Friday, 10 April 2015

The White Rabbit: Dining in a Church Building

There's little argument that eating and shopping is Singaporean national religion. They may believe in Buddha and Christ, but they practice eating and shopping religiously. That's why churches are converted into shopping malls and restaurants (as well as Masonic Lodge, army barracks, etc) . CHIJMES is a well known example because it's located in the city centre, being gazetted into a national monument also helps to cement its name.

The White Rabbit is less well known. For one thing, it isn't as centrally located as CHIJMES. In fact, the cabbie who drove us there was clueless. Ok, he was reasonably young (in his late 20s or early 30s. I think this is far below the average age of a Singaporean cabbie. He had never heard the name and thought it was a candy shop).

If you've never heard of White Rabbit candy, you're either born in
the 21st century or born outside East or SE Asia.

Well, the White Rabbit sells food, but not the established branded candies (which I loved as a kid. Probably as much as Gummy Bear candies. Who could say no to animal branded candies?).

The cabbie did know of Dempsey Hill, which was a former British army barracks. The whole area is now a popular trendy hangout for dining and art gallery and whatnots. Its nearby garrison church is reincarnated as the White Rabbit restaurant.

The Vibe:  The small neo-gothic church is lovingly restored. Its many large sun-lit stained-glass windows gives the church its characteristic airiness. It's unusual for a small church in the tropics to have such large and numerous windows. It creates such a bright and sunny ambiance that's quite a departure from the many well known local cathedral and churches.

The White Rabbit restaurant, Singapore The White Rabbit restaurant, Singapore
The White Rabbit restaurant, Singapore The White Rabbit restaurant, Singapore

There's also an outdoor bar on the side of the church. One enters via the side of the church. You can go around the front of the church and see a bamboo lined entrance to the bar with the wooden sign "Rabbit Hole" that leads you to the outdoor bar (or Alice's Wonderland after a few drinks too many).

The White Rabbit restaurant, Singapore
Entrance to outdoor bar
The White Rabbit restaurant, Singapore
The severe damage

The Food:  We came for the lunch time special, which in Ada's own words, "quite reasonably priced", at S$38. It is, considering that this is a high-end restaurant.

We didn't get our $38 menu that we liked, and ended with a more expensive WGS Lunch Menu.

Sauteed Foie Gras:  8 / 10. A little rich for my taste, but still quite nice, and with an interestingly crispy outer layer.

Foie Gras, The White Rabbit restaurant, Singapore

King Crab Pasta:  8.5 / 10.  The curly crispy fried toppings (not sure what it was) and the pork broth was something different from your usual pasta dishes. An interesting East-West fusion that was concocted by the chef.

King Crab pasta, The White Rabbit restaurant, Singapore

Chargrilled 400 Days Wagyu Rump Cap:  6.5 / 10.  Firstly, I could never acquire the taste of wagyu beef. Even though I only had it a few times, but it's simply not my cup of tea (or piece of meat). I take the cheaper, run-of-the-mill cow over the over pampered wagyu cow any day.

To add salt to injury, I asked for medium rare, and was told that there's no choice in how the beef is cooked. Everyone gets the same treatment: medium. As far as temperature went, the medium wagyu still retains some juice and tenderness. I still much prefer my beef dripping with so much blood, I have to drink it with a straw.

Wagyu beef, The White Rabbit restaurant, Singapore

Deconstructed Cheesecake:  7.5 / 10. A interesting twist that leads to less work for the chef. A bit gimmicky for me. Since I like cheesecake, I can't complain.

Deconstructed cheesecake, The White Rabbit restaurant, Singapore

Overall:  7 / 10. The large, well-trained staff leads to prompt service (and large bill). Overall, I find the waitresses friendlier and more attentive than the waiters. Sorry mates!

While it's has some original fusion dishes and unconventional idea (compliment to the chef), it's just unlikely I'll come back any time soon given its steep prices (I've to blog 50 articles or spend 5 months of blogging to pay for this meal). I don't mind the dishes, but it didn't wow me. It's a bit rich for me.

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