BIG has done it again - I think they single-handedly keep foodies occupied covering the numerous places they have opened up over the past few months! Wendy and I are hardly the fastest in the food scene, but we finally got the chance to give S.Wine in Publika a try during a long-awaited meet-up with Elaine and Rondy! It was a double date that had been in the pipeline for months. =D
If the interior looks familiar, that's because the inside looks a lot like other BIG outlets like Plan B, Ben's, and Ben's General Food Store. S.Wine is tucked right inside the Ben's Independent Grocer in Publika, at the non-halal section. Don't mistake it for the Ben's General Food Store round the corner, which is what our friends did. =D
Obviously with a name like S.Wine, pork is the main priority! We adore some of the decor here, like this row of pigs. If being the black sheep of the family is too normal, how about being the black pig? =D
Warm buns are served as appetizers, but my peeve was that there was only one pack of butter to two buns, instead of a bun to each as what we usually get. Felt like an odd thing to scrimp on.
Ordering took awhile, because S.Wine has a large melting pot of cuisines its porky menu, from Chinese to Mexican influences to local fare, but unfortunately a lot of the items weren't available, "because it was Monday", which was what our waiter offered us as explanation.
In the end, we all agreed to share our orders, that way we get to sample more! Starting with this Warm Pork Confit, Watermelon & Pork Salad (RM 19.90), it comprises of crispy pork belly confit with chunky pieces of watermelon, asian greens and big juicy lychees, tossed in lychee dressing and topped off with peanuts.
This was recommended to us by the waiter, who said it's a big favourite with the customers. Frankly, we found this a bit strange for our liking. The watermelon and lychees are meant to bring sweetness to this salad to balance the slight pungent bitterness of the greens and salty flavour of the tasty pork confit. But for me there wasn't enough watermelon to form a good balance, so all we each got was a whole lot of bitter greens. I guess to each, his own.
The menu at S.Wine is actually quite short; don't come expecting to be spoilt for choice! In the pasta section, we went for this Spicy Bacon & Mushrooms (RM 23.90), consisting of spaghetti with chorizo, button mushrooms, pancetta chunks, and arugula olio style with chilli flakes to finish it off.
This was perhaps one of the best dishes of the night, although still far from the standards we had come to expect. They were extremely generous with the mushrooms but the bacon was too fatty for our liking, and the liberal use of olive oil didn't help matters either. For once I actually enjoyed the mushrooms the most in the pasta, which just goes to show how unimpressive the bacon was.
We also had the Sloppy Piggy Burger with Mexicana Pulled Pork (RM 23.90), which our waiter insisted was man's favourite burger, one that the guys usually went for. This was made up of a pork patty with mexicana pulled pork on top, all in a brioche burger bun with crinkle-cut fries and coleslaw on the side.
The patty was acceptable, a good bite of minced pork, which went well with the sweetish brioche bun, but there wasn't much flavour to the pulled pork. Not the worse pork burger we've ever tried, but S.Wine's got serious competition for pork burgers out there, we'd say.
The fourth and final thing we tried at S.Wine was the Hainanese Pork Chop (RM 23.90); pork chop in a pool of traditional tomato sauce, with peas, carrots and corn. If this looks like what you get at your local coffee shop that does western food, then you're right. Of course since the price is higher, the pieces of pork are much bigger and meatier. But really overall, though well marinated, there wasn't much to truly make this a distinguished piece of Hainanese excellence.
So after all that eager anticipation of BIG's latest pork-filled offering, we felt a bit let-down by what we had that night. An important point to note is the menu actually isn't that extensive, and that about one quarter of the menu is only available from about 10am to 6pm.
If you're coming for dinner and want to try some of the interesting breakfast items like french toast with peanut butter and bacon, be prepared for disappointment! Also it will help to come with a stomach well prepared for a meal of pork, because there are precious few non-pork items on the menu. But overall, the only direction we can see S.Wine going is up like every other BIG outlet the BIG Group has opened, so if you want to get in on the latest pork place before everyone else, don't wait any longer!
S.Wine @ Ben's Independent Grocer | SiteUG-1A, Level UG,
Publika, No. 1,
Jalan Dutamas 1, Solaris Dutamas
Kuala LumpurTel: +6 03 6209 1700
Fax: +6 03 6209 1701
Opening Hours: Daily, 9am-10pm