We had lunch at the Whitegrass restaurant at CHIJMES recently. According to their website, Whitegrass is chef-owner Sam Aisbett’s first restaurant venture where he intends to offer an exceptional fine dining experience, showcasing his interpretation of modern Australian cuisine.
Restaurants located in Chijmes Singapore have a head-start in life. The architecture and layout of this former convent location makes it a beautiful oasis of calm in the middle of downtown Singapore. Whitegrass restaurant is located in an attractive building next to the Gothic styled chapel that now houses the CHIJMES Hall. Anyone going for a lunch or dinner date at Whitegrass here would be put in a good mood just by the pleasant stroll through the courtyard to get to the restaurant.
The first section of Whitegrass is the Whitegrass Bar that occupies a patio area which is casual and non-airconditioned.
Walk through the Bar and we enter the restaurant proper. There are three sections. A long dark section, a long bright section and a circular room. Here are pictures of the long bright section which has the most elegant look.
This doorway leads from the long dark room into the circular room. The circular room has the most cosy look. We were happy that we were seated in there. The tables are lined up along the wall of the room. Some of the seats are circular sofas, shaped to fit with the curved wall. The restaurant is not opulent or luxurious, but tastefully furnished. We especially liked the patterned fabric of the sofas and the light fixtures. We did not like the cold hardness of the bare marble-topped tables. But overall, the unique architecture of the space was put to good use.
Whitegrass restaurant only serves fixed course meals i.e. no ala carte options. For lunch there were essentially three options – a full five course lunch at $135 or select a two ($48) or three-course ($64) combination from the options listed. We decided to have the three-course lunch. Here is a picture of the Whitegrass lunch menu on that day.
Service at the Whitegrass restaurant was friendly and attentive. The wine list at Whitegrass was comprehensive with a a good range for most budgets. We like the adequate list of wines by the glass or carafe (375 ml) options. We decided on a carafe of 2011 Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine, Brégeron, Loire Valley, France ($55).
Our lunch started with this colourful amuse bouche – a delightful mix of flavours and textures.
For starters we had the raw Hokkaido scallops and the Bouchot mussels.The Hokkaido scallops were chopped up and served with a mix of cream, trout roe, pomelo and other things. The edible flowers were used to good effect in this dish. The overall taste was very complex and creamy. The scallops had a fresh sea taste and a chewy texture.
The mussels were served in a shallow ring of radish. The mussels were small and sweet. The light oxtail consommé was a good complement to the taste of mussels.
For main courses, we had the red seabream and braised beef short rib. The sea bream was prepared with a long list of accompanying ingredients that you can see on the menu. The “sago porridge” sounded dubious but the taste of everything was all well blended together to create a very harmonious dish. Those little yellow flowers make another appearance to perk up the appearance of the dish.
The beef short rib was a more predictable dish. The cube of braised beef cooked till very soft. The dark gravy and onions are perfect with the beef. A well executed classic dish, but with no element of surprise.
Time for desserts. The chocolate mousse was prepared with a brownie-like structure and encrusted with an assortment of chopped nuts and preserved fruits. This was a beautifully made dessert which tasted good whether eaten with or without the fruit curd.
The berries with jelly and almond milk ice cream was a more regular tasting dessert. The bottom layer was a base of fruity jelly, topped with a mix of berries and a blob of almond ice cream. Not bad but the chocolate mousse was more interesting and distinctive.
Overall, a reasonably priced lunch in the beautiful grounds of CHIJMES.
Overall Rating: 4 TOPs
30 Victoria Street #01-26/27 CHIJMES
Tel: +65 6837 0402
Tuesday – Saturday Dinner
6.00 PM – 9.30 PM ( Last Order)
Bar: 5.30 PM – 11.45 PM (Last Order)
Wednesday – Saturday Lunch
12.00pm – 2.00pm
Closed on Mondays and Sundays
Nearby MRT Stations : City Hall, Bras Basah