The Place I went to Keong Saik Road recently to check out The Guild, a relatively sleek looking new restaurant and bar concept. My first impression is the gorgeous space, as I entered through the old shophouse door into the bar area where diners can have their pre-dinner drinks. The Guild is a collaboration between Chef Vincent “Vinny” Lauria and Young Master Brewery, Hong Kong’s highest rated and largest independent craft brewery. The circular bar at the centre is testament to the brand’s serious focus on drinks, particularly independent craft beers, cocktails and all-natural wines, just to name a few.
My eyes were then drawn to the Peranakan inspired tiles on the floor which is surprisingly a nice contrast to the predominantly brown furnishings for the interior.
The Food There is no particular cuisine to define the dishes at The Guild, which takes its inspirations from different places, though the restaurant strives to use locally sourced ingredients where possible. Take the freshly shucked Raw Oysters (S$6 / piece) for example, which I can’t believe comes from Singapore! The oysters are sourced from Singapore’s only oyster farm off Pulau Ubin, where its taste and freshness does not pale in comparison to other versions I have had.
Alternatively, try the Fried Oysters (S$7 / piece) filled with hollandaise sauce, chili, pickled shallots and coriander.
The other bites I had is the Salt and Vinegar Fries (S$8), an addictive snack to down with some freshly brewed beer. There is a wide range of beers to choose from, 19 craft beer taps to be exact, where I had the Another One 再來 (S$8-S$16) from Young Master Brewery. The taste of the beer I had is light and easy to drink if you want to start your night slow.
Other starters I had include the “Marrow” Bruschetta (S$22), which is a mix of frog hashima, oxtail marmalade, parsley & pickled onion, along with charred bread to spread on; and the Local Market Fish which changes periodically. I had the Pomfret (S$9), freshly sliced and soaked with smoked eel consommé.
For mains, I recommend the Grilled Sweet & Spicy Bacon (S$28), a sinful yet tender and fatty slab of meat house smoked with cucumber pickles and mint. The pork belly is cured for two weeks before being smoked with lychee for two days. The flavour does remind me of our local char siew, and the fatty version for sure.
The signature Mac ‘n’ Cheese (S$18) can’t go very wrong too, topped with scallion and a house-cured egg yolk. That said, the cheese flavour could be even more intense for me.
An interesting tribute to Singapore’s hawker dish Bak Chor Mee at The Guild is its BCM Tagliatelle “Bolo” (S$22), which is a striking resemblance to the hawker dish. The handmade pasta is served with pork ragu, liver and pickled shitake. It is even served with chilli!
For meats, go for the Butter Roasted Chicken (S$25), a generous portion for its price and good for sharing between two people. The roast chicken is relatively tender, though the flavour could be more buttery for me.
For desserts, do not leave without having the Buah Keluak Ice Cream (S$7), a locally inspired Peranakan flavour which I first had at Candlenut eons ago. This version is intense and the Buah Keluak taste hits the palate right at the onset yet it does not taste artificial.
Rants Always good to be adventurous, although not all ideas resonate well with us – the BCM did not hit the right notes for us, whereas we wouldn’t mind another scope of the Buah Keluak Ice cream.
Will I Return Again? The Guild offers something for everyone, craft beers, good food and a great environment. Be here with a bunch of close buddies, and be assured the restaurant will ensure a good night ahead.
Taste bud: 4/5
Hole in the pocket: 3.5/5
Overall Experience: 4/5
Wednesday to Sunday: 6pm to 12am
Ranted by The Ranter