I first heard about The Wok And Barrel through its owner, Shen, over Twitter (@MadamTans). She’s so clearly passionate about food, it seemed a crime not to give her new restaurant a try.
True to its hawker roots, The Wok And Barrel serves nasi lemak alongside a very unique menu of Singaporean fusion bistro food. Conveniently, it’s also very close to where we live, so we swung by on the first night of its bistro menu.
With my first bite of the Beef Rendang Pizza ($11.90), I declared to James that “we are SO coming back”. Crust, cheese and beef rendang are three of my favourite things to eat, and who knew they went so well together? I’m usually a thin crust person, but I liked this crust for being a little fluffy, like naan. Also, the rendang was the real deal.
The Lamb Char Siew ($29) was something of a leap of faith. I like run-of-the-mill pork char siew, but lamb seemed to be uncharted territory for the traditional five-spice flavours. It was also a bit worrying that, when the dish arrived, the chef herself came running after it – they’d forgotten to drizzle the 50 year-old balsamic vinegar on top!
But oh, how I enjoyed the lamb. It was juicy and tender with just a little bit of fat running through it. The flavour was wonderfully unique, and even though James isn’t usually a fan of balsamic vinegar, he was just wow-ed by how well it complemented the lamb and five-spice.
This restaurant also serves unique drinks. There’s supposed to be a happy hour deal where you get a pizza for $5.90 when you order a beer, cider or wine between 5 – 7 pm. Alas, we ordered just after 7.
As much as we loved the food at The Wok And Barrel (such that I’m already planning to return), I think it could benefit from a few little niceties by way of food presentation. I like a good unpretentious restaurant as much as the next greedy goat, but when prices creep towards the $30 mark for a main course, you do start to expect a bit of garnish, slightly more attractive plating… touches like that. Or am I being too nitpick-y?
I ordered takeout a few days later and had the Desiree pizza, which features Kurobuta pork bacon with spinach on the same cheese and crust. Also very good. The beef rendang pizza seemed to have been updated with more rendang gravy, which I thought was a nice improvement.
The Wok And Barrel
13 Duxton Hill, +65 91073028