Quite aptly named for a restaurant serving South East Asian cuisine situated along The Pier’s Riverwalk, Riverwok’s open concept and decor is charmingly inspired by Indonesian ‘warungs’, yet it comes with all the trappings of modern comfort. As with most restaurants in Robertson Quay, the option of dining al fresco is available, and in Riverwok’s case, made all the more appealing with pretty lights and a view of the riverfront. After all, rivers plays a central role in Southeast Asia, so having one as the backdrop while you indulge in the flavours of the region is perfect.
Executive Chef Kantha Chookiat has a good 30 years of culinary experience, particularly in Indo-Chinese cuisine. Hailing from Chiang Mai, Thailand, he is well acquainted with the wide array of herbs and spices that the region offers, and his dishes reflect this. The Yam Tuapoo Goong Sod ($16) is a traditional Thai salad with wing beans, tiger prawns and shredded chicken tossed in a deliciously creamy dressing that enhances rather than overwhelms the salad. A Vietnamese hand-rolled rice paper with lemon-marinated minced chicken, the best part of the Nam Khao Hor ($14) is the inclusion of roasted rice crumble, which gives it more bite and a lovely crunch. Vegetarians can get in on the action with a vegetable version ($10).
The Indonesian Sop Ikan Batam ($12) is the quintessential comfort food option. This soup whets the appetite and is perfectly balanced with the tangy pickled mustard, lemon, fresh basil and sweet tomatoes. An interesting dish on the menu is the Laotian delicacy Koi Pa Salmon ($18). While it is traditionally prepared with smaller fish, Chef Kantha switches it up by using raw salmon instead. It is marinated in Asian herbs, chilli and lemon juice and served at room temperature closely resembling an Asian salmon tartare.
The decadent Gaeng Phed Ped Yang ($22), a roasted duck in rich Thai red curry has all the familiar flavours of Thailand packed into one dish. Chef Chooklat takes creative license and adds grapes and pineapple to this dish providing it with bursts of sweet flavour. The curry is on the sweet side with only a hint of spice coming through so when ordering this dish again, I intend to take the spice up a notch (yes, it’s possible to customise the level of spice to your personal preference!).
For dessert, the savoury Vietnamese dessert, Banh Chuoi ($12), consisting of banana fritters and interestingly black sesame ice cream was not impressive. The batter was a touch too thick and the black sesame ice cream didn’t pair well with the fritters. Go for the traditional mango sticky rice, otherwise known as Khao Neow Ma Muang ($10) instead.
On the whole, Riverwok successfully captures the wonderfully diverse flavours of Southeast Asian cuisine. The warm and relaxed ambience coupled with the picturesque riverfront is ideal for an evening out with close friends or family.
Riverwok is located at 80 Mohamed Sultan Road, The Pier #01-12, Singapore 239013, p.+65 6732 1126. Open daily from 12pm-11pm.