Whitegrass – Modern Australian Restaurant Is A Star, One Of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants
When I first wrote about Whitegrass, I commented that it would be a “potential star”.
Whitegrass at Chijmes is helmed by Chef Sam Aisbett, who presents Modern Australian cuisine with a touch of Asian.
The truth is, when I made the reservations, my expectations were rather neutral, because my dining experiences weren’t the most spectacular at Quay, to a lesser degree at Tetsuya’s. And also, I am not the type of diner that will gush just because a restaurant is opened by a celebrity chef. Maybe there is an element of being jaded.
Despite being invited for a tasting, I chose to decline with plans to make my own reservations on a separate day.
My verdict for Whitegrass is: Yes, the food, ambience and service are respectable and beyond expectations.
Actually, I love the interior to bits.
It has an appeal that combines both a feminine touch with shades of pink and turquoise green, added with a feeling of home.
The patterned sofas, vibrant coloured rugs, fresh flowers and hand-painted drawings on the wall provide a sense of ease and comfort.
Yes, pay special attention to a side of the wall featuring deep sea creatures, land animals, plants and herbs, inspired by the process in developing recipes in the kitchen. Painstakingly painted by @messymsxi, don’t mistake it for wallpaper.
Also, there is enough space between tables harmonised with tall ceilings, more than some other fine dining restaurants in Singapore where conversations can be heard.
Two options are available from Wednesdays to Saturdays: 5 courses at $142++ (wine pairing $90++), or 8 courses at $235++ (wine pairing $135++). These are the items I had:
Sashimi of yellowtail Amberjack, horseradish, toasted nori oil, salted radish, nasturtium, white soy dressing
Salad of slow roasted young beetroots, smoked eel, late season cherries, rosella jam, Australian mountain pepper.
Slow cooked Mangalica pork, tiger abalone, fermented cabbage, white turnip, fiddlehead fern, seaweed and pork broth.
Full blood Wagyu from Australia’s limestone coast, master stock braised beef tendon and tongue, toasted organic wheat, shitake, pickled Chinese artichoke, burnt celeriac.
Young Coconut mousse, Jackfruit ice cream, longan, ginger and almond cake.
The standout dish for me is the Slow-cooked Mangalica Pork, which incorporates some elements of Japanese with a dashi stock cooked with pork and seaweed poured from a teapot, and usage of spongy hasu-imo—the inner stalks of the Japanese lotus yam.
The jowl cubes literally melted in your mouth, as though pork never tasted this soft and yielding.
The added diced Jade Tiger abalone added a play on the textures, and it didn’t taste rubbery at all. My only feedback was that the broth could be less salty.
The dessert was a pleasant surprise, with the addition of local and Asian fruits such as longan, Jackfruit ice cream and coconut mousse. There is a sense of familiarity and newness as the constituents come together, bringing a sweet tropical touch.
No over-the-top plating or molecular gimmickry, just straight forward good food made with quality produce.
The main thing perhaps lacking in its favour are some truly standout dishes that could define a ‘star’ restaurant.
That would come as the Whitegrass reaches deeper and gets more familiar with this exciting Singapore environment.
CHIJMES 30 Victoria Street #01-26/27 Singapore 187996
Tel: +65 6837 0402
Opening Hours: 6pm – 9:30pm last order (Tues – Sat), Closed Sun, Mon
March 27, 2018