Note: Rabbit Stash has moved to Klapsons from Wangz Hotel.
Armed with a Masters in Building Construction Management, Chef Matthew Mok bravely undertook a 17-month diploma at At-Sunrice and started Rabbit Stash at Wangz Hotel. The classy restaurant overlooks Outram, a rather nice view, and serves fine-dining French cuisine with touches of Modern Singaporean influences.
Assorted amuse bouche with a fantastic bread basket
Not dissimilar to Chef Andre Chiang’s “octaphilosophy” at Restaurant Andre, Chef Mok espouses his ENSOPHI philosophy in his 7-course prix fixe menu ($168++). ENSOPHI is an acronym for Exotic, Nostalgia, Soil, Ocean, Piquancy, Heritage, and Impression. Each of the 7 courses is based on the artistic interpretation of 7 words. I honestly don’t like food having such philosophy; I find it pretentious unless it’s a Japanese chef. Food is good, or bad, or in-between. Any interpretation should be up to the patrons to figure out.
Carabinero prawn and razor clams
That said, the food is quite good. It has some trappings of fine-dining, like the portions are small and not filling, but it is fulfilling; I didn’t feel like I needed a bowl of bak chor mee after the meal. Unlike usual fine-dining, Chef Mok is not afraid to be heavy-handed. This is both good and bad: good because salt opens tastebuds and makes them more receptive to flavors; bad because sometimes the food is too enthusiastically salted, losing subtlety.
Peranakan Chef Mok shines when he fuses Singapore flavors with French. His rendition of Heritage nasi lemak (above) is divine, one of the best things I ate this year: couscous infused with coconut, dehydrated okra, quail with pineapple sauce, and sambal ice cream on peanut soil. It tastes exactly like an elevated version of nasi lemak—mindblowing!
The Exotic milk-fed veal & kangeroo is also amazing. Veal as soft as a daydream on a bed of butternut squash; kangeroo paired with bacon ice cream on a bed of pistachio soil; truffle barley; trompette mushroom. It takes a master to pair so many ingredients and make the dish work.
Inspired by volcano: first-born egg with chilli crab
Most fine-dining chefs can’t do desserts but Chef Mok is an all-rounder and his desserts are good. The pre-dessert dessert is a lovely deconstructed version of strawberry cake: strawberry ice cream, florentine, and cookie crumbs.
He went all Jackson Pollock for the Nostalgia dessert (below). He paints a picture of his playground when he was a child, under a coconut tree with a smashed ball, representing the messiness of childhood. Everything can be eaten, and it comes with an interesting and delicious “teh halia” ice cream.
Two areas for improvement: ingredients need to be fresher and there have to be more variations. Many dishes have ice creams and sorbets, that come across of lack of repertoire.
On the whole, this is a very enjoyable meal. The meal crescendoes from ordinary at the start to amazing at the end. The gifted Chef Mok has creativity, talent, and taste, and if he focuses on Mod Sin cuisine and shakes off the shadows of Chefs Andre Chiang and Julien Royer (of Odette), his potential will take him very far.
231 Outram Road, Wangz Hotel Rooftop (Level R), Singapore 169040
T: +65 6595 1380
T-F 12pm – 2pm, M-Sat 6.30pm – 10.30pm
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.