CLOSED: The Wagon, Tras Street: Fune Small Plates, French-Japanese Cuisine Focusing on Hokkaido Beef

the-wagon-singapore-reviewFine food and fun food may appear to be opposites—foie gras is fine, not fun; croquette is fun, not fine—but somehow The Wagon at Tras Street has managed to marry the two. I shall call it “fune food.”

the-wagon-restaurant-singaporeCarrot mousse with tsubugai (whelk, $8); capsicum mousse with prawn consomme jelly ($8); foie gras creme brulee ($12)

The Wagon is the brainchild of Tsukada Nojo 美人锅 and helmed by Chef Makoto Deguchi, former sous chef of Sola with 1 Michelin star in Paris. Leo Chue, alumni from 28 Hong Kong Street, takes charge of the bar.

the-wagon-tras-street-menuAll food is made in-house from scratch. The food comes as small plates or mains. Small plates changes regularly and are served on a trolley (or a wagon) and you can choose, like how old-school dim sum operates.

the-wagon-singapore-reviewLettuce with minced meat ($12)

Most of the small plates are familiar and have clean flavors. The crispy breaded crust of the blue cheese croquette bursts in the mouth, spurting molten cheese. Wasn’t the first time I ate foie gras creme brulee ($12), but this one combines the sweet and savory excellently, and acts as a delicious spread on crispy bread. The bone marrow, our favorite among the small plates, tastes like smoky Fats Light—marrow has zero calories, right?—and we all know fats give flavor to food.

the-wagon-singapore-menuBone marrow with beans

Perhaps because we have a heavier palate, we thought some of the other small plates we tried, such as the lettuce with minced beef ($12), capsicum mousse ($8), and carrot mousse with whelk ($8), were bland. That said, it is nice to provide a range of food, from light-tasting ones to heavier dishes we prefer.

the-wagon-tanjong-pagarDeep-fried shirako, blue cheese croquette, endives in cream

Another light dish, purportedly to be the star of The Wagon, consomme with homemade ravioli ($18, below) is too light for me, although it took up to 3 days to cook. The beef shreds within the raviolis are long and stringy and may come across chewy.

the-wagon-restaurant-singapore-priceThe mains consist entirely of Hokkaido beef, aged 3-9 weeks. I never order hamburg steak at restaurants because I don’t order things I can easily cook at home; it’s just a waste of money. But this hamburg steak ($35, below), which sits on caramelized onions and mashed, is my favorite item here. The aged patty is intense! and although the demi-glaze, which takes 10 days to cook, is wonderfully and richly sweet, the beef doesn’t drown in it. A forkful of all ingredients in a mouthful gives umami bliss!

the-wagon-singaporeThe grilled platter (180g, $65, below) consists of steaks aged at different weeks because of their different cuts. Meat-to-fat proportion is balanced, giving succulent, juicy flavors, ensuring there is still a nice bite.

the-wagon-tras-street-menuAlthough the creative cocktails are divided into aperitifs and digestifs, they are good throughout the meal. Leo Chue likes to titillate three senses at once: sight, taste, and smell.  Houji Your Truffle ($20, below) is made from houji tea vodka, egg white, and an aromatic whiff of truffle honey syrup; creamy and bittersweet. The chocolate cocktail smells of smoke and drinks like chocolate milk. Passionfruit cocktail is my favorite, creamy and balanced between sweet and sour, a suitable end to a meal. Pandan pumpkin cup ($18) is an imaginative sorbet with pandan vodka, pistachio syrup, pumpkin puree, dehydrated coconut flakes, and tonka bean dark rum. All the cocktails are fantastic.

the-wagon-singaporeChue’s excellent cocktails and Makoto’s delicious food have one thing in common: they both insist on doing everything from scratch, like carving ice for cocktails, and baking complimentary bread. But I wonder if their two styles can be more congruous. Chue’s seems to be more brash and American, while Makoto has a delicate touch found in Japanese and French cuisines.

The concept of The Wagon is well thought out. If you want to have afterwork drinks and nibble, or a proper meal; if you want to hang out and relax after-work, or have a nice date, The Wagon provides a cozy space, serving superb food and drinks.

The Wagon Restaurant Singapore
57 Tras Street #01-01 Singapore 078996
12pm-2.30pm,  5pm-10pm, Closed Sun
T: +65 6221 6369

Food: 7.25/10
Service: NA (tasting)
Decor/Ambience: 7/10
Value: 6/10
Overall rating: 3.375/5

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This is a hosted tasting.

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