The Place Located in the newest development in CBD, Wakanui Grill Dining Singapore at Marina One is one of the two flagship restaurants of the mixed development, located on the fourth floor of the West Tower. It sounds misleading but it is by no means a Japanese restaurant. In fact, Wakanui is a town located in the South Island of New Zealand and the contemporary meat restaurant serves New Zealand meats on its menu. The interior of the restaurant is modern, elegant, and offers nice natural lighting in the day where you also get a good view of the Marina One stunning architecture. The brand was in Singapore briefly previously under a different business model, but is now operating as the only overseas franchise of the Tokyo outpost, Wakanui Grill Dining Tokyo.
The Food While the grilled meats like beef and lamb take centrestage, the menu is well balanced by other dishes such as seafood options and salads, which also aims to showcase New Zealand produce such as Ora King salmon, New Zealand-sourced sashimi-quality fresh fish and green lip mussels. Without surprise, the wine list is predominantly New Zealand wine, or there are other options like the Wakanui Signature Cocktails.
From the dinner menu, we started with the Wakanui Spring Lamb Chop (S$8) where the lamb is first grilled over charcoal then over binchotan. It is lightly seasoned with salt and white pepper but the flavour is amazingly tender, rich yet without any hints of gaminess. I am not a lamb flavour but I really enjoyed this slab of lamb.
For something to start, the Kikorangi Blue Cheese Caesar (S$22) is essentially Romaine lettuce with jazz apple and blue cheese topped with walnuts and shaved parmesan. The blue cheese taste here is not at all pungent, which is a plus if you are usually adverse to it.
The Hot Smoked Salmon (S$24) is so delicious that I almost teared. The New Zealand Salmon here is marinated overnight with salt, sugar and event baileys, then subsequently smoked over cherry wood, after which it is baked in the oven. I like the aroma and flavour of the smokiness element on the salmon topped with diced tomatoes. The texture is perfect as well.
The Seasonal Hassun (S$32) is a Japanese inspired dish, also a traditional kaiseki starter. The combination changes periodically, on frame here is a trio of Lotus roots with Tempura batter with bonito flakes; Tofu and scallop blended together wrapped with winter melon; Unagi with daikon and beetroot purée topped with wasabi. The tofu flavour is very fresh, while its texture is silky, not withstanding that the Unagi itself is very delicious too.
On to the main highlights of the menu, we tried a mix of the grill meats like the 1 Kg of Ocean Beef, Bone-in Ribeye (S$199 for 1kg) , dry- aged for 21 days served with fresh banana shallots. The Ocean Beef is produced from the Angus breed, where the cattle are grass-fed for 18 months in located in the area of Wakanui, South Canterbury. If you are a Wagyu Beef lover, this is not the melt-in-the-mouth beef as the focus is on the flavour of the tender beef breed rather than flavours accentuated by rich marbling content. The beef here is only lightly seasoned with salt before being grilled, which some people may find too bland. The meat was moderately tender when I had it, and I do find the beef delicious on the whole.
There is also the Ocean Beef Ribeye (S$79 – 350 grams / S$109 – 500 grams), done the same seasoning technique as the Ocean Beef Bone-in Ribeye.
Alternatively, the Canterbury Grass-Fed Fillet (S$78 – 250 grams / S$138 – 500 grams) is recommended if you enjoy leanness of meat more than anything. The flavour is expectedly not as juicy and rich as the ribeye. I would call this the ideal and expensive post-gym protein.
Some sides to go along with the meats include the Sautéed Mushrooms (S$18) and Hand-cut potatoes wedges with Truffle Oil (S$15).
Beef aside, the Wakanui Spring Lamb (S$42 – Half Rack S$82 – Full Rack) is a New Zealand breed as well. The six months old lamb is aged for around four weeks, where the flavour of the lamb is believed to be the most optimal. The difference with the Wakanui Spring Lamb Chop in the starters is that the latter only has the sides of the lamb grilled whereas the inner portion of the spring lamb here is being grilled as well. I didn’t taste any gaminess in the starter, but there is a slight tinge of gaminess in this lamb rack, which is acceptable for me.
If you only have space for one dessert, the must try is the Hokey Pokey Ice Cream (S$14), made up of Wakanui house-made ice cream with caramel brittle. The house-made vanilla ice cream is amazing along with the caramel sauce.
Other dessert options include the Baked Rare Chocolate Cake (S$14), essentially Wakanui house-made chocolate cake served with house-made strawberry ice-cream; and the Pavlova (S$14) with chantilly cream, passion fruit sauce and mixed fruits.
If you are working in the CBD or the gorgeous Marine One office, there is a Fixe Prix 4 course lunch menu from S$49++, inclusive of coffee or tea at the end of the meal.
Rants Prices are on the high side even though the setting of the restaurant is pretty casual. If it is your first time to Marina One, the design of the building can be confusing though the obvious advice is to follow the signs to Wakanui and the lift lobby to “The Heart”.
Will I Return Again? Suffice to say, I have always been a big fan of Japanese Wagyu as I love intense marbling of beef and the fatty flavour which comes along. After trying the steaks from Wolfgang’s Steakhouse and Wakanui, I have a new found appreciation of meats which are well-balanced between marbling and leanness. The dishes at Wakanui are consistently good, though there is a high chance that it wouldn’t appeal to you if you are a staunch wagyu meat lover.
This was an invited tasting, though all opinions expressed are our own.
Taste bud: 4/5
Hole in the pocket: 4/5
Overall Experience: 4/5
Wakanui Grill Dining Singapore
5 Straits View #04-02
Marina One The Heart
Tel: +65 6384 2665
Monday to Friday: 11.30am to 3pm; 5.30pm to11pm
Saturday: 5.30pm to11pm
Closed on Sunday
Ranted by The Ranter