Chef Willin Low’s Wild Rocket to close as he takes his Singapore-inspired cuisine overseas

Chef Willin Low’s Wild Rocket to close as he takes his Singapore-inspired cuisine overseas

He'll be bringing his signature Mod-Sin cuisine to Japan, as well as opening a noodle bar in Taiwan.

Wild Rocket Chef-Owner Wilin Low and his Mod-Sin signature Laksa Pesto
Wild Rocket chef-owner Willin Low's Mod-Sin signature dish Laksa Pesto. (Photos: Wild Rocket)

After 13 years in the business, Singaporean chef-owner Willin Low will close the doors of his popular “Mod-Sin” restaurant Wild Rocket.

The restaurant will serve its last dinner on Oct 31.

“Mod-Sin” - short for “Modern Singaporean" - was a style first coined by Low when he opened Wild Rocket back in 2005, with the aim of showcasing Singaporean dishes delivered with a twist.

Over the years, dishes like Low’s laksa pesto pasta, duck liver-filled ravioli in duck and salted vegetable soup, and scallop sashimi with chye poh (preserved radish) – a dish inspired by our local chwee kueh – have become popular Wild Rocket menu stalwarts.

Wild Rocket restaurant penalty fee
Wild Rocket will serve its last dinner on Oct 31, 2018. (Photo: Facebook/Wild Rocket)

The 46-year-old lawyer-turned-chef cited various reasons for the closure. First, Hangout Hotel - where Wild Rocket is located - will undergo major refurbishments over an extended period of time next year. There is also some uncertainty regarding the lease of arts commune Emily Hill, where the open-air parking space also serves as the restaurant’s car park.

READ: Do Michelin stars really matter in Singapore’s fine-dining scene?

Low told CNA Lifestyle that he decided to take this opportunity to close so he could take a break.

“Thirteen years is a long time and a break is due,” he shared. “I’ve been thinking about it for a while as I wanted to do something different and bring Mod-Sin overseas.

“Though now with three new projects, it’s maybe not too much of a break!” he continued with a laugh.

His overseas ventures will see him opening Roketto, which he called “the baby sister of Wild Rocket”, this December in Hokkaido.

The casual dining restaurant, located at ski resort The Maples Niseko, will serve up Southeast Asian flavours with Japanese ingredients. Bak kut teh ramen, laksa somen with snow crab, braised pork rice bowls and bite-sized roti prata topped with chopped tuna are some of the items that will feature on the menu.  

In the evenings, the restaurant will transform into a cocktail bar - a collaboration between Low, High Five Tokyo, Bar Mood Taipei and Nutmeg & Clove Singapore.

Also opening at the end of the year is Low’s Southeast Asian noodle concept bar in Hualien, Taiwan. The restaurant will feature local favourite Roxy laksa as one of its dishes.

READ: Despite rosier economic outlook, restaurant owners in Singapore still feeling the bite

Back in Singapore, Low will open his second branch of Relish - his all-day burger and pasta restaurant - at Frasers Tower on Cecil Street come November. He first opened Relish at Cluny Court back in 2006.

“I’m still thinking of giving it a little twist, perhaps a bit of Wild Rocket somewhere,” he teased.

Low also told CNA Lifestyle that there’s a possibility of reopening Wild Rocket here in Singapore.

“But not in the foreseeable future,” he admitted.

“There’s also a possibility of opening Wild Rocket overseas,” he said. “If we find the right partners."

From now until Oct 31, Wild Rocket will serve three dinner menus - five-course, seven-course and nine-course - with a mixture of old and current items to celebrate its 13 years.

Source: CNA/gl(cy)