Reliable comfort Italian food on Wine & Chef's refreshed menu
Wine & Chef has been around for a couple of years, and I might have walked past it a few times, but until I was alerted to its new menu, I had not noticed it.
It lost out to its flashier and trendier neighbours around Keong Saik Road.
Chef Darence Wee joined the restaurant in March and with that, a refreshed menu of comfort Italian food has been introduced.
To add to the comfort, there is a range of 140 Italian wines for sale there.
You can drink there too, starting at $7 a glass.
The dishes I tasted were competent, though some bordered on conservative.
To certain diners, that is boring. But there is a huge market for safe choices, and this is where Wine & Chef shines.
At least you know when you eat there, you will not be shocked and the food will not be bad.
My favourite dish is the Pork Roulade ($24), which comes with a rotating roster of sides.
Pork belly slices are rolled into a roulade, then slow-roasted. Then it goes through high heat for perfectly crisp and crackling skin.
The crackling in your mouth as you bite in is a joy, while the meat is just fatty enough and packed with flavours.
Make sure you call ahead to reserve this because there are only limited portions daily.
Another stellar dish is the Linguine al Granchio ($38).
The pasta is coated in a dense umami sauce, mixed with the flesh of Sri Lankan crabs, with crab roe for added creaminess.
It is not for the faint-hearted, and definitely not for someone who wants to eat light. This is full-on rich.
The prettiest dish must be the Scallop Capellini ($28). This delicious cold dish features scallops from Hokkaido, served on top of capellini tossed in truffle and soy sauce.
The garnish of ikura and fried shallots gave it texture. My favourite bit is the addition of pomegranate seeds, providing pops of sweetness that enhanced the dish.
The Nduja Pasta ($28) is good but not outstanding.
Nduja - a spicy pork salami - may not be commonly served in Singapore but it almost always makes a dish better.
In this case, it elevated the experience, though there is only so much one ingredient can do.
I was surprised I didn't dislike the Venere Rice Pudding ($10).
This is the restaurant's take on pulut hitam, a dessert I am not fond of.
What won me over is that the warm sticky black rice is not horribly sweet, and I love the coconut gelato.
Wine & Chef
7 Keong Saik Road
Opens Monday to Saturday, noon to midnight