A visit to The White Rabbit’s website should give you a sense of the feel good factor of the restaurant even before you step inside. With its interactive references to Lewis Carroll’s clel good factor even before you step inside. With its interactive references to Lewis Carroll’s classic assic surrealist tale, someone had a lot of fun designing the website. The theme is playfully followed through in the menus and placemats used in the converted British Army chapel in the Dempsey area of Singapore, as well as in the two modernist stained glass windows, each featuring a large crown at either end of the high ceilinged building. Even the design of the name card takes the form of a playing card.
After being warmly welcomed, we were directed to a circular table against the wall of the restaurant with a semi circular sofa on one side and two occasional chairs on the other. From here we had both a very comfortable seat and an ideal view of the busy restaurant. Our waitress Anna had clearly taken note from our booking that one of us needed to eat gluten free and was discretely non-judgmental throughout. As it turned out there was very little on the menu that I could safely eat (we were told that even the plain yoghurt served with tropical fruit and acacia honey contained gluten), but I preferred being warned and appreciated that she took the time to check with the kitchen.
I chose a salad nicoise as I was looking for something fairly light. The menu suggested it would comprise tuna, haricots vert, soft boiled egg, new potatoes and anchovy. It did include each of these but in very small quantities, the egg for instance was half a hen’s egg, and the new potatoes were so minute I thought at first they were olives. I must admit I didn’t find the haricots vert (were the three or four slivers of red pepper in place of them?).
There was a reasonable amount of frisee lettuce although it was such a shame they hadn’t taken time to pick through the inevitable ‘rejects’ that come in bagged lettuce leaves; the tough stems that you would automatically eject if preparing something similar at home. Although overall the salad nicoise was fine, the gluten laden eggs benedict with parma ham my partner ate was definitely something he would go back for.
As far as g-f alternatives are concerned, the other option would have been Dover Sole Meuniere with Pickled Potatoes and Arugula Salad . Disappointingly there was no dessert on the brunch menu that I could eat, and that included ice-cream, even though we were told it was made from scratch by the kitchen.
We sampled two juices, the China Pear, Mango, Carrot and Green Apple and the Green Pear, Strawberry and Lemon both of which were very successful concoctions. Also appreciated was the discrete way our rather bitter Papa Palheta double expressos arrived: one with and one without a tiny round cookie.
Whilst the brunch menu could do with a few tweaks to add a bit more choice for the gluten challenged amongst us, the restaurant was exemplary in the way it’s staff dealt with a gluten intolerant guest. Despite the limited menu it also felt like a fun experience.
We retuned some weeks later for dinner, this time trying the sea bas en papillote, served in its own le creuset pot. Whilst it didn’t photograph very well, perhaps as it was cooked in a plastic bag rather than in the traditional greaseproof paper, it was very good indeed. Fresh fish cooked in an uncomplicated way, perfect for those of us avoiding gluten.
In deference to the fact there was one choice of dessert on the menu, I ordered the white chocolate souffle. I have to say, although it looked attractive – again served in its own pot – it was way too sweet for my tastes. That said, it might be worth sharing if you feel in need of a sugar rush at the end of a meal.
The White Rabbit, 39C Harding Road, Singapore 249541 -Tel: 6473 9965 -www.thewhiterabbit.com.sg