be found at any good coffee shop or hawker stall if you know where to find them. however the ambiance is nice and the lamb is a must-try, though not necessarily a can-finish.
we waited a good 35-40 minutes before our food arrived. i was starving by then. another 15min later the lamb char siew was served. although I was taught by my dad good food must wait, I was puzzled as to why it took so long for our rendang and roast pork to arrive considering how small the cafe was. I hope they weren’t preparing each dish from scratch. 10 points for passion. 0 points for efficiency. I’m not sure what the style is supposed to be coz there’s a hint of fusion in some of the creations.
I might go back again to try their pizza or even their bak chor pasta.