Being perched atop a hill offers peace and tranquility amidst lush surroundings. However, it poses accessibilty problems too. That kept me from checking out Wild Rocket on Emily Hill...till now.
The meal started off with complimentary warm cubes of bread accompanied by a very nutty olive oil. I must say that the texture of the bread was interestingly more like kueh- chewy and slightly sticky. This was an indication of the food to come.
The Oregano Grilled Octopus Rocket Salad with Mirin ($12.50) was very delicious though I didn't quite detect much oregano. The tender octopus was dressed in a mirin-olive oil combo with bits of finely-grated ginger that added an intense fragrance and also some heat. Small cubes of tomato and orange provided colour and some tang. Rocket-lovers would love the flavours here that combined nicely with the sharp, bitterness of rocket.
No visit to Wild Rocket would be complete without trying their signature Laksa Pesto Linguini with Tiger Prawns and Quail Eggs ($17.50). The mucky green colour would put some people off but close your eyes and slurp up the pasta. Each strand of firm linguini was coated with a film of rich, nutty pesto that had light hints of the laksa leaves. I would have preferred for it to be a little more moist though. The tiger prawns were overly-crunchy/springy (a la those found in dim sum and Cantonese restaurants). Something I do not take to. But over all, this dish is really interesting and surprising light on the laksa flavour. To be honest, I usually avoid laksa leaves due to its strong aroma that can be over-powering at times.
Another fusion pasta dish we tried was the Spicy Conpoy & Fresh Scallop Spag with Dried Shrimps ($22). When the plate was brought to the table, an alluring aroma from the dried shrimps brought me back years ago before my grandma hung up her apron strings. Grandma's hae bee hiam (spicy dried shrimps) were the best I've tasted. Expecting the spaghetti to be spicy, it tasted more sweet instead. The spiciness faded, ensued quickly by sweetness. The scallops were disappointingly tiny but boasted sweetness and freshness nonetheless.
Dad does a mean olive rice and seeing olive rice being offered on the menu, we decided to try out the one here. The Baked Catfish with Green Curry and Black Olive Rice ($25.80) was decent though I found the black olive rice bland, even with bits of lup cheong (Chinese sausage) and dried shrimps. The catfish fillets were really good. Soft, white flesh that flaked easily and a coconutty green curry sauce are new best friends.
The meal ended with the much-talked-about Strawberry Cheesecake ($9). The version here was served deconstructed in a chilled martini glass. The layer of flavours progressed from a sticky, savoury cream cheese, sweet ice cream (gula melaka?), firm biscuit base and finally tart strawberry compote at the base. Oh yes, a good way to end the meal.
The food so far here for me was interesting, with a local Asian twist to popular favourites. Quite a feat considering the Chef-owner, Willin Low, is a lawyer-turned-cook and is self-taught.
I have to compliment the service staff here for their attention to details and their polite, non-intrusive service. I didn't have to ask for a refill of water (yes, it's complimentary water here). Each time my glass was half full, a staff would quickly top it up. A change from warm to iced water resulted in a change of glass. Not that I'm that particular but these small touches sure are a bonus. Good
10A Upper Wilkie Road (Mount Emily)
Tel: 6339 9448
Chew On This: The above post reflected the serving size, price and part of their selection from the brunch menu. I had initially wanted to try the Wild Rocket burger but it wasn't on the brunch menu. :( A perfect excuse for a trip to Relish, hopefully soon!