I don’t rush to visit new restaurants these days. Many a time, I have been disappointed, paid way too much for far too little, not just in size but in finesse and flair.
But hearing that Blackwattle had opened made me want to head over sooner rather than later, considering that I had a fine experience when I dined at chef Clayton Well’s Sydney 2-hatted restaurant, Automata last year.
Brought in by Singapore’s eminent hotelier/restaurateur, Loh Lik Peng’s Unlisted Collection group, Blackwattle is what one might consider typically “mod-Oz”, experimenting with unique, local ingredients and playing with cuisines from all around the world.
These days, I’m learning to appreciate food in a different manner. There are so many new restaurants experimenting with ingredients as though there were no limits, it doesn’t surprise me anymore.
Jaded as I might sound, once in a while, I taste something new and unique and I look forward to experiences like that.
Like being served sour cherries with fermented cherry juice and black garlic and capers. Very strange start but in a good way. Something to wake your taste buds up and tell you to be prepared for other unique pairings through the night.
Like a pairing of stringy cheese and shellfish. Considered a no-no in Italian cuisine, the result at Blackwattle was surprisingly good.
Stringy straciatella with fresh and dehydrated sweet tomato and the shellfish-infused oil, redolent of fresh shrimp worked like magic with the teeny mussels.
The fish course saw a line-caught French turbot featuring a puree of fermented pumpkin – that sourish fermented taste added a unique twist to the firm white fish. I think I might have preferred my turbot to be sliced thicker though, not to say that the way it was presented was bad – just my personal preference.
And for some strange reason, I forgot to take a picture of the fish course – perhaps it was all the Burgundy I was drinking! On that note – wines by the glass are pricey at around $24 so if you’re planning to have a couple of glasses to go with your degustation, you might want to spring for the $50 corkage and BYO especially if you’ve got a really good wine like a 2013 Geantet-Pansiot Gevrey-Chambertin that can match well with all the courses served.
In between all this, bread is served with whipped butter, infused with chicken jus and anchovies. The bread is not the star here, it’s the savoury and salty whipped butter – Blackwattle might want to bottle it up and sell this!
Unlike other places where they stinge on the bread course, at Blackwattle, they repeatedly asked through the night if we wanted more bread. In fact, the chef remarked that they account for about 12 pieces per person, I was happy with just a quarter of that, thank you very much.
I was in luck. The meat course of the degustation menu was the beef tri-tip with celeriac puree, malt pickled onion and kampot pepper. Tri-tip is a fairly lean cut, best served with generous seasoning and sauce due to its underwhelming “beefy” flavour. Here the malt pickled onion and dollop of celeriac puree did the trick. And the beef was tender with some bite, just the way I like it.
Rounding off the night, we had a coconut sorbet with slivers of red apple. I liked the use of spicy ginger flower that added a good kick to the coconut.
If you’re not up for the $115, 5-course degustation menu, ala carte options are available, though I think if you’re going to go all out for dinner, it’s a lot more value if you get the degustation. Otherwise, try lunch at $48 for 3 courses, including snacks.
I do wish Blackwattle would feature more indigenous Australian ingredients that we cannot find easily in restaurants in Singapore, like the ice plant that they served with the turbot. That said, if they continue to experiment and engage the way they do now, I think we might just have found our new favourite “mod-Oz” restaurant.
Address: 97 Amoy Street, Singapore 069917
Contact: +65 622 422 32 ort email@example.com
Lunch: Monday – Friday, 12pm – 3pm
Dinner: Monday – Saturday, 6pm – 11pm