Being able to see opportunity in challenges and having the mettle to make the right choices are key to thriving in this restaurant industry, something chef-restaurateur Willin Low knows all too well. On October 31, the mod-Sin pioneer—and last year’s T.Dining Local Champion award recipient—will be closing the restaurant that has epitomised his creative yet unaffected approach to modern gastronomy for 13 years.
Several factors, from lease of the car park space next to Wild Rocket to the impending extensive renovation of Hangout Hotel, shares Low, have led him to the decision to shutter and not relocate. “It will take time to find the perfect location and I didn’t want to rush,” he tells T.Dining. “Besides I would be busy with two overseas projects, so I won’t be able to give my full attention to Wild Rocket, my first born.”
These two overseas openings, slated to welcome guests by year-end, are casual concepts that share the same aim, which is to bring his pioneering brand of mod-Sin cuisine to a global audience.
The first, Roketto, is located in Niseko, Japan, and it will serve noodle and rice bowls designed around an amalgamation of Southeast Asian flavours and Japanese ingredients. Examples include the laksa somen with seasonal seafood and a bak kut teh ramen.
In the evenings, the restaurant transforms into a bar that serves classic and modern cocktails designed by three of Asia’s best bartenders, the same ones behind Bar High Five in Tokyo, Bar Mood in Taipei and Nutmeg & Clove in Singapore; the three also co-own #FindTheLockerRoom in Bangkok, Thailand.
Low's other overseas venture is a Southeast Asian noodle concept that serves mod-Sin versions of laksa and bak chor mee, located in Hualien City on the east coast of Taiwan.
Back home, he is working on opening another Relish outlet, this time at Telok Ayer, which will likely feature a touch of Wild Rocket, “though we haven’t decided what or how yet”, he shares. He did, however, add that opening another fine dining restaurant is not off the cards.
“Never say never,” he teased. “If the right location and circumstances turn up, we might reopen Wild Rocket—or something else—and it can be in Singapore or anywhere in the world”.
It is confirmed that he will be spending the next three months in Singapore with Wild Rocket and working on the new Relish, after which he will be flying between Japan, Taiwan and Singapore.
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