Set in a 1930s chapel, surrounded by the lush greenery of Dempsey Hill, The White Rabbit has established itself as a classical institution for European cuisine. With almost a decade since its conception, the restaurant has become an icon for Singaporeans and tourists alike, with signature dishes that pay homage to well – loved traditional European fare.
In celebration of spring, Head Chef Benjamin Tan will be introducing a fresh new array of dishes as part of their set lunch menu.
New appetiser additions include the Grilled Octopus Leg, sustainably farmed octopus is sourced from Fremantle, sous vide for almost 3 hours and lightly grilled before being served wi th a tangy pimiento piquillo purée. The Sautéed Foie Gras is a classic example of Chef Benjamin Tan’s ability to reinterpret European dishes with a modern touch. Here, in place of the usual apple or cherry, the richness of the foie gras is balanced with citrus from a yuzu reduction and nashi pear pickled in yuzu syrup.
The perfect spring dish, the Slow – cooked Lamb Rump is a robust ragout of lamb stewed withvroasted vine tomatoes and braised Puy lentils for 5 hours. The Pan – seared Barramundi is inspired by the flavours of a classic Vichyssoise soup, sustainably – farmed Kuhlbarra Barramundi is pan – seared to a crisp and served with a rich potato and truffle terrine dressed with charred leek sauce.
The new additions also include the Roasted King Oyster Mushroom. Served atop a bed of saffron cream conchiglie pasta and sprinkled with shaved Pecorino Romano, the dish is truly an exemplary meatless indulgence.
Dishes are available as part of The White Rabbit’s weekday set lunch menu until July 2016.
Benjamin Tan is a local boy through and through. He began his culinary journey at the Singapore Hotel Association Training and Education Centre (SHATEC), graduating in 1996. While still in school, he undertook an apprenticeship with The Westin Stamford and its sister hotel The Westin Plaza as a trainee cook. He then fulfilled his National Service duties before taking his first Cook position at Au Jardin by Les Amis, a multiple award winning French fine dining restaurant in the Singapore Botanic Gardens.
At Au Jardin with Chef Galvin Lim as his mentor, Tan honed his craft in the art of modern French cuisine and began his love affair with European food. A highly respected chef, Lim was inducted into the Commanderie of Côtes de Bordeaux in 2008, one of the highest recognitions for chefs and sommeliers in France. Naming Lim his “food hero,” Tan recalls, “He was the one who instilled both kitchen discipline and a great passion of food in me. He trained me to be the chef I am today.”
After spending eight years at Au Jardin and rising up the ranks, Tan joined the opening team at The White Rabbit as Sous Chef in 2008. Reporting directly to Chef Daniel Sia, Tan was key in helping to shape the menu. Recognition and awards include I-S Magazine Readers’ Choice Awards “X-Factor Restaurant of The Year” (2008), Singapore Experience Awards “Best Dining Experience” (2009) and World Gourmet Summit Awards “Best New Restaurant” (2010).
With a desire to impart his knowledge and train the next generation of chefs in Singapore, Tan was drawn into the world of teaching in 2010. He joined the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College West for two years as a Lecturer. The experience was a rewarding one, during which he balanced shaping the school curriculum with running the in-house restaurant. As part of his training with the school, he was sent for a one, during which he balanced shaping the school curriculum with running the in-house restaurant. As part of his training with the school, he was sent for a one-month intensive training course at the Institut Paul Bocuse (Lyon, France).
In 2012, Tan returned to The White Rabbit as Head Chef with over 15 years of culinary experience. He enhances classic European cuisine with modern techniques and premium ingredients. These combine to add complexity and unexpected new depths to well-loved dishes. Tan carefully crafts his dishes to be impeccable balances of flavour and texture, paying particular attention to flavour profiles and composition. While no longer a lecturer at ITE, he nevertheless maintains his passion for teaching and mentorship. He is a proponent of the new world approach to running a kitchen, creating platforms for his young team to not only push their abilities to execute but also create dishes of their own. The very best of these dishes are included on the menu alongside Tan’s own creations, increasing the team’s ownership of The White Rabbit’s culinary direction. Through these opportunities, he has achieved a unique synergy with them and developed a self-motivated team that constantly strives for new personal bests.
Aside from the fast-paced life in the kitchen, Tan enjoys photography in his spare time. While he has a penchant for shooting landscapes and people, he has recently taken up food photography as well. When asked what is his favourite dish to whip up at home, the chef candidly claims that he does not cook at home. Tan says, “Only my wife does the cooking at home. I love everything she cooks, especially her Sayur Assam.”
Well said, Chef.