Whitegrass sits in a beautiful space, within the walls of newly made over CHIJMES, elaborate with commissioned works that extend from a whimsical wall art (by local artist MessyMsxi) to the tiny ornaments on the table where even the bowls used to hold butter and salt resemble walnuts. Said to represent the omnipresence of nature, where nature is free of geographical limitations, Whitegrass offers modern Australian food with a distinctly Asian touch of international ingredients. Raw accents of fresh foliage and flowers surface in all three dining rooms, throughout the restaurant, like another declaration of chef-owner Sam Aisbett’s fervent love for nature. Having worked under Tetsuya Wakuda at Tetsuya’s and Peter Gilmore at Quay, chef Aisbett has a profound grasp of ingredients and creates with them beautiful combinations of flavours. His move to culturally-diverse Singapore has given him a freedom to experiment, bringing in ingredients, native to Australia, that are rarely seen here, and availing himself to the expansive variety of Asian produce. We see this in his showcase of the tiny tart Australian emu apple (or muntries) in his dish of lightly marinated Hokkaido scallops, laced with ribbons
Xof pickled melon, served with caviar, fennel jam, pistachio silvers and a dollop of fresh cultured cream. As well as, the course of young coconut mousse with jackfruit ice cream and ginger cake – a refreshingly light dessert made with tropical fruits and Asian spices.
Whitegrass offers five- or eight-course tasting menus at dinner, for S$170 and S$265 respectively, where every element of a dish is made in-house. With an undeniable heavy influence of Japanese cooking and a new fascination with local produce, chef Aisbett’s dishes seem to always present itself in multiple layers. The butter poached quail breast is literally buried under crisp sheets of roasted milk, and embezzled with toasted pine nuts and sunflower seeds, the gooey whites of the century egg, caramelised pungent black and white garlic, and endive heart. All of which combine to form textures and flavours that your taste buds will thank you for. Japanese influences in chef Aisbett’s cooking manifests in his dish of slow-cooked Mangalica pork – a creamy umami-packed bowl of pork jowl (that has been brined in a salted chicken broth) and diced Jade Tiger abalone, with silvers of fermented cabbage, spongy hasu-imo, and spirals of fiddlehead fern swimming in a pork and seaweed broth.
Your meal isn’t quite complete without a glass of wine or two. Restaurant manager and head sommelier Céline Chatte, who previously worked with Aisbett at Quay, will recommend from a list spanning from Australian varietals to French classics. #01-26/27, CHIJMES, 30 Victoria Street. Tel: 65/6837-0402 www.whitegrass.com.sg