The name Wooloomooloo comes from a bay side town in Sydney, but the entire concept behind this premium steakhouse hails from the shores of Hong Kong. And for the first time since its establishment in 2004, Wooloomooloo is making its first overseas expansion into the sunny island of Singapore at the Swissotel, The Stamford.
Fans of the original restaurants in Hong Kong will be pleased to note that the menu here mirrors what is found in their steakhouses there. From the luscious starters of Spanish Jamon Iberico Ham to the excellent cut of 150-Day Grain Fed USDA Prime Rib eye, guests to this premium steakhouse will find their tastebuds played with, what more with a stunning skyline to accompany it all.
Entering a meaty journey for the night
Meats, Wines, and a curvy pathway
Wooloomooloo with its selection of meats are clearly displayed in a glass fridge at the entrance of the restaurant. Kept constantly cold at a temperature of 3-4 degree celsius throughout, the portrayal of meats set the impression of the dishes to come, tempting you even further.
The curvy pathway
The restaurant apart from its menu of meats to choose from, stocks an exciting spread of 150 wine labels for all guests to savour. Wine lockers are also available for diners who purchase $2500 worth of wines for a year, and it comes with a personalised brass plate as well.
The interior of the restaurant is decadently cozy, with warm ambient lights and wood to recreate a classy rustic environment.
Further into the restaurant, guests are treated to a refreshing experience with sights from the open hot kitchen. Watch that steak sizzle, and marvel at the chefs deftly preparing your dishes as you wait in temptation.
Shall we begin?
Before dinner started proper, I had an order of Caramelised Orange Mai Tai ($18) cocktail prepared. Made with Myer’s dark rum, Bacardi, Orange Curacao, Pineapple juice and the best part, caramelised orange slices, this is one drink that is a simply “must-order” the next time I am back here.
It’s pretty impressive witnessing the mixologist torching the orange slices, slowly caramelizing each piece to perfection.
The end result? A stunning drink which has multiple layer of flavours. The first sip revealed the Barcardi tinged slightly with the fresh citrus from both the pineapple juice and orange. And as each sip goes further, the chilled coolness refreshes the palate, preparing it for the meal to come. Leaving the best to the last, the caramelized orange slices were part juicy, part slightly crisp with a scent that faintly reminded me of a freshly served creme brulee. Stunning, and I was well prepared for dinner.
Loaves of toasty warm Focaccia are served complementary with butter. Comfort food to begin with, filling the tummy. I thought the butter was unsalted upon the first taste, but the occasional bite here and there revealed a silent crunch, perhaps that of coarse sea salt sprinkled within.
The Jumbo Prawn Cocktail ($29-4 pieces) arrived leaving me expressing a “wow” that trailed the footsteps of the waiter. Huge prawns, each weighing 50-55grams each are served in a chilled bowl of homemade cocktail sauce done up with horseradish, sweet chilli and Worchester sauce. Slightly tangy, with the familiar flavours of ketchup livening up the flavours with umami, it was a delight slicing through the prawns and savouring it with the dip.
At a steakhouse dinner, I quite expected a tartare to appear. And for Wooloomooloo, one dish hot off the menu is the Tuna & Spanner Crab Tartare ($29). The 1st layer at the bottom is a mix of avocado and orange, followed by the sashimi grade yellowfin tuna and Australian spanner crab pieces, lastly ending with a topping of creme fraiche and salmon roe to bring out the salty burst from the sea.
Although a chilled starter, the dish exuded a tender heartiness that expressed crisp meatiness with lasting flavours of crab and the sparkle of spicy horseradish. Creamy avocado and orange ends each bite nicely with tender fattiness and the smother of citrus juices rolling off.
For those who just simply have to start off with that sheer sense of intense meaty flavours, the Spanish Ham Selection ($38) is the one to go for. The Jamon Iberico is served two styles, one being aged 20-24 months, the other 30-36 months. Thumbs up really goes to the latter portion as I really appreciated the depth of flavours that emerged as the piece of cured meat starts to break down slowly onto the tongue. The first taste reveals the sharp saltiness that cuts through the palate, and then the soft sweetness of the meat cascades out, only to once again be enhanced with another layer of saltiness and the occasional touch of fat melting by the side. The 20-24 months cut is really a much lighter variant with shallower notes, and perhaps by my taste, slightly sweeter and less savoury.
Another shot of the Ham selection. Stunning.
Sides were here! Almost like a gong signalling the main course to come.
The Creamy Corn ($12) leaves no surprises to what the dish is all about – creamy corn. The flavours of corn sweetness were pretty mild throughout, with emphasis leaning slightly towards the cream. Decent, but I didn’t really go wild for this.
The Sauteed Kipfler Potatoes ($14) were unique for its shape, as they really looked nice and elongated, almost like that of a Japanese sweet potato. Lightly spiced and fried, the potatoes were crisp and not exceedingly starchy.
The side of French Fries ($14) was simple from start to finish, and the dip of aioli was zesty and tangy. Could do with more olive oil though, to really bring out the flavour. But that’s just me.
I really enjoyed the sides of Grilled Asparagus ($16) as the light smoky flavours accompanying the stalks of crisp green were a wonderful complement to each other. Good to the bite, with a clear flavour that had notes of sweetness, it is good on its own. I thought the side of Hollandaise was interesting, but that was just about it, interesting.
Look at the steak sizzle in the broiler!
Quiet, skilled, and deftly laying out the mains for guests
First up, the 70-Day Grain Fed Australian Young Black Angus Tomahawk ($125). Made to serve for two, this portion of 1-1.3kg of meat with bone in comes nicely charred on the outside, with the aromatics of beef easily tempting the senses from afar.
A close up shot. Get hungry.
The rib steak, served medium rare was somewhat even in doneness throughout. Kudos really goes to the seared layer of skin that lends that charred smokiness to the robust meaty flavours. The occasional fat here and there, really lends that bit of sparkle to this gargantuan monster.
Four different sauces accompany every steak – Au Jus, Peppercorn, Red Wine Madeira, and Mushroom.
My personal favourite was the Peppercorn, as the flavours of intense pepper was pronounced and distinct as it accompanied the beef. It was a stunning moment as it brought back memories to when McDonalds used to serve McPepper as their restaurants, and it was one of my most favoured childhood moments (albeit explaining the size). While I won’t go so far to say the peppercorn sauce brought a tear to my eye (as the one at Wooloomooloo is still a smoother, milder version than the one emplaced in my memories), it is definitely a must have for me and an excellent accompaniment.
Out of the two meats I had for the night, I really thought the 150-Day Grain Fed USDA Prime Rib Eye, 12-ounce ($74) was the better choice, although better by a slight margin. Maybe I am a bit choosier as I really want the layer of fat to really stand out, and although the Tomahawk had quite a bit of the goodness in the portion I had, the ones from the rib eye was more even throughout.
This is perhaps best enjoyed natural, as the sprinkle of salt all over really meant a clear appreciation of the meat. Very tender, and also served medium rare, the first bite through expressed flavours of beef intensity with a play revolving between slight sweetness and savouriness, ending off with the tastiness from the fat.
After all that meat, it is now time for desserts. However, as much as I wished I had the many stomachs of a cow, I was glad that we also shared the servings to come. What better way to start off the end with a cozy Bread & Butter Pudding ($16). Streaked with layers of of caramel sauce, the pudding was hearty to go through. Slightly dense, and slightly cold, it was a somewhat strange complement to the ice cream at the top. I normally witness bread and butter puddings served warm and toasty, but maybe its just me and my portion. But then again, I still enjoyed it. Strange.
The Pavlova ($18) was the alternative that was colourful and too pleasant to the eye that you almost didn’t want to eat it. Served as a meringue piped with Chantilly cream, and topped with fresh fruits and a passionfruit coulis, this is one dessert that brings you to the extremes of sweet and sour (and really extremes) in one sitting. The tangy passionfruit coulis was a really nice touch as it really balances out the sweetness, plus giving off that crunch here and there. Though, the other good Pavlova I had was at Graze last year, and that one reminded me more of a honeycomb with clouds stuffed in it.
Sip tea to end the meal. A basic selection is available from Twinings, and Earl Grey it is for me.
Dinner at Wooloomooloo was very good from start to finish. The ambience proved cozy with the occasional bouts of intimate space while not entirely separating from the larger atmosphere of the restaurant, and the dishes were generally excellent (although my personal favourites will still go to the Spanish Ham and the USDA Prime Rib Eye). I would love to be back to try the rest of the menu as I hear that their Beef Wellington here is created slightly differently with a piece of foie gras, instead of the usual pate, layered within the pastry casing. And the best part? weekdays lunch has an executive 3 course set starting from $36-$42, placing it in the leagues of this October’s restaurant week to come. Tempted already?
Many thanks to Wooloomooloo for the invitation
2 Stamford Road, Level 3
Swissotel the Stamford
Reservations : 6338 0261
Website : www.wooloo-mooloo.com
Dinner 6.30pm – 11pm