Being opened by Chef Willin Low, Relish could be said as the spiritual successor to now-defunct Wild Rocket.
Relish is a brand that is not a stranger to most in the Singapore dining scene. Having co-existed with Wild Rocket and Wild Oats for a while, Relish’s original concept at Cluny Court serves up a wide variety of burgers to the patrons in a casual dining environment. With Wild Rocket at Upper Wilkie Road being closed permanently, Relish’s new digs at Fraser Tower is seemingly a spot where the Wild Rocket spirit for refined and simple mod-Sin fare lives on. The interior is pretty reminiscent of what used to be Wild Rocket; featuring a bar area at the front with plush window seats, the rear resembles Wild Rocket’s interior with similar wooden batons — the furnishings would also remind patrons of Wild Rocket, with the very same tables with drawers containing utensils as well. Unlike the Cluny Court location (which is still operating) where Relish serves only burgers with a few other items on the menu, the Fraser Towers outlet sees a larger spread of items including noodles and rice dishes, as well as a bigger selection of sharing plates as well. A wide list of alcoholic beverages is being listed, though Relish also serves cold-pressed juices, coffee, tea, shakes and smoothies in its new location, just to name a few.
(Baked Cabbage Sayur Lodeh)
Skimming through the sharing plates section of the menu, the Baked Cabbage Sayur Lodeh was an item which grabbed our attention. Coming with elements such as Pumpkin Sayur Lodeh Sauce, Bacon and Dried Shrimp, the baked cabbage comes as is, plated above all the other elements with the sauce beneath. The flavours were no doubt familiar; almost curry-esque but also carried a certain richness possibly from the use of pumpkin which provided a thicker flavour. The cabbage came with a soft crunch; the texture being consistent throughout the whole cabbage while the bacon and bonito flakes add a hint of umami that makes the dish their very own, providing a rather unique contrast that works very well. Despite its size, the dish was no doubt light; an item that would work well to share without being overwhelming as compared to other items such as fries.
(Krapow Bee Tai Mak)
Having seen a number of photos of the Krapow Bee Tai Mak making its rounds around social media before we made our visit here, the Krapow Bee Tai Mak is pretty fantastic, featuring elements such as basil minced chicken, short rice noodles and wobbly egg. Despite being folks who do not usually go for Bee Tai Mak in other establishments, the Bee Tai Mak is particularly well-executed here being slurpy and smooth without a lingering aftertaste. What seemingly made this dish a delight to have was how it seemingly got all the textures and flavours right; the long beans providing a crunch amidst the savoury meat, while the chili padi provides a fiery punch that tingles the taste buds. The basil is no doubt the star of the show; its aroma lingers with every spoonful — the essence of what makes a good basil minced meat dish being at its best here, not to mention how the wobbly sous-vide egg adds on to the silkiness of the Bee Tai Mak once it is being mixed into the dish. A dish that we find utterly amazing, and something which we could not get enough out of.
(Laksa Pesto Linguine)
Described as an item that had kick-started the mod-Sin movement that Wild Rocket was known for ever since, the Laksa Pesto Linguine is an item that had been served in Wild Rocket’s menu in 2005. Despite being aesthetically similar to a typical pesto pasta, the flavours are absolutely on-point, with the pesto playing well alongside the flavours of the rempah spices typically found in Laksa, providing a herby note that seemingly compliments and enhances the Laksa flavours of the dish. The linguine came al-dente, while the prawns were fresh and carried its natural sweetness; a true classic that never grows old even till today.
Opting for a dessert, we went for the Glutinous Rice, having tried the Strawberry Cheesecake and the Fresh Pineapple Sorbet during two different occasions at Wild Rocket. Featuring elements such as Black Sticky Rice, Dried Honey Longan and Housemade Coconut Ice-Cream, we noticed how the coconut ice-cream was served more mousse-like than a typical ice-cream. The entire dessert replicates Pulut Hitam, with familiar notes of sweetness coming from the glutinous rice and that richness of coconut milk well carried by the housemade coconut ice-cream. The bits of dried honey longan broke the monotonous textures of the dessert, providing some chew to the otherwise grainy dessert.
Ever since Wild Rocket’s closure, there is seemingly a void in the dining scene in Singapore. Wild Rocket had always been known for their mod-Sin cuisine; a form of contemporary cuisine that describes us — perhaps even a national identity that we hold so dearly to. Having visited Wild Rocket twice during its run at Upper Wilkie Road, it is the sort of fine dining establishment where the experience was least foreign to us; the input of local and Southeast Asian elements just gave it so much character, providing familiarity to a form of cuisine otherwise so abstract that it’s hard to understand at times at other establishments. No doubt that the plating had been an emphasis, but the fusion feels fuss-free, and that was indeed why Wild Rocket has that special place in our heart. Wild Rocket may be gone since, but Relish at Fraser Towers is a worthy successor, carrying the same familiar fusion that Wild Rocket was known for, at a more affordable price point for the masses. It is a spot where the same spirit still lives on, along with some of the menu’s most classic items. To call it a place to visit once in the lifetime is probably an understatement, but it would certainly be a spot we would wholeheartedly return to another time; for that great execution, and familiarity of the cuisine that started the mod-Sin movement.
182 Cecil Street
Web Page: http://www.wildrocket.com.sg/relish.html