Eagle Street Pier has long been home to a lineage of high-rated restaurants, from swank stalwarts to fuss-free franchise staples. And now, among the riverside's good, great and decent, stands a chopstick-wielding Madame Wu, proving her pier-worthiness, one dumpling at a time.
If you know your way around Eagle Street Pier, this Asian restaurant should take little hunting to find. It sits high and open, facing the river, in between Fridays, Riverbar and Kingsleys, but by no means crowded by these eating spots. The outdoor space sits facing the Story Bridge, with the inside resembling a high end cocktail bar, architecturally prim enough to be comfortable but showy enough to partially permit the prices.
The aromas of Madame Wu could sell this spot alone. Sure, come here for cocktails — we recommend the Koh Samui Colada for sweet teeth, and the Sleeping Dragon if you're a bit more game — but the food is what you want. While it doesn't come out too quickly, it sure disappears in a flash.
The Wagyu dumplings are a safe entree choice, hearty in texture and colour. The chicken ribs (who knew they were for eating?) are crumbed and deep-fried in a perfect layer of crunch, with tang sui dressing adding a strangely sweet bite. For lighter options, the smoked ocean trout salad and raw yellow fin with kim chi and crispy lotus let the fantastic flavours of the fish swim delicately in dressings of perfect balance.
Some dishes, like the pork hock and butternut pumpkin, are overwhelming, each base over-swept with sweet and somewhat stark braises. The menu, however, is endless, with two banquets on offer, and dishes to suit every bud and his tongue. Take a risk and try something strange, like snapper poached in beer, and you might walk away feeling a little more worldly and a lot less hungry.
If you come here, and feel outraged by the three-digit bill that is sure to succeed your evening, you should know better — this is the Eagle Street Pier of course. But the food on show here is presented in a modern way, with service that is politely personal, and sophisticated. Let Madame Wu give you a real taste of Asian dining, with the occasional gastronomic thrill and a view to match.