Housed in the heritage-listed Chijmes which is an iconic dining place in Singapore, Whitegrass is one of the few new fine dining restaurants that i liked.
Chef-owner Sam Aisbett worked as a head chef at the award-wining Quay in Sydney as well as Tetsuya Wakuda’s Tetsuya’s Restaurant . With the head chef Diego cossio who has trained at the Michelin-2-starred Ledbury in London and the manager Celine who has a strong background of been worked in some Michelin restaurants around the world, Whitegrass brings authentic Modern Australian cuisine with an Asian twist.
The interior design was done by Takenouchi Webb, a famous design firm behind The Black Swan and Potato Head Folk. For Chef Sam’s love of nature, you can see a lot of greens and flowers inside the dining room by local artist Tan Zi Xi. The soft-tone colours give a very elegant first impression that won’t make you feel restricted.
The menu at Whitegrass starts from $48++ for 2 course to $135++ for a 5-course discovery menu during lunch time. Dinner starts from $108++ for 3 courses to $255++ for a complete experience of 8 courses chef’s menu. Lunch is a very nice deal for first-timers who seek to explore this new restaurant.
Before starting the meal, we were treated a small bowl of ‘Australian Bibimbap’ made of seaweed cream underneath, topped with ikura (trout roe), cucumber, radish, seaweed, chrysanthemum flower and puffed wild rice to give a crispy texture. The entire mixture was packed of umami flavours while we found the seaweed cream was a bit too salty for a wonderful balance.
Bread service was pretty satisfying for my liking compare to the other several new restaurants i have been which also served ‘sourdough’ (which were too dry). It has a lovely crust and soft, chewy center which can be better-done if it is slightly less denser. But i loved it.
Sashimi of yellowtail Amberjack, lime crème fraîche, dashi jelly, white soy dressing
One of my favourite appetisers i recently had was this beautiful dish of yellowtail sashimi rolled with homemade lime creme fraiche. This dish is served with chopsticks which is not really common in a western restaurant in Singapore so fat. The clean and fresh ocean flavours of the yellowtail sashimi works well with the smooth and light cream in the center.
Next dish was quite obviously Australian if you’ve been fine dine in Australia. It was another dish that was beautifully done. Nicely roasted beet with a savoy touch of the ham and a fruity twist, which surprisingly balanced with floral jam.
Followed by a small bowl of smoked trout consommé with a floating scallop ‘dumpling’ before serving the warm dishes. Unfortunately it was such a disappointment, despite the soft and umami scallop dumpling, the soup was too salty and the dill oil was too much.
One thing i really missed about Australia was marron. Luckily i got a chance to have it in Singapore again although it was quite small in size.The marron was bouncy and delicious, with desert lime to bring a some refreshness. The entire dish balanced well, simple but tasty.
The first main course was Whitegrass’s signature dish – slow cooked pork jowl with clam consommé. It looks clean but was burst of delectable flavours of the land as well as the ocean. The pork was nothing but succulent like my grandma’s braised pork, clean and umami broth works well with the pork. While in general, it was a dish we less preferred thought the meal.
Chef Sam’s poached quail breast also impressed me a lot. Besides the juicy and flavourful quail breast itself, i really love the concept of using the Chinese century eggs on top of the quail breast, and it was surprisingly harmony. The fat and meaty engine heart was also memorable to, the entire dish was quite textural as well with the crispy roasted milk skin and toasted nuts & seeds.
Finally a dessert that showcases Chef Sam’s Quay DNA – it looks similar to Quay’s snow egg but i much prefer this one from Whitegrass. Underneath coconut mousse, you may fine jackfruit ice cream and fresh logan. On the top, with almond crumbles, meringue and ginger sesame chips which bring crispy textures. The first bite was a bit too sweet but after that i found i liked it.
Apart from the food, the service was actually slow during peak hours, although all the staffs were patient and friendly. We waited for about 15 minutes for our tea and mignardises to arrived after the dessert, it seems the servers totally forgot about us until i asked where’s our petit and drinks. The mignardises includes chocolated raspberry marshmallow, and homemade cookies with a paste made of ‘Austalian’s favourite cookie’ Tim Tam.
Besides the wired consommé, slightly salted bibimbap (both were not included in the courses though), and less-preferred pork, the rest part was satisfying. Service was great but the efficiency has larger room for improvement during peak hours. In short, it was a lovely experience at Whitegrass and i don’t mind for revisiting.
Address: #01-26/27 Chijmes, 30 Victoria St, Singapore 187996
Hours: Tue- Sat 12:00–14:00, 18:00–21:30, Closed on Sundays & Mondays