I’ve been heavily involved in football for the majority of my life, from my youth as an aspiring and ultimately failed player, to my working days as a reporter, editor and TV presenter.
The one thing that drives me insane about the majority of professional players is their complete lack of forward planning for when they can no longer earn a living from the beautiful game. The amount of players who end up in financial dire straits despite earning sometimes extortionate salaries is beyond belief.
Therefore, it was a pleasure to be in the company of two young footballers in Singapore who have pooled their resources – and wives (though not in a tabloid newspaper sex scandal type way, you understand) – and opened a restaurant over in Rochester Park.
Woodlands Wellington defender Walid Lounis and SAF’s Jeremy Chiang are the two players in question; the duo drawing on their cultural influences to create some really clever, wholesome, unpretentious Tunisian and Asian food in a really relaxed setting.
“We shared a common dream to deliver good food and nice atmosphere so that visitors could chill the night away,” said Walid.
“The name WEJS is derived from the four name initials of the two couples: Walid, Erica, Jeremy and Suyi, and we thought that the sequence sounded like “wedges”. And who doesn’t like wedges?!”
Indeed. The Tunisian half of the menu is cooked by Walid and his wife Erica, using authentic recipes that have been nurtured and tweaked over many years by Walid’s mother.
I kicked off with the Chicken Couscous Tunis, a simple but delicious dish that married couscous with chicken, tangy tomato, carrot, cucumber, red pepper, green pepper and potato strips.
My second Tunisian treat was Salad Mechweya; a grilled and mixed salad made of red pepper, green pepper, onion, garlic and tomato. A variety of spices brought the dish to life, as did the accompanying olives, sliced eggs, tuna and olive oil. On the side, we devoured fabulous home-made Tunisian bread, which is made from two types of flours, with added flavours and textures courtesy of black sesame and fennel seeds.
The Couscous Lamb Merguez, with its nod to Moroccan cuisine, tickled the tastebuds with its sweet and savoury notes, and last, but by no means least – in fact, this was my personal favourite – was the Mamamia Quesadilla, a dish created by Jeremy’s wife Suyi with a nod to her father who is a huge fan of Mexican food.
Stir-fried beef cooked with minced onion and spices, served with a mango salsa and topped with a secret recipe special sauce and wrapped in flour tortilla and sour cream, was an absolute delight. It was so good I could happily have stayed around for extra time and penalties.