The Rabbit Stash
Tiong Bahru – I’ve been fond of her old-fashioned charm for a while now, the eclectic mix of residential air and hip establishments. She’s full of little surprises, like a new cafe or bookstore around the corner, or an appearance of the elusive satay man.
The newly relocated Rabbit Stash sits on the circular rooftop of Wangz Hotel, accommodating both an alfresco bar and a fine dining restaurant. The bar, pathed with grass flooring, overlooks one of Singapore’s oldest neighbourhoods.
Indoors, furnishing is minimalist with simple garden décor, like small rabbit sculptures that Chef Matthew Mok has collected from overseas trips. In contrast with most posh and pristine fine-dining settings, it’s easy to feel cosy here, like you’re dining in the home garden of a friendly neighbour. Cliched, but never been more apt.
It is Chef Matthew’s speciality to deliver local character in atas contexts. This man has even represented Singapore with his version of Milo Dinosaur in Copenhagen! Tapping on his life and travel encounters, he prepares European cuisine with unique Asian twists to express the elements of ENSOPHI: Exotic, Nostalgia, Soil, Ocean, Pristine, Heritage and Impression.
The Rabbit Stash serves 2 and 3-course lunch as well as 7,5 and 4-course dinner. We had the privilege of sampling some of his creations.
Apart from cooking, Chef Matthew is skilled in woodwork and carpentry, an artistic flair he brought to the starter snack, an exquisite creation specially prepared for us. We were told to have the mini “pancakes” with its dip, and the garlic brioche with the jam. The pairing of crisps and its savory toppings was a real palate opener. This item isn’t on the menu, but it offered an insight into Chef Matthew’s artistic insight and style.
Soil presents a peculiar medley of earthly flavours in a variety of textures, with its limelight on the asparagus pudding and beetroot sorbet. How peculiar is it that boring root vegetables can be made into “dessert”?! The combination was a great appetizer that left a refreshing aftertaste. If you hate veggies, this might change your mind.
Pristine is constructed out of the purest ingredients: bacon bits, brown rice, truffle oil, langoustine and a firstborn egg. The langoustine was luscious and juicy alongside the creamy soft-boiled egg. I loved how simple this was; fresh organic produced served on a wholesome platter, unseasoned and free from complex and fanciful flavours.
Ocean consists of smoked trout with caviar, black “coral”, a grilled scallop, and even sea lettuce. But most noteworthy of all was the mashed banana-based shrimp. Even after being fried to a perfect crisp, the shrimp remained plump and juicy, while the banana balanced the savory with a tinge of sweetness. I approve of this happy marriage between shrimp and goreng pisang.
With Nostalgia, Chef Matthew spun his own rendition of lobster bisque with something we’re familiar with – handmade noodles! Rich and savory, the broth bore an interesting consistency that’s more mushy than soupy. The noodles added a springy texture to the creamy bisque, topped with pieces of fresh purple crab for a delectable mouthful.
Inspired by the world’s colourful diversities, Impression is made up of Berkshire pork, crispy pig skin, watermelon with vodka, apple sauce and potato mud infused with beetroot. How often do you see pink mashed potatoes, or pig skin being displaced from bak chor mee?! While I enjoyed the hints of apple and beetroot in the potato mud, the main lead paled in comparison. The pork was a little lacklustre, and could have been more juicy and well seasoned.
Heritage is inspired by family cooking and familiar ingredients, and what first struck me as Risotto turned out to be something ordinary. The “rice grains” are actually barley seeds! The beef jowl was tender and well braised, and the pumpkin puree gave the barley porridge natural sweetness and soft texture against its chewy consistency. This brought back memories of the pumpkin congee my grandma used to make.
“Not sure if this is vanilla or green tea but whatever”, was what I thought as I naively went for the ice cream first. The next instant, the pungent spiciness of Thai green curry kicked in with full force. “Omg try the ice cream now,” I hurried my colleague, and then realized I shouldn’t have warned him.
The rum-soaked raisins of the mango fromage blanc added a bittersweet taste, complemented by the crunchy snow wine pears. The green curry’s aftertaste was a little strong at first, but later nicely subdued with the rest of the dessert.
The 7-course meal at The Rabbit Stash was a gastronomic experiment. It was a novel experience tucking into one photogenic display after another, sampling styles and combinations spun off from everyday, modest ingredients. While we found the second half of the menu to be more mediocre than the first, it was well executed on the whole.
I had always associated fine-dining with foie gras served on a shiny platter, and with restaurants so exceedingly posh it’s sometimes uncomfortable. But with its homely ambience and food that carried very personal touches, my afternoon at The Rabbit Stash couldn’t have been more different from my expectations.
Getting To The Rabbit Stash
Address: 31 Outram Road, Level R, Wangz Hotel, S(169040)
Telephone: 9858 8607
- Lunch: Tues – Fri, 12 noon to 2pm
- Dinner: Mon – Sat, 6.30pm to 10.30pm
- Rooftop Bar: Mon – Sat, 3pm to 12 midnight
- Lunch: 2-course at $36+, 3-course at $54+
- Dinner: 7-course at $148+, 5-course at $108+, 4-course at $90+
This post was brought to you by The Rabbit Stash.