Wok & Barrel

Average: 4 (1 vote)

Wok & Barrel’s not a fancy spot by any stretch, not by a long shot, but this humble, laidback bistro is a rare gem with chef-owner Shen Tan whipping up some mean hometown classics and local-inspired fare at very wallet-friendly prices. Don’t pass on the unique beef rendang pizza (only available for dinner), scrumptious chicken curry with nasi lemak and fab beef noodles; extra points go to Tan for making just about everything from scratch. There’s also a mean selection of craft beers such as Hitachino and Delirium, thanks to Tan’s love for the stuff.

Who would’ve thunk that a bistro serving up modern Singaporean fare in the so-hip-it-hurts Duxton neighborhood would work, but this one does. There is a palpable shortage of mid-range Singaporean dining establishments that aren’t hawker stalls, tze char eateries or seafood specialists, and chef-owner Shen Tan’s Wok & Barrel fills that glaring void. That said, décor’s as minimal as they come, and the acoustics can be jarring. Lunchtimes see mostly office folk grabbing a quick fuss-free bite, thanks to their delicious value-for-money nasi lemak sets ($7.90-$9.90), while dinners tend to be longer, more boisterous affairs. There’s a more extensive menu after 5pm, which includes what we consider to be Tan’s home run dish: beef rendang pizza ($11.90). The slim yet chewy base is homemade, as is the flavorsome beef rendang that tops it. Also exceptional is the robust chicken curry ($8.90), to be soaked up with some fragrant and coconutty nasi lemak rice ($1.90); have it with the two accompanying sambal chili sauces (again made from scratch), sweet or spicy, for a real kick. Even desserts here are stellar, particularly the pulot hitam cake with gula melaka butterscotch and coconut ice cream ($7.90). On the whole, the waitstaff do a more than decent job (service charge is not included in the bill, so tips are appreciated), and the list of craft beers scores them brownie points, but it’s the homemade and super-affordable Singaporean fare that’ll win you over.

Don't miss: Nasi lemak with chicken curry. It's one of I-S Magazine's 50 things to eat in Singapore before you die (2012).

Venue Details
Address: Wok & Barrel, 13, Singapore, 089597 Singapore
Phone: 6220-0595
Price Range: B
Open since: July, 2011
Opening hours: Tue-Fri 7am-9:30pm; Sat-Sun 10:30am-9:30pm
Nearest trainChinatown
Parking available: at Duxton Hill car park
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