$40-$60

The White Rabbit, Dempsey

Head Chef Benjamin Tan, a former lecturer at ITE with 15 years of culinary experience at restaurants such as Au Jardin, has recently joined The White Rabbit and produced a new menu.

A quick history of White Rabbit: the name comes from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland where a white rabbit leads her to a fantasy world through a rabbit hole (which is the name of The White Rabbit restaurant’s bar). White Rabbit is an apt name since the novel was written at about the same time as the building was built. In 1860, the British bought the land at Dempsey to serve as a military camp.The building that houses White Rabbit–check out my previous review on White Rabbit for photos of interior and building–was a military chapel with a history of more than 100 years. More than 70% of the building is preserved, including the mosaic flooring. The other remaining 30%, you ask? Installation of air-con, chairs, tables, a bar counter, wine cellar, etc.

We judge restaurants by the complimentary bread they serve. The evening started with piping hot bread, very comforting, a sign of good things to come.

Starters


Lobster Bisque ($38)

Laced with brandy and seasoned with tarragon, the lobster bisque arrived with a chunky half Maine lobster. This was the only dish we were ambivalent over. Instead of the usual sweetness, characteristic of bisques, this one was salty and bitter from the brandy and wasn’t quite viscous enough. Huccalily, my dining partner, said that she enjoyed it while I, sensitive to alcohol, opined that this was a dish that drinkers would like.


Wagyu Carpaccio ($26)

Topped with shredded parmesan, celery cress, balsamic pearls, and truffle cream, the carpaccio was explosive. You put it in your mouth and will inadvertently close your eyes in bliss and go “Mmm.” I don’t order things that I can cook myself–such a waste of money–so I’d not order carpaccio at a restaurant but White Rabbit’s version is inimitable, irreplaceable. I also don’t like to use the word “best” because the world is huge; there is always better. But truly, this is the best carpaccio we’ve eaten. Must order.


Ravioli (Appetizer $21/ Main $32)

The ravioli in port reduction and parmesan form, which could be served either as an appetizer or a pasta main, came with wild mushrooms. The fungus had a very clean taste with a bite and wasn’t limp. But the star, and rightly so, was the ravioli of a thin, delicate and light skin.

Mains


Beef Cheek Bourguignon ($48)

Came with roasted root vegetables and mousseline potatos, the bourguinon was greatly enhanced by crispy bacon which more lardy than bacon-y. Competently done.


Char-Grilled Mangalica Pork Collar ($46)

If you google images for mangalica pig from Hungary, you’d ask: is it a sheep or a pig? The answer: a pig in sheep’s clothing. The dish was paired with ingredients that are commonly paired with pork: apple, celery root puree, calvados cream. What was unique was really the pork itself. It was tough when we were cutting it but when we delivered to our mouths, we were amazed by how tender it was without being fatty.

Desserts


24-hour Poached Pear ($16)

With so many ingredients–burnt butter cake, spiced crumble, vanilla ice cream, figs and berries–each mouthful of the poached pear was different because the composition on your spoon would differ. Big enough to be shared by two, it was light, fruity and refreshing. Relatively guilt-free? Highly recommended.


White Chocolate Souffle ($18)

By this time, we were bursting at the seams and I wanted the poached pear because I was sick of souffle. But since Huccalily hinted very strongly she wanted a souffle, we ordered a second dessert… and it was divine. Made from Valrhona opalys white chocolate–do you know Valrhona has white chocolate? I didn’t–the souffle had a puff-like cover but was moist, soft, ethereal within and was smartly paired with triple chocolate ice cream to provide a contrast in flavors. Souffle doesn’t get better than this.

The service was, like the food, very excellent. The wait staff can converse and have a knowledge of what they serve.

Compared to my last trip to White Rabbit a year ago, the restaurant has improved on all areas, a very difficult feat since it was already very good last year. Coming to White Rabbit this time is getting a culinary education because it has food that isn’t readily available elsewhere in Singapore. Quite an experience.

The White Rabbit

39C Harding Rd Singapore 249541
T: 6473 9965
Facebook
chope-reservations

T-F: 12-2.30pm
Sat-Sun: 1030-2.30pm
Dinner: 6.30pm-10.30pm
Close on Monday

Rating: 3.838/5 red queens

PS: Thank you Charissa and Amos for hosting and inviting us.

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12 replies »

  1. The restaurant was completely gorgeous. Set in an old church, with candle light and diffused lamps. The outside area, The Rabbit Hole, where we went to have a drink prior to our meal needs some love, though. It has faded and stained cushions and tacky rope lighting around the bar. It has the potential to be SO much more, especially if they’re going for a shabby chic kind of look. The look there now is just shabby. Ordered a gin and tonic and was pleased with the serving size. We had a marvelous table in the restaurant- in the corner overlooking the dining room. The tables for 2 along the center are CLOSE to one another. Avoid those if you can, you may want to specifically request one of the sumptuous round tufted booths….they looked quite cozy. We ordered off of the menu, but the digustation option was a good value, too. Hubs got the barossa cheese entree with the micro basil and tomato (could have used more of both) and it was hands down, the BEST barossa I’ve ever had. Texture, temperature, taste…all three were divine. I had the carpaccio, which was good, but had (it it’s possible?) too much truffle. The mains were lovely, and the desert of creme brulee was again- wonderful. A suggestion? Offer more wines by the glass. The whites were too similar to be a good selection, mostly unwooded / citrusy. We felt overall that this restaurant was a good value for the money, and that it delivered on its reputation of serving delicious food. Oh, and P.S.- the bread, which I skip 99% of the time, is NOT to be missed. They do these little tomato basil rolls that melt in your mouth. And, 3 cheers for salted butter.

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