Friday, July 6, 2018

Whitegrass (Singapore, SINGAPORE) ★★★★☆

There are a lot of reasons why Whitegrass was picked as the first restaurant we visited on this Singapore trip. One of the real rising stars in Singapore's food scene, the modern Australian restaurant is enjoying quite a banner year so far. Fresh off a place into Asia's 50 Best Restaurants (by the skin of its teeth), they have recently collected their first-ever Michelin star.

Chef-owner Sam Aisbett worked with some of the best chefs in Australia including Peter Gilmore (Quay) and Tetsuya Wakuda (Tetsuya's). His brand of modern Australian cuisine is refined and best known for its Japanese influence, especially its umami-rich flavors (sauces).

It's a nice 10-minute walk from our hotel to Chijmes and once I got my little one settled down, I started to check out the dining room which was simple and elegantly designed. I took a quick peek into the semi-open kitchen and there he was, chef Aisbett himself working hard behind the scene.

These days, everyone is getting innovative with their tasting menu. We have seen emojis (Gaggan's), cue cards (too many places) before so why not some drawings? I was really tempted to check their discovery menu out but unfortunately, we're meeting some relatives in Sentosa in early afternoon. So, a simple, 3-course meal sounded about right.

Speaking of the Japanese influence, why not some edamame beans on egg custard as our amuse bouche?

Obviously, everyone of us heard about the Japanese connection so not surprisingly, we all went with the yellowtail amberjack sashimi as our starter. This was beautifully plated with toasted seaweed oil, horseradish cream and Japanese land caviar.

This was just a very satisfying dish. The rich flavor of the amberjack meshed well with the seaweed oil, horseradish and saltiness of the caviar while the yuzu kosho brought refreshing citrus flavors to the mix. Also love the crunchy cucumber and edible flowers there for some contrasting texture. A very nice way to get the meal started.

My main course was Australian black angus beef which was nothing fancy but what made it special was the fermented mushroom purée, salted black beans and Japanese land seaweed giving the beef a lot of flavors to work with.

Some of us opted for the red sea bream which was served with Japanese stone pot rice and crispy whitebait in a flavorful umami broth. It wasn't bad but it paled a bit in comparison to the Angus beef (without the symphony of flavors).

This was the least expected but dessert provided one of the real highlights of the meal. I thought I really enjoyed the first dessert with poached jackfruit, sago pudding, roasted almonds, coconut and lime ice-cream. There were different degree of sweetness in there, complemented nicely by the contrasting texture and temperature.

Equally delicious was the second dessert prepared with Amazake milk mousse, Japanese nashi pear, shiso leaf granita and pear ice-cream.

While the first dessert tended to be a little sweeter and heavier in flavors, this one was much more on the refreshing side and more fruity, which was perfect for the summer.

It was a pretty nice meal with two really good dishes (amberjack and beef) and two great desserts. I think it's definitely worth coming back for the degustation menu on my next trip  to Singapore.

Food Rating: 6.5/10
Price: $$$
Address: 30 Victoria Street, #01-26/27 Chijmes, Singapore
Closest Metro Station: City Hall
Tel: +65 6837-0402
S. Pellegrino Asia's 50 Best Restaurants: 50th (2018)

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