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
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.