I had been meaning to come. After about… Let’s see now. 6 years? No, more. Trust me on this one. It’s the typical case of frequent pass-bys, a longing over-the-shoulder glance, before the trudging and shuffling of running shoes and legs. A blur of legs and beige. Every Sunday I run (well, to be fair it’s more of an extremely brisk walk) to the Botanical Gardens with my dad, and every time I pass by Cluny Court, I get a vague image of a quaint inside, the round golden domes of speckled sesame seed buns (yes, even though I thoroughly dislike top buns, they make very moreish mental imagery) dotting each table like parasites, juicy, fat meaty bellies, little sauce curds clinging to the sides and bottom of a thick-inch patty.
The waves of desire finally crashed upon the shores when Felix announced a similar longing. Of course! I said.
Of course. Relish.
The interior is so welcoming, with large windows all round to honour the strength of the day’s rays, rimmed with white wood, taking on the old colonial fashion of interior design. Slightly Scandinavian, I thought I heard him say.
The shine and glisten. I ordered the latter.
I actually really enjoyed this. Paired it with a 5-buck pale and fizzy Limonata, which was tart enough to cut through the rich sweetness of the hulk of meat.
If you are strange enough to enjoy the consumption of fat like me, and I mean gloopy, translucent bits of fat, you will adore this dish. I remember the virgin tug of my knife revealed a wobbly hunk of fat beneath a thick and sticky burgundy blanket. Nothing more. I was pretty sure more than 50% of the topping comprised fat and cartilage alone. The char siew itself is not exactly authentic char siew in the sense that the texture was handled differently than what you would get at your local hawker centre, but it worked nonetheless with the sweet coat of flavour. Admittedly, there was a point in time whereby the heavy richness was a little too much to bear, and the paltry side salad lacked enough acidity to accentuate the dangerous sweetness.
After a while, it became slightly one-dimensional, but bearable because the flavours were maintained at a near-explosive level. I also would have preferred a crusty, more hearty cut of bread, as the softness of the ‘homemade focaccia’ all too easily soaked up the gluey sauce, almost rapidly disintegrating into a moist, white mass of stodge. Not all too unpleasant, but a rustic flavour was needed; something more authentic and hardy rather than soft and white and weak. As I picked at his spicy, pickled onions, I also picked up the smoky smell of Worcestershire and the caramelised edges of fried egg. Untried, but I still considered it contact.
The best part?
The relishing of laughter, warmth and airy talk.
Rating: 4.4/ 5
Relish by Wild Rocket
501, Bukit Timah Road
#02-01, Cluny Court