The stretch of Keong Saik Road is known to house a slew of eateries that cater to the usual office workers around the area of Outram. This stretch is so congested with big named dining areas that finding ambiance for small gatherings is like finding a needle in a haystack. Wine & Chef is this gem that is best for small meetings in a cosy place while enjoying a glass of wine along with food to be shared.
Wine & Chef has a unique unsaid motto: That every dish they serve will have the best pairing of wine. Their knowledge runs through the deep pool of trial and error that they have undertaken throughout the years of serving customers. With the experience to satisfy the taste buds of all those walking in to the restaurant, the staff will be more than happy to recommend the type of wine that goes best with the dish you order.
The Wagyu Beef Tartar has an egg yolk in the middle of the morsal of meat that brings this whole starter dish together very well.
For entrées, we were presented the Scarmoza (S$12) and the Wagyu Beef Tartar (S$19). The Scarmorza is a dish of cheese wrapped in Parma ham on top of toasted ciabatta breads sprinkled with cherry tomatoes marinated in balsamic vinegar. The Wagyu Beef Tartar consists of minced Wagyu Beef, garnished with truffle, parmesan and caviar. We were given red wine to pair with these starters.
The Scarmorza is a great starter too!
What stood out among these two appetiser dishes was the uniqueness of the Wagyu Beef Tartar. You would expect the minced meat to be alien in texture in that it would feel like tuna – wet, and hard to swallow. However, hidden in the middle of the morsel of minced beef is an egg yolk that does not just keep the meat together, but allows for a creamy consistency, enhancing the ‘one-bite’ experience paired with the red wine presented to you. The Scarmoza is equally as flavourful, but we would recommend the Wagyu Beef Tartar to be a better option because of the special, semi-salty texture and consistency of the minced Wagyu Beef supported by the egg yolk.
You can never go wrong with red wine and beef.
A main dish that pairs well with red wine would be the Beef Cheek Pasta (S$29). The dish is simple: Spaghettini cooked with slow braised beef cheeks in light tomato salsa. You can never go wrong with beef and red wine. The wine enhances the flavour of the beef and tomato salsa. What is good about this dish is that the beef cheeks are tender, allowing for easy bites.
Chardonnay is the perfect pairing for the Hokkaido Scallop Capellini.
What came next was the Hokkaido Scallop Capellini (S$28). We were told that the Capellini would taste best when it’s cold. Food over at Wine & Chef is people-centric; focusing on scenarios where people would walk in, enjoy a glass of wine over their chatting for prolonged periods of time, and then dig in to the dishes on their tables. You would think that the scallop would lose in its freshness under this scenario, but because the scallop is sashimi grade from Hokkaido, it ensures it stays fresh on the table for a long time. The soy truffle dressing brings a heavy aftertaste in every bite, with the caviar carrying the heaviness of the truffle through the throat. That is why chardonnay was recommended to us as the perfect pairing along with this dish. The chardonnay is a great equaliser – washing away the truffle flavour for a good next-bite refresher. Simultaneously, it also allows the flavour of the scallop to burst through.
Looking for a healthy dish? The Salmon “Risotto” is low to zero carbs.
For those looking for a much healthier option while enjoying a glass of wine, we would recommend the Salmon “Risotto” (S$23). This dish is made of a soy and coriander cured salmon fillet prepared sous-vide that would make the crown of the slow-cooked mascarpone barley risotto. Because the salmon fillet is precooked in water to achieve the correct texture, the flesh would seem to melt in your mouth. It is an admirable feat to achieve the balance of flavour and nutrition while ensuring the meal to be close to zero carbs. No wonder the dish is recommended by Michelin.
The Venere Rice Pudding is a dessert that brings back so many memories of childhood.
The last dish we tried was the Venere Rice Pudding (S$11). On the surface (and at first glance), you would probably think this dish to be just like BuburHitam – a black glutinous rice with coconut milk dessert. We were so wrong in that aspect. Sure, the dessert has the base of hot black rice. But the coconut milk is replaced with coconut gelato. This replacement allows the fragrance of the rice to stand out more, with a tinge of sweetness from the gelato that follows. The best part of this dessert is the almond, hazelnut, and popping candy bits crumbed above the dessert dish. The popping candies brought us back to our younger days of getting that titular sweet around the mom and pop shops of our neighbourhoods. The marriage of the crumb dressings, the popping candy, and the coconut gelato amalgamates into this musical of taste and sound on your throat and on your taste buds – A truly unique dessert experience!
Wine & Chef is a place to enjoy food on the flavour aspect with their small dishes and large selection of wines. It’s a great place to have small meetings or gatherings because of the cosy interior. Their dishes are the kind that leaves you satisfied (Not too full, not hungry either) when you walk out of the place, but wanting more, warranting a second visit.
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