Blackwattle, Amoy Street: Outstanding Australian Cuisine by Chef from Automata in Sydney

Taking over Zott’s, Blackwattle restaurant at Amoy Street borrows its name from a species of trees native to Australia, and serves–no surprise here–Australian food. A smart move opening an Australian restaurant, given the Michelin Guide’s penchant for the cuisine.

35 year-old Australian Clayton Wells who opens Blackwattle is the chef of Automata, which ranks 9th best restaurant in Sydney by Australian Financial Review. At 19 years old, Wells was an apprentice in a hotel kitchen before moving on to eminent Sydney restaurants such as Quay and Tetsuya’s.

Wells leaves 28 year-old Joeri Timmermans, his sous chef at Automata, to helm Blackwattle. They serve a 3-course lunch at $48++ and 5-course dinner at $115++. A la carte is also available.

The 3-course lunch starts with an amuse bouche–they call it “snacks”–that consists of a fried cheese-and-tapioca cracker and a stormshell clam in rosemary dashi topped with aerated cream. One crunchy, one smooth; one land, one sea; one sweet, one salty; one rich, one light. A good juxtaposition.

The appetitizers come with this great, warm bun and cream whipped with chicken jus and anchovies. Huccalyly asked for seconds, and she said, “It’s enough. We can pay and go now. I feel like I already got my money’s worth with this f***ing excellent bread and cream.”

The appetizer, a kingfish tartare mixed with capers, creme fraiche and yuzu kosho, is excellent. Very fresh, light, nicely balanced, and the plum slices add a wonderful summer feel and undercuts the richness of the creme.

The grilled beef tri-tip–think the server said wagyu?–comes with burnt carrot, wood-ear mushrooms 黑木耳, and tamari sauce. The beef is excellently executed and it is a nice cut; it is tender and fat enough but there is a really fantastic bite. It’s also interesting to see how they pair the beef with wood-ear mushrooms.

The other option for a main, barramundi, is simply pan-fried, which is the way fresh fish should be done. The fish is paired with a hispi cabbage decorated with buckwheat like a Christmas tree. A good balance between the fish and veg.

The dessert, a pumpkin seed sorbet with bitters meringue and dried plum, is the least exciting. It’s alright: a rounded sourness to alleviate any sense of heaviness from the meal.

We like Blackwattle because the dishes are easy and clean; nothing very complicated, just letting the integrity of the ingredients to speak for themselves. We also like that it doesn’t try anything funny. For example, the barramundi, an Australian fish, is simply pan-seared, which should be the way fresh fish be cooked.

The service for a new restaurant is impeccable. Kudos. In fact, the service was so good that we didn’t paying for $5/pax for Singapore’s already-filtered water filtered through the Norqac system. We paid $62 per pax for lunch.


97 Amoy Street, Singapore 069917
tel: +65 6224 2232
M-F 12pm-3pm, M-Sat 6pm-11pm

Food: 7.5/10
Price: 6/10
Service: 9.5/10
Decor: 6/10

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Written by A. Nathanael Ho.

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