Much has been said about White Rabbit, the bright, pretty restaurant in Harding Road named after the quirky punctuality-challenged rabbit in Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland”.
I went there with high expectations, expecting the unexpected – after all, any restaurant which conjures up visions of Carroll’s fantastical imagination has to be exciting & different, no? Alas, I was just a little bit disappointed. The food was good, but not anything which one cannot conjure up at home oneself – with the exception of the White Rabbit Blackforest Cake – a deconstructed dessert which looked anything but a cake: a cylindrical chocolate mousse/parfait resting on a bed of delicious choc cookie crumbs, served with whipped choc & vanilla creme & brandied cherries. THAT was what one expected in a place like the White Rabbit. Its brandied cherries are the best in Singapore!
Here’s the current set lunch menu (2 course for S$30+++):
- Soup of the Day
- Roast vegetable salad (eggplant, zucchini, peppers topped with arugula & light anchovy dressing
- Salad of Salmon Confit (slow-cooked salmon with baby salad leaves, new potatoes & a honey-mustard dressing)
- Summer salad (watermelon served with cherry tomato confit & Parma ham)
- Poached Egg & Asparagus (slow-cooked egg served with steamed asparagus & orange Maltaise sauce)
- Verjuice Pot-Roasted Chicken (served with mash & baby carrots)
- US Choice Ribeye (pan-roasted & served with escargot butter & a celeriac puree)
- Pan-Roasted Mullet (served off the bone with braised fennel & tomato-herb fondue)
- Fish and Chips (served with aioli)
- Braised Lamb Shank (hearty stew with tomato saffron jus & arugula)
- Herb Risotto (served with grilled King Oyster mushrooms)
In the a la carte menu, the much-talked-about White Rabbit Mac and Cheese (S$28) was quite bland, and so was the Slightly Spiced Prawn Bisque topped with aromatic coconut-and-laksa-leaf soufflé(S$16). Two other soup choices were the Mushroom Cappucinno (S$14) and Chicken Consomme with foie gras tortellini (S$15).
Oysters, served either au naturel, au gratin or Rockefeller were fresh (S$8 a piece/minimum order of two pieces). So were most of the fresh salads offered on the menu: Smoked Chicken Waldorf (S$15), Warm Spinach with poached egg & bacon (S$17), Salad Printemps which consisted of fresh Mesclun with mangoes, asparagus & black truffle (S$18), the Duck Confit Salad with crisp green apple, mesclun & hazelnut dressing (S$19) and the Dressed Crab with tomatoes & avocado (S$24). All were very tasty - one can’t go wrong here.
Mains were quite traditional & a bit ho-hum:
Chicken a la King served with pasta (S$28); Sole Meuniere with baby potatoes & arugula (S$29); Poached Salmon with cauliflower couscous (S$29); Braised Sea Bass (S$32); Oxtail Stew (S$34); Roast Yorkshire Pork served with braised cabbage & Pommery sauce (S$36); Roast Rack of Lamb served with Gratin Dauphinois (S$38); Grilled 150-day-old Ribeye served with veggies/fries & choice of Black Pepper, Bordelaise or Bernaise sauce (S$39); Tournedos Rossini (S$45); Live Maine Lobster Thermidor (S$58); and lastly Cote de Boeuf (serves 2, S$168). The steak comes with a choice of two sides.
Dessert choices continued along the traditional line of offering: Banana Split served with 3-flavors of ice cream a la Neapolitan (S$12); Crème Caramel (S$12); Strawberries Romanoff (S$14), Mars Bar Souffle (S$16) which was disappointingly boring; Baked Alaska (S$16) which was awful – more like a stale meringue than the traditional sweet we all so loved; and a Cheese selection (S$18). Not forgetting, of course, the Blackforest “cake”.
I just wished the staff uniforms could have been more unique – say, updated tunics of monks’ robes (in keeping with the chapel-like décor) or else charming English outfits which echoed Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland.