My boyfriend has been encouraging me to get back into food blogging for a long time… and for some reason or another, I always find excuses not to. I guess it’s the intimidation of knowing that I will have to commit to this as a regular activity from now on, lest my food blog suffer the same fate that it did for the past few years…Since it’s the public holiday tomorrow (Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri!), I have an excuse to stay up a bit later to complete a post. Tonight we had dinner at Relish by Wild Rocket, a cosy specialty burger restaurant with a sophisticated vibe at Cluny Court, a stone’s throw away from the Botanic Gardens MRT. There is another branch at Serangoon Gardens as well. Btw the Botanic Gardens just recently got named the first UNESCO Heritage Site in Singapore. Don’t be alarmed if you see hordes of people there from now on, rendering it not so much of a UNESCO site anymore haha :P.
Being the cheapo (read: frugal person!) I am, I have been getting quite a few groupon deals lately, and Relish was one of them (
you can get it before it ends on 2 August Aw it’s sold out!). When we arrived at ~7.45pm, the cafe still had plenty of spaces and I enjoyed the laidback atmosphere away from the crowded malls we had been frequenting! Opened by lawyer-turned chef Willin Low, if there is one main outstanding feature about Wild Rocket, it’s that it serves innovative Western style food with a Singaporean twist. Burgers there are quirky and range from the breakfast burger ($20.80, with a homemade apple pork sausage patty); soft shell chilli crab burger ($19.80, with a black squid ink bun and chilli crab sauce); to the soft bone pork charsiew open burger ($21.40); and the Ram-Lee burger ($21.90, inspired from the famous Malaysian Ramly burgers in pasar malams).
The original classic burger: the Wild Rocket Beef Burger ($19.50) is the star item of what started Relish 8 years ago (according to their Facebook post), is a simple yet well-executed burger. It is made up of a generous 180g beef patty with rocket leaves (true to the joint’s name), Sarawak pepper cream and sun-dried tomato relish with a toasted sesame bun. I do get impressed when the burger joint puts in the extra effort to toast the bun; it really puts it up a notch. The patty was beefy, lean and juicy and well-seasoned with a nice twist. The waiter asked how I wanted the beef done; it is unheard of to have rare minced beef patties in Australia (thyrotoxicosis is one of the concerns!) but I know it is quite common in Singapore, so props to them for asking first.
The sauces were the highlight, and worked really well together with the tangy sundried tomato relish which provided a nice contrast to the creamy, woody notes of the Sarawak pepper sauce. The thick cut fries were crispy, the chilli sauce (the waiter asked us, and there was a choice of ketchup too) had a good spicy kick, and the salad greens were crisp and had a lovely smokey flavour to it; overall it was a nice meal. If there is one thing I can fault, it is that I wish that they were more generous with the fillings (e.g. cheese, other veggies), although I do admit the simplicity did make this dish enjoyable too. I noticed one of our neighbours was having their burger with sweet potato fries: the waiter said you can add extra $3 to upgrade your fries (a better deal than the extra $9.50 to order a separate sweet potato fries!).
We ordered a brunch item (note: this place offers all-day brunch for those who crave breakfast during dinner!), the Pandan French Toast ($17.80), which is basically pandan chiffon cake dipped in egg batter, grilled, topped with gula melaka syrup served with a few rashers of crispy bacon and cream cheese. Good quality pandan chiffon was used (I’m not sure if it’s baked in-house, but we were secretly wondering whether it may have been the famous Bengawan Solo pandan chiffon – which hey, even if they were, I’m not complaining because it tastes awesome!); the egg batter made the cake so fluffy and luscious while the caramelised brown exterior was a delight (although it became a bit soggier under the aircon). I requested for gula melaka on the side, which was good not only because I could control the sweetness level, but secondly I had heard others say they couldn’t really taste it when it was drizzled on top. While it’s a winning combination (clever spin on Canadian bacon and maple syrup), I did feel like I was left wanting for more, perhaps because the dish was a bit too simple and a tad pricey for what it was.
There are other interesting dishes if you’re not into burgers: onion rings with curry mayo, and linguine with shredded crabmeat (you can find more of their menu here)
Reprise for our second visit on 21 July 2015
The Soft Shell Chilli Crab Burger ($19.80) comprises of a squid ink bun, deep-fried soft shell crab, cabbage, tomato and chilli crab sauce. I thought it was a charcoal bun but turns out it’s squid ink (I couldn’t really tell). It was a nice sweet and crispy bun, but the soft shell crab was a bit disappointing, having too much batter. The chilli crab sauce also lacked egg and a chilli kick. It is a nice concept that would taste good if more fine-tuned.
The Polenta with Onsen Egg ($18.60) is a rich and creamy polenta topped with a soft boiled egg surrounded by grilled mushroom, spinach and pancetta, drizzled with truffle oil. It did have a slight truffle taste, the spinach was flavoured well and a good green contrast, and the pancetta and mushroom lent a salty kick. But I wasn’t particularly fond of the cornmeal though; it was a bit like a corny porridge cooked in a mushroom soup with lots of parmesan cheese; RX commented it tasted like cheetos perhaps because of this mix. I just thought it was a bit bland, not creamy enough and too strong in parmesan taste. Perhaps those who love parmesan or cheetos would have more affinity for this dish. The egg was excellent though, being soft and oozy.
The Deconstructed Strawberry Cheesecake ($9.80) here is amazing. For the love of God, get its signature dessert if you are at Relish!!! I am very tempted to re-create it myself, as one other blogger did. I think it tastes so good because they added minimal cream to the cheesecake mix, making it very thick, sticky, gooey and rich in the tangy cream cheese taste. The aesthetics is disappointing, but by golly, looks are deceiving because it tasted fantastic. It came with a thick strawberry compote and melded with the crunchy, buttery biscuit base that is found on the bottom of all cheesecakes, but more crunchy than usual because it was baked separately. Deconstructed sounds like a pretentious dessert but trust me it is so good. But I do wish they had been more generous in giving a bigger portion of the sticky cheesecake goo though.
I was happy with the service here; the waiters were mostly thoughtful, and although I didn’t realise it, the Groupon was not valid on a public holiday eve, yet the cashier endeavoured to redeem it. It’s always nice to have people who value your patronage and are willing to bend the red tape to provide better service. While not cheap, the quaint ambience, the interesting fusion cuisine, their pleasant service, one of the best burgers I’ve had in Singapore (if you choose the right one!), and an amazing signature dessert, I would be happy to visit a
second third time for a quiet evening meal.
Relish by Wild Rocket
501 Bukit Timah Road, #02-01 Cluny Court
Tel: 6763 1547
Opening hours: Mon: closed; Tues – Sun: 9am – 10pm (Last order: 9pm)
Closest MRT: Botanic Gardens
Prices do not include prevailing government tax and service charges.