Wild Honey: The intersectionality of Israeli food, conviviality, and politics meet at Mandarin Gallery Singapore

The skies start to turn a gloomy shade of grey, as rain threatens to pour—a welcome respite after a week of sticky and humid weather. I’m sitting opposite the kind embassy representative of Israel who, I observe, laughs nervously to herself every time I venture too close to geopolitical topics pertaining to Israel and its relationship with the world.

It bears mentioning that I’m here today at Wild Honey, at the invitation of the Embassy of Israel in Singapore, to sample the best of Israeli food and learn more about their valiant efforts at bridging differences through gastronomy.

Wild Honey Interior

Wild Honey makes for the perfect setting of this meeting—Guy Wachs co-founded this brunch empire and is a native Israeli who moved to Singapore with his wife in 2009. Thankfully, they survived the storm that is COVID-19 and has since reopened all three outfits at Scotts Square, South Beach, and here at Mandarin Gallery at the heart of Orchard Road.

This is, of course, not my first traipse to Wild Honey, although admittedly, my last visit was a long while back such that I’m taken by surprise at the ingenuity of the menu. It reads like a global listicle of places—Tunisian, English, Spanish, Boulevard St Michel, Delancey, Caribbean, I Love NY—and food synonymous with the locale.

Wild Honey Mandarin Gallery 2

It starts, tellingly and appropriately, with Tel Aviv (S$17++), a wrapped sandwich that comes in a pita bread with crispy falafel balls. Within, it sits on white tahini and amba, two flavour profiles—one nutty and savoury, the other sweet with a slight acidic refrain from mangoes—that goes beyond complementarity.

On its own, falafel is boring, plaid, a stickler for absolutely nothing. But with the tahini, amba, and seeds tabouleh salad, I simply cannot put this down.

Wild Honey Mandarin Gallery 4

Elsewhere, there’s a Musakhan (S$32++) which should rightfully arrest the attention of people on the table due to its rich, red hue that comes from marination of sumac’d onions and Saffron. Traditionally, this is a Palestinian Arab import and has often been referred to as the shining star of Palestinian cuisine. Introducing it today, amongst these other dishes from Israel, is a telling appreciation and acknowledgement of Palestinian hospitality.

The Musakhan commands this price premium due to its tedious preparation (by itself steeped in history) and ingredients. Suffice to say, this is one dish that will satisfy a very hungry person. A heapful of shredded chicken and steak is sweet and beautifully spiced. It sits on a bed of lafa flatbread, creamy hummus, tomato (which I reckon is made by confit), and chillies for that satisfying kick of heat.

Wild Honey Mandarin Gallery 3

Flinder’s Lane (S$28++) references that stretch of street in the central business district of Melbourne, Australia. The lane runs from Spring Street to Spencer Street and is best known for its collective of fine dining and boutique bars, contemporary art galleries, and local fashion labels.

At Wild Honey, it manifests as an inspired brunch staple of eggs benedict and choice elements of Israeli favourites which I love. There’s a Mallawach, a crispy and savoury filo base, that I cannot stop munching. It reminds me of a very well-made Roti Prata albeit more flaky and with a tinge more sweetness.

On top, are perfectly poached eggs (the kind that runs freely when cut), grilled asparagus, sliced avocado, incredibly sweet vine tomatoes, and feta—all the good things your body needs.

Wild Honey Mandarin Gallery 5

To end, a sizeable rectangle of Sababa Brownie (S$14++) that on first sight looks like a regular ol’ chunks of chocolate goodness, but upon bite, truly impresses with overflowing flavours of rich Valrhona chocolate and sugar in an impeccable play of balance.

Thrown into the mix are familiar Israel flavours of tahini (sesame seed paste) and halva (made by mixing tahini and sugar) easily identifiable by the white crumbs that litter the plate.

It also comes with a generous scoop of Ras el Hanout ice-cream, a heady aromatic blend of cream, sugar, and some of the best spices a restaurant can offer. It lends the ice cream a saltiness almost reminiscent of a sea-salt caramel, but with more complexity through the addition of spices not commonly found in dessert.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the plethora of food options Wild Honey offer in their extensive menu. But in as far as utilising gastronomy in understanding a little bit more about Israeli culture, Wild Honey ticks all the right boxes. In a world in danger of a growing divide of opinions, education such as this, is definitely something I can get behind.

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Expected Damage: S$25 – S$40 per person

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Our Rating: 4 / 5

Wild Honey at Mandarin Gallery

333A Orchard Road, Mandarin Gallery, #03-01, Singapore 238897

Our Rating 4/5

Wild Honey at Mandarin Gallery

333A Orchard Road, Mandarin Gallery, #03-01, Singapore 238897

Telephone: +65 6235 3900
Operating Hours: 9am - 9pm (Mon to Thu), 9am - 10pm (Fri), 8am - 10pm (Sat), 8am - 9pm (Sun)
Telephone: +65 6235 3900

Operating Hours: 9am - 9pm (Mon to Thu), 9am - 10pm (Fri), 8am - 10pm (Sat), 8am - 9pm (Sun)
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