Time Out says
This restaurant has closed.
The concept of nose-to-tail dining has finally come to Singapore with WOLF, the latest restaurant by the Prive Group. It’s the first restaurant in town to fully market themselves with the increasingly popular global trend (though of course, eating offal may not be anything special to any local who enjoys pig’s organ soup at hawker centres), offering various menu items featuring eclectic cuts of meat, such as ears, hearts, lips and more.
The concept gained momentum in Western restaurants after chef Fergus Henderson’s 1999 book, Nose to Tail Eating: A Kind of British Cooking, following his reputation for serving up gutsy cuisine at his one- Michelin-starred St John restaurant in London. The movement had found its trotters in diners in London and New York in recent years – even cuts like sweetbread can be increasingly found in Western restaurants in Singapore, though WOLF will be the first to try to go the whole hog (and cow).
Currently, WOLF’s one-page menu features a mix of somewhat macabre-sounding dishes and a number of safer standards for the non-adventurous, such as steaks ($38-$48) and pan-seared sea bass ($28). Located next to Luke’s Oyster Bar off Club Street, the restaurant draws in a handsome crowd of expats and locals, many of whom are likely there specifically just to try some of the more gory stuff at least once.
Among the meal (and conversation) starters are grilled beef hearts ($25), served up on a bed of haricot verts, grapes, walnuts and a light stout dressing. Served medium-rare, it’s a well-balanced dish and also unmistakably cow, with a bit of a liver-like texture. The truly adventurous also can look out for the special of deep-fried pig brain croquettes ($5/piece – one is enough for everyone at the table to have a bite) – gooey-textured and slightly bitter, it’s reminiscent of foie gras.
The pig’s ear salad ($20) is sure to pique curiosities, but resist the urge. It’s mostly about the cartilage-like texture here, as the pig’s ears themselves don’t have much taste – they’re sliced into strips and tossed with endives, pomegranate and an aioli sauce; after trying the dish on two occasions, it needed more seasoning both times.
Among the mains, there’s the beef lips and oxtail stew ($32), combining head and tail in one dish. Served with silky mashed potatoes, which blended the texture of the gelatinous chunks of beef lips and the tender oxtail perfectly, there’s not much intimidation factor here – we’d go back for more. Also recommended is the gamey grilled ox tongue ($38) matched with a mint-laced puy lentil salad – if it’s cooked right; starting out, the kitchen’s consistency needs work.
Portion sizes are generous overall; though you pay a bit of a premium for the rarer cuts. In the case of the basic mushroom risotto ($28), it’s an extra $6 to get it topped with four pieces of sweetbread. The execution fell short here as well, with the meat piece a bit too charred and the starchy risotto itself slightly paste-y.
Still, there’s plenty of potential here with chef Alysia Chan, a recent At-Sunrice graduate who also worked at Henderson’s St John in London – look out for a few more offal ideas that have yet to come to fruition, as the restaurant admits it’s proven difficult to source reliably for certain cuts. A special degustation menu, including all parts of a roasted pig’s head, is also in the works.
For now, the nose-to-tail concept covers about a third of the menu; dessert is almost a return to normalcy, though there’s still adventure to be found in the somewhat confusing beetroot chocolate cake ($14), which is overpowered by a house-made, pungent goat’s cheese frosting. Skip that if your senses start to fray and finish instead with the safer option of banoffee tart ($14) held together by a buttery crust, or moreish jar of rhubarb trifle ($14) with notes of liquorice, whipped cream and toasted almonds.
18 Gemmill Lane
18 Gemmil Lane
|Opening hours:||Mon-Sat 11.30am-3pm, 6pm-midnight|
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