More than just a convivial restaurant-bar, The Guild at Keong Saik Road takes the spirit of craftmanship and camaraderie in its name to heart.
Started by Hong Kong’s Young Master Brewery and Italian-American chef Vinny Lauria, The Guild commits itself to sourcing its drinks and produce from independent, small-batch producers. It takes one to know one, after all.
Young Master Brewery started as founder Rohit Dugar’s home brewing experiment before it became a full-fledged craft brewery in 2013. Soon after its debut, it was credited with pioneering the craft beer movement in Hong Kong. Five years on, it has two brewing facilities in Hong Kong making their signature range—the cha chaan teng gose, classic pale ale and 1842 Island Imperial—seasonal brews and limited releases. Popups and a stint at Ann Siang Hill later, enter The Guild, occupying the former premises of The Library bar and The Study bistro.
Chef Vinny, an early admirer of Young Master beers, has helmed restaurants in Hong Kong under Homegrown Foods such as Linguini Fini and Stone Nullah Tavern for the past seven years. He shares that his immigrant background, growing up in New Hampshire but with strong Sicilian roots, makes it second nature for him to use whatever ingredients he finds in situ.
Even now at The Guild, he continues to be quite the locavore, rostering an army of local farmer supplier such as Jurong Frog Farm, Sea Farmers@Ubin and Kin Yan Agrotech. He uses Jurong Frog Farm’s frog legs for example, in his dish of General Tso’s frog legs ($14) and serves up fresh or fried oysters (from $6) using homegrown oysters from Sea Farmers@Ubin.
Some of the highlights in his comfort food-focused menu include the addictive salt and vinegar fries ($8) and the brawn terrine ($12), a pig’s head terrine with spicy pickled vegetables which goes amazingly well with the charred bread from their neighbour, Burnt Ends. Other ones to try are grilled sweet and spicy bacon ($28), house-smoked and served with pickled cucumber, for its savoury, smoky flavour; and Momma Alton’s chicken noodle broth ($20), just for its rich, nourishing broth.
Apart from the food, the beers are, of course, the stars of the show. Nineteen craft beers are available on tap. Most are Young Master beers shipped fully cold chained to Singapore from Hong Kong, such as the easy-drinking Another One (from $8) or the limited edition Days Of Being Wild (from $12), brewed with dried cherries. But you can also find other craft breweries featured here, such as Stone Brewing in the US and 8 Wired Brewing in New Zealand.
The stellar list goes on for drinks apart from beer. Think highballs such as Nick Tarantino ($15), a herbaceous blend of Americano Rosa, J.Gasco skinny tonic, celery shrub bitters; Ham Sup Highball ($15), made up the mezcal Machetazo Salmiana, Young Master Brewery’s Cha Chaan Teng Gose, fresh lime and a chili rim; or storied cocktails such The Great Bambino ($22), made with Bulleit Rye, Cocchi de Torino, Bruto Americano, Boston bittah’s. This particular concoction speaks to chef Vinny’s Boston background and love for baseball hero Babe Ruth. Also expect a selection of boilermakers (serving trays for these are produced by local artisan 25˚ Woodworks by the way) as well as a wide range of natural wines from winemakers such as Edmunds St. John and Damien Laureau.
At The Guild, the only criteria for entry is an appreciation of craft. But of course, it’s much easier to be part of the club if you’re not a teetotaller.
#01-01, 55 Keong Saik Road. Tel: 6224 1262. (Open only from Wednesdays to Sundays)