Every Christmas eve, Chiobu and I gather a few friends to dine at a chichi restaurant to celebrate another year of friendship. When White Rabbit invited us to check out their festive menus starting from an affordable $48 (available throughout December, including Xmas Menu and New Year Menu), we jumped at the opportunity faster than 31 year-old Edison Chen pouncing on his next 16 year-old school-uniformed girl.
We were knocked over by the gorgeous decor, an old church converted into a restaurant, retaining some of the ecclesial decor, such as the stained glass church windows and the pulpit is changed into a bar counter. There is a residue grandeur and reverence to the restaurant. Chiobu observed that unlike other chichi restaurants in Singapore which are usually small and exclusive, White Rabbit is more Gordon Ramsey style, huge open space. However, the booth chairs ensure a degree of privacy. This place is suitable for a group of friends or for lovers. The ambience was electrifying. I said to Chiobu, “Come on! This is such an amazing place to celebrate Christmas! Dining on Christmas in a church! And we can get to make new friends here in such an open space.”
Entree: seared scallop; foie gras parfait on brioche; Iberico ham & fig.
I started with the fresh fig wrapped in ham with parmesan cheese and rocket. I said to Chiobu, “It’s a very smart combination lor.” Very smart because it had a bit of everything, sweet fig, salty ham, bitter rocket, and milky cheese. But I wondered if it was too glib and polished.
The scallop was seasoned in a very Chinese style, and was overly salty. So the right way to eat is to wrap the scallop with the salad (which had chrysanthemum petals), so the salad could lessen the salt and provide a textual contrast.
I tried the foie gras parfait on brioche last because I tried it at other restaurants before and at other restaurants, I thought it was disappointing, such a waste of foie gras. But Chiobu said, “WOW, you must try it!!! It’s so good!!” I rolled my eyes…how good can it be? OMG. It was happiness! Love at first bite! It didn’t have the iron-y taste of liver, it wasn’t smelly, it was dense and extremely smooth and creamy, which complimented the brioche–one of the best brioches I’ve tasted. The brioche tasted almost like a sweet but soft Khong Guan square cracker. This was the elusive WOW-ness I was searching for!
Second Course: Champagne Poached Seabass in Mushroom Broth. Chiobu said that this could have been perfect if the fish was fresher and less fishy. But I LOVE IT. This was again a very Chinese dish, almost like Chinese steamed fish at wedding dinner. There was a slight bitter aftertaste coming from the champagne and the broth had a herbal tinge, adding dimensions to the sweetness of the fish. My only complaint was why so little broth??? Chiobu and I can drink a whole pot of it! So yummy! We used the complimentary bread to soak up all the soup. Not a drop left on the bowl, drier than the Sahara desert. I wanted to lick my bowl.
Roulade of Turkey with stuffing of chestnut, smoked oyster, cornbread, sage and cranberry sauce. You’d think that the detailed description would include–I tasted this in the mix–bacon, which provided a slight saltiness.
Chichi restaurants don’t serve food hot because they don’t want to get into law suits of scalding the customers. Because the food isn’t hot, there usually isn’t fragrance coming from the food. Let it be said that this is the FIRST time that there was such a great scent. I almost forgot to take photo first!
Chiobu dislikes main courses to be sweet. Looking at the ingredients, you can tell they are most sweet: chestnut, cornbread, turkey, cranberry sauce. But after a while, she said, “The chestnut is very soft!”
I replied, “Mine is ok only. And my stuffing is a bit hard and dry.”
“No! Mine is so soft and moist!” So perhaps she got the good parts of the stuffing.
I ate a roulade–just meat rolled up–recently at Magma, and my preconceived notion was, “This is going to suck. Roulades are hard.” But when I sank my teeth into it, I felt like I was in one of those commercials: slow motion, zoom in on the sexy way a sexy woman bites into the food. I turned to Chiobu and said, “OMG, the turkey defies physics! It’s bouncy, like a grape, but when your teeth break into the meat, the meat is completely tender. We have to come here for Christmas!”
For the second time, even though the sticky date pudding wasn’t hot, there was such a delicious baked fragrance coming from it. Naturally, covered in caramel sauce, this dessert was saccharine sweet. Chiobu exclaimed, “OMG!!! This has to be the best dessert ever!”
“What do you mean ‘ever’? Like in the entire Singapore?”
I do think the dessert was very, very outstanding. A scoop of the extremely rich vanilla ice cream with a bit of pudding and a piece of berry – quite divine. But Judging on its taste alone, it gets 9.5/10. Judging on creativity, the Dining Room @ Tanjong Beach Club wins.
Chiobu said that she felt so snug and intimate with the service. It felt like she was living in Singapore again, not China! Haha. The service was indeed top-notched. They always serve the ladies first. When Chiobu had tea, the waitress moved the milk jug so that the handle faced Chiobu, easier for her to take. Guests at other tables were in the bathroom, and the servers covered the food for them. Very considerate and efficient and polite.
Chiobu and I seldom agree on food. This is one of the rare instances that we actually like the place. I think we found our restaurant to host Xmas Eve dinner! (PS: if you need a copy of the Festive Menu and pricing, you can email me and I’ll forward you the Menu.)
Rating: 3.702/5 OMG