FOOD & BEVERAGE | Krisana Gallezo-Estaura, Singapore

Check out a new Modern Australian fine dining restaurant with Asian touch at CHIJMES

Ingredients are all native to Australia.

Whitegrass is a Modern Australian fine dining restaurant which just opened its doors on January 27. The restaurant located in CHIJMES is a brainchild of Chef Sam Aisbett, who has spent years working under some of the world’s most respected and talented chefs. He spent three years at Tetsuya’s under Tetsuya Wakuda, where he was a Senior Sous Chef, as well as five-and-a-half years at Peter Gilmore’s three hatted Sydney restaurant, Quay. He was the Head Chef at Quay.

Together with Malaysian couple Dato Sean H’ng and Datin Karen H’ng, who own Macalister Mansion in Penang, they opened Whitegrass, which is aimed at offering a renewed style of Modern Australian cuisine with a flavour-driven approach to international ingredients and a ‘distinctly’ Asian touch. The restaurant, he adds, is a reflection of his personality and pursuit of perfection to create an alternative and dynamic dining experience.

“There is a new generation of Australian chefs who are crossing the boundaries of Modern Australian cuisine. This is what I am doing, with a combination of native Australian ingredients, Japanese influences and my fascination of local produce,” he said.

According to Sam, he uses fundamental culinary techniques, where everything from pickling to fermentation is done in-house, that reflect his back-to-basics culinary approach. It is not as easy as it seems though. Sam said that one of the biggest hurdles in Singapore was importing native Australian ingredients that are not readily available and some of which have never been seen in Singapore. This meant that he had to get his own import license in order to get ingredients such as muntries, or emu apples, and paper bark, all native to Australia.

As for the interior design, Sam wanted the restaurant to meld top-notch fine dining dishes with a relaxed and inviting atmosphere. As such, the restaurant’s three adjoining dining rooms are designed to reflect the warmth of a home with its sofas, large carpets and dining chairs. Many elements are also customised, from the whimsical mural by local artist MessyMsxi that illustrates his inner thoughts to the plates, which were custom-designed by Studio Asobi and Gaya Ceramics.

The restaurant is currently open for dinner, but Sam is considering to open it for lunch in the future. He also plans to change the menus seasonally to reflect the Australian seasons. The outdoor bar is also a place where diners can come for a casual drink or enjoy pre-dinner drinks before a meal.

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Check out a new Modern Australian fine dining restaurant with Asian touch at CHIJMES

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