Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Rabbit Stash : Secret Fine-Dining Place of a Genius Chef

It's mischievous. It's quirky. It's gentle. It's unpredictable.
Just like an unrestrained rabbit, that took a leap of faith and jump out from its hutch to see the world. 
I experienced a mental block again after an unforgettable evening of gastronomic feast whipped up by Chef Matthew at his new hideout called the Rabbit Stash, a fine-dining restaurant bar situated right at the rooftop of Wangz hotel. The first thing that struck me at first was the rabbit candies that many of us used to eat during our childhood years. But what impressed me even more was the originality of his cuisine--a marriage of French techniques and Asian-Singaporean flavours, infused with his passion for food and the aesthetics. 
SNACKS || Potato Chips on Wooden Truck carved by Chef Matthew, Yam Milk Jam, Lime Mayonnaise, Baby Potatoes with Blueberry, Lotus Chips
With several respectable accolades under his belt, it is humbling to learn that Chef Matthew only switched to a culinary career after his university training in building construction. This Sunrise Global Chef Academy graduate might not have any training experience at Michelin-starred restaurant or with any celebrity chefs local or abroad. But it is his diverse travel and life experiences that make his menu both flavorfully and visually unique. 
OCEAN || Smoked Trout with Trout Caviar, Banana mash Fried Prawn, Hokkaido Scallops on Anchovies Sauce, Sea Lettuce, Herring Caviar, Squid Ink Sponge (made from scratch) 

The menu here is guided by the 7 letters of "ENSOPHI”: Exotic, Nostalgia, Soil, Ocean, Pristine, Heritage, Impression--a philosophy originally developed by Chef Matthew when he started Rabbit Stash in an old shop house unit back in 2011. Guests can choose 2 or 3-course lunch starting from $36++ or the 4-/ 5- and 7-course dinner from $90++.

To experience the power of ENSOPHI, go for the 7-course dinner menu that allows you to appreciate the wonders of the nature blessed upon us. After warming up our palates with warm and non-creamy mushroom consommé, we began with the first course named SOIL (see top pic), a stark resemblance of a beautiful garden with asparagus pudding, basil sorbet, beetroot meringue and olive crumbles. 
PRISTINE || First Born Egg, Crispy Brown Rice, Langostine (SO Sweet and Fresh), Cabbage Dashi
This is followed by unusual concoctions such as the first born hen egg with cabbage dashi and the sweetest crustacean I have ever tasted; a weird but robustly flavoured squid ink sponge and fried prawn on banana mash that Goreng pisang in OCEAN. Inspired from his diving experiences in the blue waters of Australia, this is one of the highlights that night.
IMPRESSION || Beetroot potato mash, Granny Smith Apple Sauce,  Watermelon with vodka,Compressed then braised Berkshire Pork, Pork lard 
HERITAGE || Shoyu sauce infused with Red Dates and Port Wine, Barley porridge with Capsicum and Pumpkin, 48-hours Braised Beef
Every dish looks as if they should sit in an art gallery--immaculately presented with vibrant splashes of fruit sauces and colorful vegetables. Granny Smith Apple Sauce and Beetroot Puree to go with Berkshire Pork? Or how about a umami-bursting shoyu sauce that is blended with red dates and port wine to go with the 48-hours braised beef jowls? Most importantly, the sweet influence is so evident in every course. This comes as a pleasant surprise to experience the delicate and savory flavors of the mains.
NOSTALGIC || Lobster Bisque, Purple Crab, Handmade Noodles , Black Roe
EXOTIQUE || Mango Fromage Blanc, Green Curry Gelato, Snow Wine Pear, Rose Jelly 
And last but not least, the EXOTIQUE dessert. The most exotic element of this dish? The Green Curry Gelato. Yes, the pungent green curry on top of the Mango Fromage Blanc spiked generously with rum-soaked raisins qualified this as a true adult dessert that would chase away all kids so that one can indulge this at peace. How about some chocolate tree twigs or durian lava truffles as the after-meal nibbles? 
Every course comes with snacks, amuse Bouche and petit fours hence if you do some simple calculation, you are enjoying more than just the multi-course meal. But Chef Matthew does not simply let things rest on his cuisine. From the food (including the al dente Chinese style noodles and the awesome cheese focaccia bread) to the decor and the wines, EVERYTHING is done by Chef Matthew himself. He carves even the wooden trunk for the appetizer. The top-notch service and ambience here also deserved to be mention. 

As Lewis Carroll once said, "I almost wish I hadn't gone down that rabbit hole--and yet--and yet--it's rather curious, you know, this sort of life!" I almost wish I hadn't gone to the Rabbit Stash--now that I've gone, it's no turning back!

The Rabbit Stash @ WANGZ Hotel
231 Outram Road, Level R, Singapore 169040
Lunch: Tues-Fri- 12noon to 2pm
Dinner: Mon-Sat - 6.30pm to 10.30pm
Rooftop Bar Mon-Sat- 3pm to 12midnight
Closed on Sundays
Tel +65-9858 8607 / +65-6595 1380

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