Café Review: Wilder
Snugly fitted into an inconspicuous row of shop houses at the corner of Jalan Kledek, Wilder’s unassuming front gave us a tough time trying to differentiate it from its neighbors. Squinting and spotting the tiny logo printed on their glass window was the only way we could tell that we had found it.Drawing inspiration from its name, Wilder houses a multitude of dried flowers and wooden furniture, subtly adding an air of rustic romance and natural beauty – a welcome juxtaposition from non-partisan raw concrete walls and minimalism. We couldn’t help but snap a quick picture of the quaint, industrial-chic set-up.
Wilder’s owner and chef, Azurah Khalid, 31, presents an innovative twist on classic western brunch options by successfully incorporating a local flair. Its original blend of local and western cuisine “explores new flavours” and “introduces new tastes”, especially to Muslims, adding another smashing option to the ever-growing list of Halal cafes.
A former member of Singapore’s women’s national rugby team, the health-conscious chef offers greener options too. “We grow our own vegetables in a plot near my place. We are working towards using more of our own organic vegetables.”
After being teased with the tempting descriptions, imagine our dismay when we realised that brunch is not offered on weekdays. To add to our frustration, a few of the mains and all the salads were also unavailable.
At first glance, one would probably mistake their signature Salted Egg Taters ($11) for a plate of cheese fries: it is covered in pale yellow crumbs akin to Parmesan, but is really a savoury salted egg batter.
The odd mix of Asian and Western ingredients went surprisingly well together and was unlike anything we’ve ever tasted. The salted egg batter, Parmesan and a sweet ‘secret’ ingredient helps offset the spiciness of the chilli padi (although it definitely still packs a punch). We’ll skip on the cheese because it masks the salted egg and we certainly won’t be reaching for the ketchup either.
We relished every bite (all 4 of them!) of Wilder’s Beef Burger, served with a side of homemade taters ($14). Homemade buns sandwich a layer of melted cheese, turkey ham, arugula [salad rocket], a juicy beef patty and generously topped with a raspberry cream sauce. The sweetness and tanginess from the unusual sauce complements the saltiness of the cheese and bacon, and the crunchy arugula adds an interesting texture to the mix.
Hearty and satisfying, this burger is worth every calorie. We weren’t so crazy about the mediocre baked taters that came with it though.
If you’re feeling especially daring, go for the Special, which is whatever Azurah is in the mood of conjuring up that day. Think of ordering this main like playing a slot machine – only, there’s no way you could lose!
“It brings an element of fun into ordering food,” Azurah explains.
Their Virgin Lime Mojito ($6.90) is made with ginger ale, lime juice, sugar syrup and mint leaves. Minty fresh and icy cold, this refreshing beverage is a perfect respite from Singapore’s humid weather.
With its picturesque decor and friendly prices (which compensates for the small portions), Wilder is a café that is worth visiting. However, we still found the portions a little too small, even for small eaters like ourselves.
But hey, if anything, it’s serving size could help you save some room for more café-hopping in the area.
Average price: $14 – $16
Are you a café-hopper? Tell us what you thought of Wilder, or which café we should review next!
Address: 749 North Bridge Road S198717
Telephone: (+65) 66351136
12:30pm – 10:00pm (Tues – Sat)
01:20pm – 09:00pm (Sun)
Photos courtesy of Bryan Chua