Words and photographs by Sarah Lim.
If you were patient enough to learn about the history of The White Rabbit at Harding Road, you’d probably have had a pretty intense lesson on Singapore’s history. Occupying the space of what used to be a chapel, this one-of-its-kind restaurant impresses the moment we step foot in. It is whimsical, classy and charming all at the same time.
We were excited to find out Chef Benjamin Tan is back, assuming the role of Head Chef after a hiatus, and has made a radical overhaul of the menu. It seems we weren’t the only one pleased; our waiter gushed over the good news, and reassures us that the meal was going to be nothing short of spectacular.
We began with the Classic Lobster Bisque, which assaults our senses the moment the lid was uncovered. This was unabashedly bold and intense as if a whole lobster had been grounded and concentrated to produce a velvety liquid. The half Maine Lobster ($38) served was exceedingly fresh, succulent and bouncy.
We’d never encountered beef so delicate and tender as that served in our next appetizer of Wagyu Carpaccio ($26). Chef Ben’s flair for marrying flavours shines through in this flawless dish; each mouthful a burst of flavors from the beef, balsamic pearls and aroma from the shaved truffles.
The Risotto ($21 as appetiser, $32 as main) was predictable, though we cannot find any fault about it. It was cheesy and pungent, and once again enlivened by generous shavings of truffle. Each grain barely retained its form in the creamy concoction, yet was perfectly al dente to give retain a satisfying bite.
We’ve been tormented by our obsession with the Char-Grilled Mangalica Pork Collar ($46) ever since we have had it. And so are many of their regular customers, we were told, who would return time and time again just for this dish. Step aside Kurobuta, for the Mangalica Pig puts every other porcine dish we’ve had to shame. We have never had pork this way, and can no longer have pork any other way now that we’ve tasted this. The well-marbled pork was almost surreal in flavor and texture; almost like beef except with flavours more sublime and delicate. We could not care less for the extraneous calvados cream and the odd-tasting celery root puree, and would even have this slab of pink, decadent pork steak by itself.
The White Chocolate Soufflé ($18) was light and fluffy, though curiously without a trace of white chocolate. We’d be lying if we said it was the best we’ve had but we liked that it didn’t suffer the common pitfall of being overly sweet, which meant that it paired beautifully with the dense chocolate ice cream. This is a dessert that would concur with those looking for a light way to end the meal.
We would recommend the 24-Hour Poached Pear ($16) instead, which was a stellar work of art. Two halves of a crimson red poached pear encasing a scoop of vanilla ice cream, perched atop a concoction of spiced crumble and burnt butter cake. This was an extremely satisfying end to a wonderful meal.
We cannot help raving about The White Rabbit. Every dish was delicate, well-balanced, and something that only a very talented chef could have achieved. Chef Ben’s return definitely marks a new beginning for The White Rabbit. Service does get a little slow, though we are unsure if this was with the intention for customers to enjoy a long evening. We can’t wait to make a revisit, and with tempting offerings on their brunch menu (think truffle mac and cheese), we’re sure we’ll be back pretty soon.
The White Rabbit
39C Harding Road
Tel: +65 6473 9965
Note: This was an invited media tasting.