Located at the west tower of Marina One, Wakanui Grill Dining Singapore promises a dining experience unlike any other, straight from in the heart of a metropolitan building just a stone’s throw away from Marina Bay MRT station.
Upon exiting the lift at level 4, I couldn’t miss Wakanui’s chic glass exterior that was surrounded by lush greenery and grey pillars, some of which fanned out into awnings on a rainy day; an ingenious idea by world-renowned architect, Christoph Ingenhoven, for Marina One’s building design.
Originally started by ANZCO foods in 2011, Wakanui first opened its doors in Tokyo, and has since expanded its franchise, with Singapore being its first and only venture thus far.
The restaurant’s interior features Japanese elements, such as the low dining ceiling, wooden panelling, bamboo-shaped lighting fixtures, as well as a brick wall that frames the window of their open kitchen.
Aside from the restaurant’s Japanese influences, Wakanui prides itself in bringing out the best of Kiwi cuisine, with its Maori namesake; ‘waka’ meaning ‘canoe’ and ‘nui’ meaning ‘land of plenty’.
We started off the evening with two of their signature cocktails: The Kiwi Sparkling ($22) and the Wakanui Power ($22).
I’m not a huge fan of gin, but the latter impressed with its strong citrus flavour that melded well with the smooth gin taste. For those who love something a little more fruity, you’ll find that the Kiwi Sparkling will whet your appetite for the meal ahead.
We tucked into the Kikorangi Blue Cheese Caesar Salad ($14 for lunch, $22 for dinner), featuring local Romaine lettuce, New Zealand jazz apple, topped with walnuts and parmesan shavings and tossed in a blue cheese dressing.
This was a refreshing start to our meal, with the apples and walnuts giving the salad great texture. The blue cheese wasn’t too overpowering and the cheesy funkiness balanced out with the sweetness of the lettuce.
One of Wakanui’s signature starters is the Wakanui Spring Lamb($8), that has been seasoned lightly with Christmas Island salt and pepper, seared over high heat, and finished off over Japanese binchotan to seal in the juices and the smoky flavours into the meat. And, served with a fresh sprig of watercress.
Our host recommended us to forgo the utensils and to chow down this piece of meat by simply using our hands, ensuring that we would get to every part of the succulent meat. Being a fan of lamb, the grilled meat was extremely tender and flavourful, with practically no ovine taste.
I would highly recommend this as an excellent benchmark for those who are looking to try lamb for the first time.
If you love both the smokiness of cured salmon, as well as the charred goodness of grilled salmon, you’ll get that with the Hot Smoked Salmon ($39 for lunch, $24 for dinner).
The fresh New Zealand salmon is smoked a la minute, and is marinated with salt, sugar, juniper berries and bay leaves. The fish is richly flavoured and carried a red hue, similar to that of smoked salmon, topped with a sauce of tomatoes, shallots, olive oil, green chillies. Definitely one of my favourites of that evening.
We were next presented with a plethora of meats from off the grill– featuring the Wakanui Spring Lamb ($42 – Half Rack, $82 – Full Rack) from our starter course, Canterbury Grass-Fed Fillet ($78 – 250 grams, $138 – 500 grams), and two selections of Ocean Beef; Ribeye ($79 – 350 grams $109 – 500 grams) and Bone-In Ribeye ($199 – 1 kg).
For those wondering what ‘Ocean Beef’ is, it’s produced from Angus-breed cows raised in a stress-free pastoral environment along the coastal area of Wakanui, South Canterbury, henceforth the moniker ‘Ocean Beef’.
All the cuts were grilled to a blushing medium rare and finished over the binchotan and served with deliciously sweet roasted banana shallots. Each of the cuts had their own individual flavour profiles that would satisfy even the pickiest of meat lovers.
We loved pairing the meat with various condiments that came alongside the dish, such as wasabi, wakanui sauce and Christmas Island salt. I preferred the tender melt-in-your-mouth boneless ribeye, while my dining partner liked the slightly gamier-tasting Canterbury fillet.
Our protein-rich dinner wouldn’t be complete without something sweet to round things up. The WAKANUI house-made ice cream with caramel brittle ($14), also known as ‘hokey pokey’ ice cream was the favourite between the both of us.
The homemade honeycomb candy crumbled into vanilla ice cream, which resulted in lots of caramelly goodness and a very satisfied extra dessert stomach.
Good things come in pairs, and this Pavlova ($14) served as the ‘yin’ to our caramel ice cream ‘yang’. Served with chantilly cream, passion fruit sauce and mixed fruits, this fluffy meringue had a great amount of tartness to balance off the sweetness of the first.
I would definitely recommend for anyone dining at Wakanui to finish off your meal with this delightful pair of desserts.
My dining experience at Wakanui exceeded all expectations, in terms of the stellar quality of the ingredients and service. It was my first time trying aged beef and I’m glad to say, it has set the bar high for future steak experiences to come.
I was really impressed by their desserts as well, and would recommend Wakanui for special occasions such as birthday celebrations and anniversaries. That being said, do check out their reasonably priced set lunch menus if you’re looking for a place to celebrate office farewells and milestones.
Expected Damage: $35 – $45 per pax