Review: The food at Fi Woodfire Thai tantalises, while its cocktails need more work

By Zawani Abdul Ghani April 12, 2024
Review: The food at Fi Woodfire Thai tantalises, while its cocktails need more work
Photo: Zawani Abdul Ghani/HungryGoWhere
  • Fi Woodfire Thai is a new Thai restaurant that uses binchotan coal over lychee wood to give its dishes its distinct smoky aroma and taste.
  • Its “moo ping” smoked pork ribs is a hit on social media, but its other dishes are equally worth ordering.
  • Happy Hour is from 5pm to 5.55pm — you can enjoy selected beers and bar snacks for just S$5.

Thai eateries in Singapore are aplenty, but that certainly doesn’t deter new entrants to the industry — there is still a consistent stream of new Thai places in Singapore, offering anything from fancy fusion takes to novel food prep methods. 

One such example is Fi Woodfire Thai, a new Thai restaurant that arrived on the scene barely three months ago. You can expect to find charcoal-grilled Thai classics here, as well as dishes made using its wood-fired oven. 

Located centrally at Robertson Walk, Fi Woodfire Thai’s neighbouring establishments include popular cocktail bar Ziggy’s and Japanese wagyu hamburg steak specialist Masa Steak & Hamburg.

Fi Woodfire Thai Robertson Walk
Photo: Zawani Abdul Ghani/HungryGoWhere

The backstory

Fi Woodfire Thai might seem like a new brand, but it’s run by The Hey Co

In case that doesn’t ring a bell, The Hey Co is also behind brands such as 8 Korean BBQ at Shaw Centre, and South Side Keppel. 

The owners, Shaun Leong and Joanne Toh, also owned two Wildfire burger restaurants previously — the ones at Nafa and Keppel.

Coincidentally, Fi Woodfire Thai has since replaced Wildfire Burger’s maiden spot at Robertson Quay. (The famed burger joint has since shifted to another unit in the same compound, and operates out of one flagship outlet now.)

Fi (pronounced as “fai”) means fire in Thai and the running theme here is the use of binchotan charcoal over lychee wood. This gives its mains and some elements in other dishes a distinct smoky aroma and taste.

Additionally, the kitchen has a double-insulated wood-fired oven that can reach up to 450°C.

Our verdict

When we entered the dining space, its odd L-shaped layout was the first thing that stuck out to us. 

Fi Woodfire Thai Robertson Quay
Photo: Zawani Abdul Ghani/HungryGoWhere

We weren’t dazzled by how dim the space was, either. It was about 1pm on a Sunday, but if you didn’t look out the glass doors, you wouldn’t be able to tell the time of day.

In fact, we were caught off-guard when it started to rain as we were leaving — the dimness of the interior meant we couldn’t quite see the gathering clouds outside.

Aside from our initial reservations on the space, we found that the high-table sofa made for comfortable seating. 

The prices for the food are quite reasonable, ranging from S$8 for a starter, to S$42 for its signature smoked pork ribs (granted, they’re 500g, bone-in). 

Come for the impeccably prepared food and opt for family-style dining so you can taste a little of everything — but don’t hold high hopes for the cocktails.

What it’s good for

Fi Woodfire Thai Robertson Walk
Photo: Zawani Abdul Ghani/HungryGoWhere

Choosing the tofu pomelo som tum (S$18) as an appetiser was easy — the weather was unbearably warm and tofu is our favourite protein alternative.

The sweetness of pineapple jus-infused pomelo and the refreshing tanginess of lime juice instantly hit our palate. Every bite was a delight, as the bouncy tofu cubes delivered a healthy dose of crunchy peanuts and shredded toasted coconut for a gratifying, savoury slant.

Fi Woodfire Thai also serves other som tum variations on its menu — including one with grilled prawns — and we reckon we’ll return for those.

Fi Woodfire Thai Robertson Walk
Photo: Zawani Abdul Ghani/HungryGoWhere

Vegetables cooked in butter? Yes, please. 

If you “don’t like the taste of vegetables”, the burnt butter cabbage (S$16) will likely fool you into polishing it off.

The charred edges of the cabbage add a welcome bitterness to the luxurious fattiness of the butter. We had to consciously remind ourselves not to polish it all off before the rest of the dishes arrived.

Fi Woodfire Thai Robertson Walk
Photo: Zawani Abdul Ghani/HungryGoWhere

Fi Woodfire Thai’s smoked pork ribs initially caught our attention on Instagram, but we chose not to be swayed by their public popularity and ordered the French poulet (S$28) instead. 

If the restaurant’s speciality is wood-fired dishes, the chicken should taste just as impeccable, right? Thankfully, the assumption proved correct. 

Accompanied by a chicken liver jaew sauce (a dipping sauce typically made with fish sauce, tamarind, sugar, cilantro, and chillies), this grilled bird imported from France was said to be raised cage-free, without hormones or antibiotics and is organic. 

The first bite proved its worth, and the rest of the succulent meat fell off the bones. A small dip in the chicken liver jaew sauce also goes a long way — if you’re into gamey, earthy and rich condiments, the sauce and its protein together is a combination that’s hard to beat. 

We were so distracted by how tasty the chicken was that our sharing portion of Thai fragrant rice (S$2) was almost forgotten.

What it could improve on

The food dazzled, but the waiting time, not so much.

The wait time for our first dish was 15 minutes, while the drinks took much longer — a puzzling 25 minutes, even after our sides and appetisers arrived. This perplexed us even further as only another couple was dining when we were seated.

This tardiness wasn’t a deal-breaker, but it might help to be a little patient with service if you have a similar experience.

Fi Woodfire Thai Robertson Walk
Photo: Zawani Abdul Ghani/HungryGoWhere

Admittedly, our expectations for the crispy chicken ribs (eight pieces for S$14) were low, as we did not initially know what “chicken ribs” were. They are, in fact, mid-joint wings.

Here, they’re coated in batter and deep-fried. With a thin layer of batter and not much meat to cling to, it was tough to enjoy the intended crunchy texture. This dish would have fared much better if another chicken part — say, drumsticks — were used instead.

Wanting to steer away from our usual choice of cocktails — a negroni or old fashioned — we chose the sabai (S$18) (which means “to relax” in Thai) and Thai milk tea cocktail (S$20). 

The sabai is made with Mekong rum, lemon squeeze, simple syrup, and basil leaves for a refreshing mid-day tipple.

Fi Woodfire Thai Robertson Walk
Sabai. Photo: Zawani Abdul Ghani/HungryGoWhere

While the sabai cocktail fulfilled its job of quenching our thirst, it did little to impress these seasoned bar-hoppers. The drink tasted pleasant, but it was a mild beverage that ventured too close to being just a regular lemonade.

The Thai milk tea cocktail felt like a sluggish attempt at reinventing a Baileys-based concoction, resulting in a too-milky creation that was more akin to diluted chocolate milk.

Perhaps playing with herbs and spices would add much-needed character and boldness to its cocktails, helping it stand out as a unique Thai establishment.

Our quick takes

Is it conducive to conversation? Yes. Thai pop music plays in the background, but it’s not too loud that you can’t enjoy catching up with friends and family.

Is a reservation necessary? No, walk-ins are welcome. We visited after lunch-hour on a weekend, and only one table was occupied.

How to get there? Fi Woodfire Thai is a 400m or six-minute walk from Fort Canning MRT station.

HungryGoWhere paid for its meal at this restaurant for this review.

Looking for more Thai food options? Consider visiting Fourgather, a modern Thai spot nestled in Amoy Hotel run by four friends, or Good Gai at Thai Supermarket Aperia Mall, which claims to serve one of the best fried chickens in town.

Do explore the new GrabFood Dine-in service for awesome deals.

You can also book a ride to Fi Woodfire Thai at Robertson Walk.

Fi Woodfire Thai

Robertson Walk, 01-07, 11 Unity Street
Nearest MRT: Fort Canning
Open: Wednesday to Sunday (11.30am to 3pm, 5pm to 10pm)

Robertson Walk, 01-07, 11 Unity Street
Nearest MRT: Fort Canning
Open: Wednesday to Sunday (11.30am to 3pm, 5pm to 10pm)

Zawani Abdul Ghani


A cat lady who loves a good sweat session in the gym, and still tracking the lead to the elusive cure for wanderlust.

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