Daily: 11:30 - 22:00
East meets west as chef Shen Tan presents a selection of local gastronomical delights and Western bistro classics, along with desserts and a range craft beers from Japan and Belgium at the Wok & Barrel.
I've had the superb rendang and bite size fried chicken thrice now and I'm definitely going back for more. I"ve heard mixed reviews about the place but it's usually when someone steers away from their specialty which is nasi lemak, rendang, fried chicken and their amazing local desserts that take on a wicked twist like the Shendol and Pulot Hitam pudding with coconut ice cream and butterscotch sauce. AS with all restaurants, Wok & Barrel excels in some areas and misses in others, but if it's good hearty local food with a unique twist you're craving, then tis is the place to be. The service is first class and I love that they have many variety of drinks and beer to wash down the curry. Nice, casual, informal setting. Anyone will feel comfortable here.
We'd been to Wok and Barrel a few months ago and had a decent meal with chilli soft shell crab and rendang pizza, and we'd decided to revisit the place for a light Sunday lunch.
My wife ordered a mushroom vegan wrap and I'd ordered a nasi lemak with otah.
The vegan wrap was 2 sorry pieces of lettuce leaf filled with haphazardly chopped vegetables. It tasted and looked amateur at best
The otak was a steamed piece of fish- in a bland, tasteless sauce.
Nasi lemak was devoid of lemak, and a collection of old-looking, soggy cabbage bits purported to be the coleslaw.
There was an overwhelming tang of garlic throughout the meal. And I am normally very fond of garlic, but this was sharp and overpowering and added to the bad taste the meal left behind, especially after a bill of $30.
Still processing what just happened. Profoundly disappointed and $30 poorer. Come on wok and barrel I am sure you can do better!
Must tries: bak chor mee pasta, ‘Shendol’
If Shen Tan had a choice, she would do it all over again.
The former Events Director of Forbes gave up a lucrative corporate career to hawk nasi lemak under the moniker of Madam Tan at Maxwell Market more than a year ago. And since July, Tan had traded her cramped-up hawker stall for Wok & Barrel, a cool and chirpy white washed restaurant at the up-and-coming Duxton Hill enclave.
“This is what I’ve always wanted to do,” says Tan, a food cognoscenti and self-taught cook. “Wok & Barrel is all about full-on-flavour Asian food, hence the name Wok, paired with beers, which explains Barrel.”
While Wok & Barrel continues to dish out Tan’s popular rendition of nasi lemak - with beef rendang, mutton curry or five-spice roast pork - by day, it transforms into a bistro and by night, serves jazzed-up Singapore cuisine that is unconventional yet heart-warming.
Beef rendang, a signature that accompanies your fragrant plate of nasi lemak at lunch, reappears at dinner as rendang pizza ($11.90), with melted cheese atop a 36-hour slow fermented pizza crust that is not unlike the Indian naan (a leavened flatbread).
Another signature is bak chor mee pasta ($19.90), Tan’s personal take on the popular hawker dish of minced pork noodle with mee pok (flat noodles). Instead of using the humble mee pok, Tan hand-makes tagliatelle on site and tosses it in a heady, lard-infused sauce perfumed with prawn shells, onions and carrots. To finish, she drizzles a dash of balsamic vinegar and crowns it with shredded confit of five-spice roast pork, yet another star cast at lunch.
Tan’s desserts, while equally inventive, are nostalgic in taste as they are toothsome. Standouts include Shendol ($7.90), Tan’s playful take on chendol with a coconut panna cotta doused with gula Melaka alongside a scoop of red bean ice cream; and deconstructed pulot hitam ($7.90), with a warm cake cleverly made of black glutinous rice drizzled with gula melaka butterscotch served with homemade coconut ice cream.
Tan will also be unveiling a new brunch menu. Naturally, you should expect Singapore-style carrot cake; but then again, with Tan, you’ll never know what to expect.
For a full reivew, see: http://thehungrygeographer.blogspot.com/2011/09/of-woks-barrels-pigeonholes.html
This place basically serves 'atas singaporean food'. Local delights packaged and remixed in a restaurant setting!
Loved the food, especially with a western fusion twist. Tried the omelette, nasi lemak, chicken curry and otak otak (personal favourite, fresh and fragrant). A tad expensive, but yummy nonetheless.
Good for sunday brunch / lunch and dinners.