Mister Wu at Pickering Street pays homage to Wu Jue Nong, the modern scholar and researcher who arguably established China as the birthplace of tea, and rescued various teas from destruction during the Cultural Revolution. The founders of Mister Wu hope to re-introduce Chinese tea to the modern Singaporean in an accessible way.
As I step in, I am immediately welcomed by soft and warm lighting, and a playlist that is specially curated and regularly updated for the restaurant. There is a neutral scent in the air, which makes sense because it allows me to smell the nuance of the fine teas.
In case the setting doesn’t get you into the mood, their signature Chinese tea cocktails ($18) should. The Spring Cherry Blossom (十里桃花) has a sweet bouquet and a light flavour, while the White Jade Monkey King (齐天大圣) is a winner with White Jade Monkey Tea, Monkey Shoulder Whisky and Sour Plum Shots.
For appetisers, don’t miss their succulent Fried Ping Pong Wantons ($8). These tasty morsels are filled with chicken, pork, mushrooms and finely blended water chestnuts, and don’t feel oily. Mr Su’s Braised Pork ($8) has melt-in-your-mouth fat, though the meat feels just a tad too firm. The Pi Dan Doufu ($8) yields no surprise, being exactly how you might expect century egg and beancurd to taste.
Dinner begins when the Mouth Watering Abalone and Kampong Chicken Hotpot ($38) arrives. The gravy is a less spicy version of kungpao and excites the whole tongue. The kampong chicken is lean, though you should eat it quick before it gets too firm. On the other hand, the fresh abalone stays succulent throughout the meal. Halfway through, we add broth to the gravy and Japanese Wagyu Shabu Slice ($18, lovely marbling that melts in your mouth), Jumbo Scallop ($16, so fresh and sweet, I’m ordering two portions next time), and Vegetable & Mushroom Platter ($10). Excellent value!
The Chilled Truffle Caviar Oyster La Mian ($23) is so light and refreshing that it complements the hotpot very well. All the ingredients (truffle oil, plump oysters, caviar, sakura shrimp) work surprisingly well together, none of them overpowering the others.
On the other hand, the Hibiki Whisky Seafood Soup La Mian ($28) demands your attention. The soup on its own is “Power!” and rivals the broths of some of my favourite ramen joints. The Hibiki lifts the flavours higher and provides a heady aroma. The noodles retain their bite even after steeping for a while. That said, you really need to love seafood with this dish, because there is a lot of it, and can be overwhelming.
True to their mission, Mister Wu has tea-infused ice-creams that come with alcoholic versions. All flavours are crowd pleasers; I particularly enjoy the slightly burnt taste of the Brown Butter Oolong. The Canton Black Lychee Tea ice-cream and Glenfiddich whisky pairing seals the deal for me.
What I would like to see more of are the stories and narratives that come behind the different dishes and teas. This way, even as we enjoy the food, we can also contemplate the history and heritage of the tea and its culture, and acknowledge the research that went into the menu.
3 Pickering Street, Nankin St, 01-44/45, Singapore 048660
tel: +65 6781 3833
11.30am-2.30pm, 6pm-10pm, closed Sun
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Shwu Peng used to be able to eat for three but we know that age catches up on everyone, she is now only able to eat for two. She also does not have the habit of sharing food unless it is necessary.
True to the name of this website, Ken Jin is closely associated with rubbish, organising litter-picking activities that culminate in a makan session (because #Singaporean). That, and he once tried marinating salmon in blueberry juice and orange juice. He survived.