Willow Restaurant – New Kid on The Block with So Much Potential

I chanced upon Willow on IG and decided to come here for my birthday meal. Helmed by Chef Nicolas Tam who has experiences in Zen and Joël Robuchon under his belt, he and his young team serves up Contemporary Asian cuisine with Japanese influences on his menu. I like that there are no different seatings and you can book at whatever time you like so the experience doesn’t feel rushed, and also we were very lucky to get the counter seats 🙂


The one thing that caught my eye when I was seated

It definitely brought up the hype I had for the entire meal


The interior was done up elegantly, with hues of warm tone amidst the dark contrast though the chair did feel a little unstable. If you had a drop too much, don’t lean too far back. lol

The dinner menu is priced at $198++, with supplements available for 2 of the dishes, though I don’t really recommend going for the supplements. Wine pairing is also available, but we chose to go with a bottle instead. They do have some really good sake so give them a try!


Caviar: 14 years kaluga hybrid | Bonito | Argan Oil

Starting with the first snack, I thought the light potato crisp with caviar was a nice contrast in flavour. It was a fancy dish and definitely worked for the gram


Foie Gras: ‘Bolo Bao’ | Wild Berry | Aged Vinegar

The second snack was their version of bolo bun, with foie gras as its filling. There was definitely  some resemblance in taste but this second snack was pretty much forgotten after the third snack arrived

Processed with Focos

Sakura Masu: Mi-cuit | Kinkan | Fingerlime

This was my favourite snack of all, but more so cos you would be drawn by the smokiness flavours and balanced by a sweet and citrusy orange which gave a lasting impression


Pain Au Lait: Nori | Katsuobushi

With snacks drawn to a close, up next, the milk bun


The milk bun itself was so impressive I hope they don’t ever fire their pastry chef. LOL

The friend and I both agreed this was one of the best bun we had, with the bread so soft and tasted milky sweet, and a nori filling that gave some surprise with a dip made of bonito flakes to give you the extra oomph if you need


Sawara: Rhubarb | Umeboshi

Love the presentation of this dish that put a smile on your face. I enjoyed the cook on the fish but I felt it was missing a little something


Tachiuo: Ponzu | Sweet Onion


I preferred the tachiuo to the sawara. You can taste the oiliness of the fish which was nicely balanced by the ponzu sauce and the crunchiness of the onions. This was delicious


We found it intriguing that we did not see massive cooking in the kitchen but somehow the food just appeared silently. lol


Hotaru Ika: BBQ | Squid Ink Riso | Algae | Hotsauce

We didn’t think much of the ika at first, but wow, this dish really surprises. The cook on the risotto, the softness and flavour of the ika and how it all came together, you would gladly take another bite of this


Amadai (+28): Signature Crispy Scales | Nanohana | Scallop Ankake

We ordered the supplement as well, so the phone can have more photos. Inspired by sharks fin broth, I thought the broth did provide a refreshing taste on the fish. The doneness of the amadai was good, but it could have been better. Because I had tried Chef Kazu’s version, the benchmark has already been set so this fell a little bit short of expectations


Iberico: Presa | Haricot Vert | Ramson

I’m not a pork person, but this was one of the best pork I had. The cook on this protein was done so well, it was quite impressive. I would recommend the pork over the beef anytime


Wagyu A5 (+38): Tochigi Ribeye | Haricot Vert | Ramson

Plated similarly with the same sides, you can really compare both proteins as they were. We thought the beef was good, but not wow. But because they had done the pork so well, this beef was actually a letdown


Busy plating the rice dish which they had a tray of condiments on hand


Kamasu: Koshihikari Rice | Peppery Cresses | Fragrant Oils | Roasted Bone Broth

This rich dish felt like you were eating out of a garden


We were recommended to eat half the rice as it was, then add the broth to it


And you could really taste the contrast in flavours. The rice was really fragrant, more because of all the herbs they had used. The bone broth itself was really rich but when you add it into the rice, it became so well balanced and gave the whole dish a nice finishing taste to it. The fattiness of the fish played a part too, with so much fireworks dancing in your mouth


Palate cleanser:)


Muah Chee: Peanut Gelato | Mochi | Rice Veil

It really tasted like muah chee. It was quite intriguing and delicious (and cos personally I really love muah chee)


Sweet Endings: Breakfast Toast Macaron | Cacao Berry Bonbon Surprise | Candied Chestnut Madeleines

The end to the meal also pretty much depended on the petite 4. Some places could have an impressive start without a rounding finish but I’m glad the petite 4 did not really disappoint


We were advised to start with the madeleines cos they were served warm and I enjoyed how it was served in bite sizes. The candied walnuts provided some sweetness and the madeleine itself were moist and pretty much disappeared without a trace on the plate. Next, the breakfast toast inspired by McDonalds were quite interesting. The friend said it reminded her of McMuffins (cos of the burnt taste) but they reminded of the hotcakes with syrup. So this was definitely something they should keep on the menu. Finishing it off with the chocolate, well, lets just say they tasted like chocolates

This was an enjoyable meal. I love the attention to details, the service and the whole experience. There were some things that can definitely be improved and I looked forward to their surprise they might bring the next time I go back (but maybe less lame jokes perhaps)

Willow Restaurant

39 Hongkong Street

Singapore 059678

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