[dropcap size=small]M[/dropcap]odern Australian restaurant Whitegrass, which was awarded a Michelin star in 2017 and ranked number 50 by Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2018, has come a long way. Chef-owner Sam Aisbett, who used to work with Sydney’s esteemed Peter Gilmore (Quay) and Tetsuya Wakuda (Tetsuya’s), has impressed diners with his knack for bringing the most unlikely ingredients (Western and Asian) and textures together with flair. And there is no slowing him down.
Aisbett’s dishes are ever-evolving and do not stay on the menu for too long. For instance, the crowd favourite of pickled white vereduna beetroot with thinly-sliced hamachi fish, shaped like a rose, has been taken off the menu. Some familiar dishes, which we grew quite fond of, are still available on the eight-course discovery menu. They include the meaty yet delicate red braised Challans duck with eggplant cream, kanten noodles, water chestnuts and Chinese jelly mushrooms as well as the amazing dessert of shredded milk with honey. This creation features thin layers of dried milk finely shredded
by hand, and placed gingerly atop Hokkaido milk jelly, milk ice cream and floral honey from Thailand.
New dishes that are charming include the refreshing starter of Japanese pen shell clam with white dashi jelly, which presents clean and naturally-sweet flavours. The Hokkaido snow crab with egg drop soup and a crab dumpling gilded in gold foil, is as delicious as it is beautiful to look at.
It is a busy evening for the restaurant – the service staff are shuttling about from dining room to dining room, and the kitchen is in high gear endeavouring to keep up – so there are lulls in between courses. Otherwise, it is a lovely evening, made better by the latest dessert (Aisbett serves two desserts for this particular menu): an addictively crunchy creation that combines single origin Peruvian chocolate with wood-roasted coffee, Pedro Ximenez prunes, painstakingly hand-shaven macadamia nuts and frozen chocolate. Now, if only this dish could linger around for just a while longer.