Food Review: Wine & Chef at 7 Keong Saik Rd, Singapore 089115

Wine & Chef is a relatively new mid-range priced Italian establishment at the not-so-mid-range district of Keong Saik Road, which makes it all the more attractive. Then there's the claim of delicious pastas, which of course prompted us to go check it out. So we did on a random Tuesday evening, and found the place desirably deserted (about 30% occupied). Yes! No hype train! Fingers crossed that they don't shut down after 6 months due to that though. I was quite surprised to read that it is Hokkien x Italian, but that seemed to be at the start for the menu is now decidedly Western.

**Update: I was invited back for their new menu tasting in August 2018. The food was described as a harmony of Italian and Asian flavours, and also found out that Chef Darence Wee came from the Les Amis Group with over 23 years of experience. Wine and Chef is also owned by the team behind SG Wine Cellar - hence the provision of a huge selection of good wine at affordable prices. Several dishes in the post are the tasting ones.

We had some Brillat Savarin cheese (S$9), bread and honey to start which was really good. My companions also ordered some shrimp paste chicken mid-joint wings (S$10) which I missed out on due to exercise. Haha. However I was there for the mains, which was in one word, decent. 
A look at their menu showed various dare I say, "fusion" dishes.

During the tasting, we sampled the Seared Foie Gras (S$16) which was big, fat and generous for the price. I would definitely have this with some bread. 4/5

We also tried some gorgonzola (S$9) cheese with some Italian ciabatta (S$5). This was rather basic and probably only satisfies if you have a blue cheese craving. 2/5

My friend ordered from the "filler" section of the menu - the Salmon “Risotto” (S$20) which had soy and coriander cured salmon fillet with mascarpone barley risotto. It was nothing to write home about but still pretty good, with the interesting barley grain as risotto instead of the usual arborio. 3/5

Another friend had the Scallops Capellini (S$28) that featured cold capellini, soy truffle dressing, cured kelp, scallops and caviar. Really pricey due to the seafood and caviar, which I though is rather unexciting. I would rather a capellini that's maybe $22, but with cheaper items like jellyfish or edamame peas, haha. 3/5

Here's a better photo! A very refreshing cold pasta dish primarily because of the clever use of pomegranate seeds.

I ordered the Carbonara (S$21), which according to the menu, was made with spaghettini with truffle butter sauce, parma bits, parmesan, egg confit (??? it's just onsen egg) and crispy parma ham. This was good, even though by the end it got too watery probably due to the lack of proper emulsification between the fat and the water. Still, as someone who has attempted to cook carbonara, I understand how difficult it is to pull this dish off. 3/5

We also had the pasta of the day, the Nduja Pasta (S$28). This was pretty tasty as well for fans of crayfish and the tomato sauce contained specially-imported South Italy Nduja salami (hence the name). The pasta texture was a little bit soft, but not overcooked. 3/5

The flavour of the crayfish is rather strong, infusing the entire dish with it. I did find the meat of the crayfish a little on the old side.

There's also the Linguine al Granchio (S$38) which saw the al dente pasta generously scattered with hand-peeled Sri Lankan crabmeat and crab roe (that's brilliant). The flavours are well-balanced, sweet with the tomatoes cutting through and not too watery. Definitely a super worth-it dish! I would pick this over the crayfish pasta. 3.5/5

My protein eating friend ordered the Pork Collar (S$33), which was pan-roasted Iberico pork shoulder with apple and thyme brandy compote, pomme puree (pork rind). It was decent for the price and quite a big portion. 3/5

A new addition to the menu is the Pork Roulade (S$24). At only $24 this is a super worth it protein dish. The pork is not smelly at all, and stands the bite test. It was solid to bite onto, yet not too chewy. The skin even had some crackling to it! This was one of my favourites that night. 4/5

Lastly (not at the tasting), I ordered a Venere rice pudding (S$10) which had black rice (aka pulut hitam), pistachio paste, caramel crumble bits and vanilla ice cream. It was quite yummy but I felt a bit cheated after ordering (because where is the venere??). Still, no complaints because its a bit of that local taste, elevated. 3/5

In general, Wine & Chef is decent. Everything was executed in textbook style of "how to cook food for a restaurant". Nothing particularly inspired, but nothing terribly bad about it either. I would recommend it still because for the price and location, and ability to absorb big groups or even intimate pairs without giving you a headache.

Wine & Chef
7 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089115
11am to 11pm, closed on Sundays
Reserve on Chope

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