Restaurant powerhouse Water Library, which now has some 14 F&B ventures scattered across the city serving everything from fine dining to dim sum, made one of its more leftfield steps when it opened this rusticated attempt at down-to-earth contemporary dining.
From a space where earthy, harvest-season references get turned up to eleven—hemp rope coiled around the ceiling, faux wooden rafters, olde worlde gardening implements—Seed serves a menu which claims to use “hand picked” ingredients from “sustainable local farmers and sustainable suppliers.” The inclusion of such decidedly un-local and contentious offerings as foie gras and Chilean sea bass kind of undermines this, but get past the urban-rustic posturing and you’ll find in Seed an efficient, high-end bistro serving competent and, for the most part, well-considered dishes.
The organic lamb tartare (B390) is Seed on its more elaborate end of the scale, with a strip of coarsely diced lamb sitting beside a lime green swoosh of minty herb mayonnaise. Behind the eye-popping presentation is a delightful balance of flavors and freshness that makes it one of the restaurant’s high points.
More routine mains like fish and chips (B520), burgers (B590) and barbecue ribs (B680) are well-prepared and don’t skimp on the portions. The ribs, for one, are the hearty, no-nonsense pile of bones you’d hope for, each one covered in an ample amount of succulent pig flesh and a delicious, sticky marinade.
But like the decor, much of the food at Seed feels like it’s playing by numbers. The heirloom carrot salad (B320) sprinkled with a few crumbs of local goat cheese, for example, doesn’t have the all-important spark that made Opposite’s salads and vegetables good enough to tell your friends about. Likewise, the sea crab pasta to share (B1,390) lacks the moreish appeal we were hoping for from such a vast mountain of spaghetti.
It’s clear the team here know all about running a tight restaurant. The service is charming, the cocktails good, and someone involved has the connections to offer lovely wine at pinch-yourself prices (the B895 Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon is a delicious steal), but the palpable absence of any single-minded passion means Seed just never feels all that special.
This review took place in November 2015 and is based on a visit to the restaurant without the restaurant's knowledge. For more on BK's review policy, click here.