The White Rabbit

Posted on June 21, 2008 by Aun

S and I both love good restaurants. We love all aspects that contribute to a great place to dine, including delicious food, top-notch service, well thought-out menu and collateral designs, chic uniforms, gorgeous interiors, a good wine list and an equally yummy cocktail list, a sexy and soothing soundtrack, smart lighting, a great and unique location, and a chic and attractive clientele. Of course, not all restaurants are able to offer all of the above. Some succeed by being outstanding in just a couple areas, like having a super-sexy crowd and awesome cocktails for example. Some can even get by with amazing food and nothing else. But when all the elements come together, that’s restaurant magic.

One of the services offered by the lifestyle consultancy that S and I run is F&B development (our other company is a media consultancy; it is through the media arm that we’re publishing The Miele Guide). This means that we occasionally get to have the enormous pleasure of helping clients create new restaurants. Our latest project, The White Rabbit, opens this week. The White Rabbit, owned and managed by the very cool cats behind Loof, is situated in the very beautiful, old Ebenezer Chapel on Harding Road, in the very trendy Dempsey Road area in Singapore. The chapel has been gorgeously restored. A new roof has been put in (to replace the old asbestos roof that was threatening to cave in); a large wooden deck has been built out back; new stained glass windows have been commissioned for the space; and new grass has been put down around the building.

Super-cool architects Takenouchi Webb have really done a marvelous job designing the interiors of the restaurant. It’s classy, sexy, cool, hip, retro and yet also excitingly modern. It’s the kind of space that works equally well for a hot date, a boisterous birthday party, a fun family meal, and even a very cool client dinner. I especially love the banquette tables along the wall. They’re perfect for people-watching while maintaining a certain amount of privacy.

The main dining hall seats around 90 diners plus another 20-30 at the indoor bar. In addition, there is a lovely, air-conditioned, sunlit, all white room off the main hall. We’ve taken to calling it the “Sunday Room”. I’m predicting that it will soon become a fan favourite. We’ve already had one gorgeous gal book the room for a baby shower. Out back (past the Sunday Room) is a wooden deck that houses the outdoor bar. Dubbed “The Rabbit Hole”, this cool space can seat another 40 persons comfortably.

The food is very good. The White Rabbit’s Executive Chef is Daniel Sia. Chef Sia was most recently working with Chef Justin Quek at Le Platane in Shanghai. Before that he ran the kitchens at the restaurant in Harvey Nichols in Hong Kong. Previous to that, he was one of the two head chefs that opened Marmalade and was in charge of Marmalade Pantry when it first opened. Chef Sia has also trained briefly under England’s original badboy celebrity chef, Marco-Pierre White. The food, like the restaurant’s interior, is cool and classic. The menu is a goldmine of classic European comfort foods, plus some slightly fancier fare. Some of the standout dishes on the menu include Oysters (Rockefeller, Au Gratin or Natural); Steak Tartare; Chicken and Duck Liver Parfait; Chef Sia’s Salad Printemps (served with mangoes, asparagus, and black truffles); Slightly Spiced Prawn Bisque (topped with a coconut and laksa souffle); Chicken a la King; Oxtail Stew; Lobster Thermidor; Tournedos Rossini; and The White Rabbit Mac and Cheese (served with black truffles and a truffle sauce). The desserts are also pretty nifty. I really like Chef Sia’s Mars Bar Souffle, Strawberries Romanoff, and Baked Alaska. The White Rabbit Black Forest Cake is really fun too; it is a deconstructed and totally modern take on the classic dessert.

One of the things we’re really hoping to encourage at The White Rabbit is the idea of pre-dinner and post-dinner drinks. Our bartenders have worked with a consultant to create a pretty great cocktail menu. We will be offering a good selection of classic drinks, made traditionally and properly, plus a selection of brand new, totally modern creations inspired by these famous drinks.

The White Rabbit officially opens 25 June 2008. That said, a small number of tables are being made available over the next few days (please call for a reservation if you want to come in during this preview period). Drop by, have a drink and enjoy a good meal. Please remember that every good restaurant takes a bit of time to hit its stride. So, have a bit of patience and please give our managers your honest feedback. We’re going to try our best to make The White Rabbit a great restaurant. But all great things take a bit of time.

See you at The White Rabbit.

The White Rabbit
39C Harding Road
Singapore
Tel: +65 6473 9965
Open Tuesday – Sunday lunch and dinner

UPDATE: Starting Tuesday, 8 July 2008, The White Rabbit will be offering a set lunch menu. Priced at just S$28++, you get a starter and a main course. For each course, you will be offered 5 excellent dishes to choose from. Some of the yummy starters on the first set lunch menu include a tasty confit of salmon salad; a beetroot and tomato carpaccio; and a watermelon and confit of tomato salad. Some of the mains include grilled confit of pork neck with mashed potatoes and a mustard sauce; a pan-roasted ribeye with escargots; and a pan-roasted red mullet with braised fennel. Dishes will change evey few weeks.

About Aun Koh

Aun has always loved food and travel, passions passed down to him from his parents. This foundation, plus a background in media, pushed him to start Chubby Hubby in 2005. He loves that this site allows him to write about the things he adores--food, style, travel, his wife and his bouncing baby boy!

What Others Are Saying

  1. margie June 21, 2008 at 12:42 am

    oh my. that is absolutely gorgeous.

  2. Mei June 21, 2008 at 2:09 am

    it all looks like heaven but i must say it’s the first time i’ve heard of macaroni cheese rubbing shoulders with truffles

  3. sooks June 21, 2008 at 3:12 am

    looks promising. Really love the decor.
    I’ll be looking forward to trying their food as I really enjoyed my meal at Le Platane when I visited some time back.

  4. Joanne June 26, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    O! I need to somehow get the chance to eat there. Another item to put on my wish list!

  5. Kim Tan June 27, 2008 at 9:38 am

    My cousin has already made reservation at White Rabbit when I am back in July. Can’t wait to dine there!

  6. Burnt Toast June 28, 2008 at 8:39 pm

    Having just touched down in SG yesterday, I actually checked out The White Rabbit and I was really impressed with the place. Thumbs up for the cocktails and the most fabulous service. To be honest, the food could do with a bit of tweaking. (either that or my sister-in-law is one very hard person to please and I should be less sensitive to salt) BUT, I really do recommend the place and I’d would definitely revisit The White Rabbit the next time I’m in town!

  7. simon goh June 29, 2008 at 12:13 am

    Must-Visit Restaurant, fantastic food and ambience. Terrific

  8. Kirstin June 29, 2008 at 4:41 am

    Stunning! Great job. And I love truffled mac & cheese. Are you highlighting any absinthe cocktails, and what is the focus of the wine list?

  9. Jez June 29, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    Great 1st impression and very chic and cosy… appreciate things take time, but attention to detail, (chipped butter plates, wait staff keep forgetting requests even when its not extremely busy…. and service needs to improve very quickly if you want to continue to charge these sort of prices… look forward to coming back

  10. Pete June 30, 2008 at 10:08 am

    Great, great photos! I’m always wary of “Dempsey Hill prices”, but will definitely check out White Rabbit because of your beautiful pics of it.

  11. Rata July 2, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    Very nice refurbishment of an old chapel. The interior looks fantastic. I guess first impression scores highly here. But of cos a restaurant cannot sustain with poor food and substandard service, especially with the prices and the service charge. Hopefully this highly acclaimed establishment can retain its customers by improving efficiency and training its staff.

  12. Guia July 2, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    I fancy your blog, dear CH. Quite informative, educational, has great photos, and in your words, addictive. However, the text size is becoming increasingly small for me, who seems to be coming increasingly presbyopic. The text size won’t enlarge to the largest or any other size when I try to resize it. May you or your web techie allow us who are showing our age continue to read your wonderful blog by allowing us to enlarge the text size? Thank you so very much.

  13. ladyironchef July 4, 2008 at 10:28 am

    Hello,

    i agreed with Guia on that, the text size is a tad too small for reading, can it be slightly bigger?

    Btw does the white rabbit has a website to provide more information? Like their menu and stuff like that?

    Cheers
    Brad

  14. Barb July 6, 2008 at 12:46 am

    Oh! That looks so beautiful!

    I’d love to sit in the Sunday Room…. sigh

  15. Adeline July 6, 2008 at 11:53 am

    The steak tartare is excellent! Esp with the 2 hidden quail egg gems buried inside! And i’m so glad that the portions are not too small.
    I was also very pleasantly surprised by the mars bar souffle. Had expected it to be a little heavy (stodgy inside perhaps?) given its origins…mars bars! But it turned out perfectly fluffly and lovely.
    Yum.

  16. Mich July 7, 2008 at 11:29 pm

    So…The White Rabbit is indeed situated in a lovely chapel and I have to commend the interior designers for creating a lovely space. However, a lovely place is nothing if the food isn’t up to snuff and after eating there I feel the menu still needs work. Had the White Rabbit mac & cheese and was rather disappointed by the small portion (for $28 no less) that wasn’t very flavourful despite the addition of the truffle. It just didn’t evoke the comfort that mac & cheese is supposed to give and the addition of the spring vegetables was totally odd. Like having stir fried Chinese veg as a side which doesn’t quite work in my book. My friends’ pastas were rather mediocre so can’t say much about that either. Had the deconstructed White Rabbit black forest cake which didn’t do anything for us (sorry, it’s just one of those classic cakes that people just shouldn’t tinker with too much) and the Mars bar souffle which didn’t taste anything like a Mars bar though it was very light. The only positive thing I can say apart from the decor is that the service was friendly without being obtrusive. Our waiter was quite delightful with a sense of humour and all the food came on time which was a nice surprise given that the place is so new. All in all, I would say one should go at least once to enjoy the space but not sure about a repeat visit unless the food really improves.

  17. Sylvia July 10, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    checking this place out Sunday. Can’t wait!

  18. maricel July 10, 2008 at 9:32 pm

    nice pix

  19. Jean July 13, 2008 at 4:08 am

    Just had dinner earlier at The White Rabbit with four other friends. We arrived at 1830 and stayed till 2145.
    Was really impressed with the whole feel of the place, and appreciate the architecture and effort to create a different dining experience. However there were a couple of areas that left us very disappointed.

    1) My party of 5 sat at a banquette table. A problem we had was that the lighting was really really dim. The overhead light was hardly of any use, and for 5 people to rely on one tea candle… desperately trying to see what’s on their plate… it was quite a struggle and really put me off. And when I asked for the light over our table to be turned brighter, nothing was done even though the waiter said Okay. Ambience is one thing, but struggling to see what you’re putting into your mouth is another.

    2) Food: We each had a starter, main and dessert. Somehow the starters seemed to fare better than the mains. My mac and cheese was barely lukewarm…. so I think that pretty much spoilt it for me. The salmon + seabass was disappointing and bland too. But what really failed us was the dessert. We ordered the baked alaska, black forest cake, banana split and Mars bar souffle. While the banana split was okay….. the baked alaska was just overwhelmingly sweet. Black forest cake got us puzzled because it felt like a spoon of cream + a scoop of chocolate ice cream + chocolate cream + coffee bits + two cherries all put side by side. That was pretty upsetting.. considering that I’ve tried other deconstructed desserts previously (like at 2am) and we didn’t go away feeling like we were “cheated”. Worst of all, the Mars bars souffle tasted like a mess. We didn’t know that we “had to pour the white chocolate sauce” into the souffle, according to a waitress who gave a face when my friend complained about the dessert. It was simply.. bland and had no kick at all.

    That being said, I went to the restaurant very excited…and this might have led to high expectations that were not met. But I felt that our bill of $450 for a party of five wasn’t justified… so do hope that you guys will do something about the food to match the hype and feel of the place.

  20. Rachel July 14, 2008 at 6:55 am

    Guia and Ladyironchef – I like upsizing the text too, and have done so on this blog just now, using the control and + keys together. I use Mozilla Firefox with Windows XP Professional.
    CH – love your blog, even tho I am unlikely to share any of your fine dining experiences!

  21. Dan & Mel July 20, 2008 at 11:57 am

    We had dinner at White Rabbit last night. However, while the ambience and service was good, the restaurant failed where it mattered the most: its food.

    We ordered the Mushroom Cappuccino and Duck Confit Salad for starters and for mains, the scallop linguine and sole menuire. The mushroom cappuccino was dilute and had absolutely no mushroom flavour in it. There were no mushroom bits in it, and even the mushroom soup at The Soup Spoon and The Sandwich Shop, which comes at a fraction of the price, tops this. The soup came accompanied with a hard, crumbly French pastry that was misplaced. The duck confit was acceptable, although not as spectacular as it was priced.
    The linguine was overcooked and soggy, and the scallops bland and chewy. Has the cook forgotten the sea salt?? Now the piece de resistance, the sole menuire. Suffice to say, we had to send it back to the kitchen, twice. The first sole was rubbery, with meat stuck down to the bones, a tell tale sign of frozen fish. The second, was marginally better in that the meat did come off the bones, but alas it exuded an overpoweringly fishy bouquet that no amount of butter could mask (and there was a lot of it). We subsequently decided to head for dessert elsewhere.

    The only good points were the attentive service and the delicious warm breads.

    All in all, it was an unpleasant dining experience, and the food overpriced for its mediocre standards. We will not be dining here again soon.

  22. beAr July 23, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    Contrary to what some of the people have written here, I had a pretty good experience food-wise at the White Rabbit.

    I was there for lunch on the 18th of July at 130pm; I’m guessing that the late hour helped somewhat in ensuring that the kitchen was not overworked, and hence the good food (though I’m not saying that the kitchen shouldn’t be able to cope with busy periods). The steak tartare and liver parfaits were tasty, and the lamb stew (on the lunch menu) exceptional. Desserts were also wonderful; I really must defend the deconstructed black forest cake here – i remember that the menu specifically noted that the main component of the dessert was chocolate mousse (instead of the usual sponge); to expect the “traditional” components of a Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte after the menu made clear of the issue seems rather misguided.

    That said, I was slightly miffed that the service, while somewhat friendly, was still not quite up to standard even after a month: waiters who forgot my warm water and brought cold, served the wine only after the main course arrived, didn’t bring the dessert menu after clearing the main course, didn’t offer coffee/tea etc… Hopefully the service will improve soon!

  23. IRENE ONG August 28, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    I was requested to arrange a birthday dinner for my best friend yesterday. I have chosen your restaurant as I heard a lot about it. We were a party on 16, we arrived @ 7.30pm but dinner was served only @ 9.00pm that was after our repeated request to speed up. The main course was chargrilled smoke ribeye, it was horrible, the meat was still terribly raw, when we highlighted to the waiter, he commented that it was their standard way of cooking, so nothing could be done. As such, we could only finish small part of it. Through out the dinner, none of the staff came to check on us or to extend birthday wishes to my friend except the staff whom I was in contact for the reservation arrangements, it was also after I approached her to request her to speed up the food. We left feeling disappointed, especially with the food, with the slow service and the cold attitude by all the staff and waiters except for the deco which is impressive. I felt really sorry for my friend for having chosen the wrong place. It was really an unpleasant birthday dinner experience for all of us.

  24. brokenbudgie September 6, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    Reading the birthday comment, i just wanted to add that the expectation may be there but the restaurant isn’t obliged to give or do anything special. Even if it’s a top notch restaurant.

  25. Jerms September 26, 2008 at 6:01 pm

    TEXT TOO SMALL? hold down ctrl and scroll up on your mouse wheel to increase, vice versa to decrease. =)

  26. Mac Chen September 30, 2008 at 9:41 am

    But I have problem calling thime to make reservation. What should I do?

  27. Sel October 6, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    Lovely, gorgeous and resplendently restored! A great place to impress visitors! Food is generally ok but the marcaroni and cheese is no big deal – a dish that should be cooked and eaten in the comfort of home!
    Accoustics could be improved!

  28. Grace Lim November 17, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    The White Rabbit sucks big time. In fact, it’s one of the worst experience I have had for a long time. I was there the first time on a gf’s birthday. Peak hour dinner time and the kitchen advised it has run out of their famous lamb dish. Soups were served after main courses. Staff can’t open wine! Just to name a few terrible things…

    Then a few weeks later, i thought I should give them another chance so I brought my daughter there for lunch on a Sat. We were amongst the first to arrive at the restaurant. We stepped in and no one came forward. I had to approach a staff and requested for a table for 2. We were ushered onto one of the table with a low lamp above. I am tall so as i moved inwards the curved bench i hit my head on the low hung light fixture. It was quite a hit and i let out a cry. There were service staff all around me but NONE came forward to ask if I was alright. No one gave me the menu so I had to ask once again. The food was a great disappointment. My daughter ordered the mac and cheese as well as the mushroom cappucino. The mac and cheese was way too salty and the mushroom capucinno was blend and has zero flavour. My daughter, though she’s only 5, has been to many good restaurants and her comments was “why does this soup taste like hot water”? It is stated in the menu that this soup is light but it didnt say anything about it not having flavour. There’s a difference. The steak tatare i ordered for myself was nothing spectacular, any one can put that together. The spinach with poached egg was special but the egg overcooked and was close to hard boiled. I left the restaurant before I could decide which main course to have because I decided not to waste any more calories on expensive and low quality food.

  29. Jennifer Ramos November 27, 2008 at 10:34 am

    I saw this place on a foreign blog and am so impressed with it, On my next trip I think I will try to visit …its great concept.

    Jen Ramos

  30. Lanx February 2, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    going this Valentine day and really hope it will be good

  31. kenneth wong March 7, 2010 at 9:35 am

    Have this to add as I celebrated my birthday there last night. While I love the ambience & there was no issue with the food. My main beef is how poorly trained the servers were. Wine glasses were not refilled promptly, we had to pour our own. We were given menus but then left to fend for ourselves since no one came back to check if we’d like to order. There’s more, after the appetizers were served, it seemed like we were forgotten & we had to remind our server twice to check on our mains. In a good restaurant, there would be a manager, maitre d’, captain in charge keeping an eye on things, directing staff, pitching in when needed – I don’t see it happening here. It’s been two years since the place opened so issues like this should have been resolved within months of opening. So even though the staff were polite, they seem to avoid making eye contact with their customers. Bit hard to justify paying for service when there was none & my party spent a large amount on Monday. Mixed feelings & I’d definitely think twice before returning. A major let down!!

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