I’ve a confession to make.
I haven’t been to Wild Honey. Oh, the horror, right? I’m the tortoise to your hare, but excuse me, I’ve not been digesting all-day breakfast outlets here too well. You wanna know how aeroplane food tastes like? Just drop in at any all-day breakfast eatery in Singapore – eggs taste like bland yellow toe jam (I’m looking at you Jones The Grocer!!), brioches are cakes, and they dare to serve everything in huge portions and play the hunger card on you (Food For Thought)? Pathetic. It’s no wonder I stopped ticking down the bucket list. Life’s a b**ch, you know that? It feels as if the whole world’s bugged my computer, seriously. It’s like after the millisecond after I confirmed my payment my trip to Tokyo, all the media invites shot themselves through – Jessie J press conference and subsequent free passes to see her concert after, Da Paolo tasting, Sushi Ichi tasting, Wild Honey tasting, Death Cab For Cutie concert, James Morisson interview opportunity and subsequent free passes to attend his gig… It was frakking relentless, I tell you…
One thing I absolutely couldn’t give up was Sushi Ichi and Wild Honey. The most generous agency behind the former was being totally diva-like, completely disorganized and demanding, vested in the power by a single Michelin star. Well, Din Tai Fung’s awarded a single star, and Crystal Jade Xiao Long Bao’s been awarded Michelin’s Big Gourmand, and they aren’t being divas, so I was like, “I’m not doing you anymore”. Wild Honey on the other hand, was really nice, down-to-earth, and incredibly welcoming, so with my colleague Chia Erhn, we headed midtown.
Wild Honey was started two years ago by Australian Stephanie Hancock, and her husband, Guy. Initially based in Bangkok and constantly traveling for work, the couple moved down south to Singapore when their son, was born. They abandoned their frequent flyer platinum, incredibly generous expat salary and a jet setting lifestyle which most Singaporeans would kill for, and settled for a tiring, low-paying, long working hour, stressful, financially straining start-up. What they did is probably like Halle Berry when she agreed to star in James Bond, the equivalent of a career suicide, but they loved to cook and bake – it was their passion, and they’d rather cook, and run a restaurant, than living the high life that few people could ever dream of. It’s almost as if they watched Martha Stewart or Rachel Ray one day, probably on an airplane, and thought to themselves, “we could do this”.
Two years, and still sailing strong, Wild Honey’s opening its second outlet. Exemplified by the mostly obnoxious comments on Timeout Singapore of disgruntled customers disappointed that they can’t order an additional fried egg or a brioche; how it’s not worth it when you compare it to a two-dollar economical vermicelli; and self-professed critics being critical about whether the omelette is flash-grilled, baked, or just cooked in a pan; Wild Honey’s certainly not for everybody. But if you’re in on the all-day breakfast craze, which just started being a huugeeee thing among young Japanese in Tokyo the last I visited, you’ve got to want to try Wild Honey. One thing I really like about the Scotts Square outlet is that it’s much, much, much less pretentious than Mandarin Gallery. Despite being located in a mall pigeon-holed with the ultra-luxe, the Scotts area seems to take itself far less seriously, and the result, is a “home away from home”. Of course, you do know that when they use that phrase, “home” actually means “a five-star super luxury hotel that you’ll never in your life be able to live in, you muthafuckers”, right? The star attraction’s gotta be the
greenhouse balcony, which is like a VIP Box, where you get a front row view of the now-iconic Orchard-Scotts junction.
Both of us had kinda established what we wanted to try amongst ourselves, but didn’t dare bring that proposition up in front of Stephanie. This was, after all, a free meal.
Having never tried Tunisian food myself, I can’t verify the authenticity of the appropriately named, Tunisian, but who’s checking? While every bit of effort has been put in, Stephanie confesses that the goal’s not authenticity, although certain things, such as the Santa Fe, is pretty authentic. Guy and her just wanna convey the importance of fresh ingredients, which is something I really believe in ever since I’ve been to Tokyo. Personally, I think Singaporeans are so used to placing price and initial taste as priorities, that they’ve neglected the far more important things, such as whether it’s healthy, whether it uses fresh ingredients or not. All these things might seem more expensive, and less immediate, but ultimately, it’ll affect your body eventually. People will happily avoid chicken skin, but can’t resist weekend nights of getting high on alcohol – it’s ridiculous, when you think about it.
The Tunisian feels very Italian. Perhaps, it isn’t a coincidence since Tunisia is directly across the Mediterranean Sea from Italy although the salad’s very Greek, literally, not figuratively. The brioche, is, to me, the best. I know brioches can come sweet or savory, and I just don’t appreciate places like Food For Thought where you present me sweet and savory on a single plate. It’s disgusting. It’s like eating McGriddles – eating syrup-doused pancakes with meat. Eww… The brioche here is simply, bread, which I really appreciated, because the sauce was flavorful, and that was the star, and the brioche complimented it perfectly.
So, in the style of Gordon Ramsay’s The F Word,would I pay for this dish (it’s either pay or don’t pay, can’t go in between… My apologies.)?
No. Don’t get me wrong, it’s lovely, but the taste is too familiar. I think of Pasta Fresca or Modesto’s Seafood Zuppa, and I think, “Those soups are tastier, they have really generous portions of seafood”, and it’s cheaper. This, well, too “ordinary” and “safe” for my liking, but Stephanie says the Tunisian is very popular. I could definitely see why.
Norwegian. Norwegian smoked salmon, topped with Hollandaise and salmon caviar wrapped around an egg, cheese and grilled asparagus.
One word – I.was.impressed.
Certainly, it’s not something I’d have chosen, but it workeda lot better than I expected. Smoked salmon’s usually too salty, a tad tasteless, and rubbery, but these had very raw characteristics – very flavorsome, melts in your mouth, and the egg’s not as overpowering as I thought it’d be. Whole-wheat brioche worked very nicely – its blandness worked to the dish’s favor, isolating the aroma and richness. The asparagus was a surprise, though. Grilled till crispy, it gave the very rich-to-the-point-of-any-more-and-it’s-too-much flavors a break of sorts, to add a little crudeness in a way, and I loved it. Would.I.pay.for.this?
Yes. I’ve never seen this being done before, and there are a lot of flavors here being collided to give a hubris of fireworks. We shared this, but I’d imagine that eating this individually, it could be a tad rich, but hey, I say, bring a few friends, order something different, and everybody try a little.