The turning of a new decade brought about some serious concerns - drastic memory and hair loss. I can live with the latter but to have my brains deteriorating into a ROM is unacceptable. Whatever it takes, I'm determined to keep what's left of my brains for as long as I can. That includes consuming the mythically beneficial (and delicious) pig brains soup every day, if I have to.
This frightening revelation took place on the eve of my birthday, as we made our way to Dempsey for my surprise dinner. In the taxi, I took a glance at the map on XLB's (then) E71 and saw a marking on Harding Road. My mind raced to remember the names of restaurants in that area but, alas, the only one I recalled was PS Cafe, which I wasn't expecting to be the venue of the becoming of my age of forgetfulness celebration. Not that PS is bad in anyway, of course. I'm a fan of the cafe but if XLB had decided on PS, we could have easily walked over to the Paragon branch from Ion Orchard instead of having to pay for fuel charges and constantly provide directions to the inexperienced driver. So, where were we heading then??? The further we were driven, the more infuriated I became, for not another relevant name had crossed my mind. And since it was a surprise, I was not allowed to ask.
The taxi halted (intentionally, I suppose) somewhere between The White Rabbit and Au Petit Salut. Dempsey, Harding Road, dinner. Argh, the signs were so clear and yet, I wasn't able to remember any of these two prominent restaurants!
I relaxed at last, and surrendered to the fact that I should feel blessed to be having dinner in either of the two reputable restaurants that XLB had chosen. Now, this was a pleasant surprise, for I've been wanting to try both TWR and APS for the longest time although I must admit that I was somehow influenced by the prolific online reviews. A few silly exchanges later, we stepped into The White Rabbit.
Just the thought of dining in the restored chapel with an interior of rustic, pixilated charm was fascinating. The Europhilic menu matched the ambiance well. I was granted the degustation menu and enjoyed the executions more than the mucho gastro vocabulary that came with every dish. The lacing of the tangy Roquefort between the sweet fig and salty parma ham started the night well. That was right after a serving of warm onion bread and plain focaccia, which were both delightful. We had to have seconds after that bite of crispy crust and soft, aromatic filling. Albeit the familiarity of ingredients used, the wagyu tenderloin almost had me singing myself a birthday song. It was the perigoudine sauce, in combining the mild acidity of the wine, savouriness of stock and an invigorating scent of truffles, that made the ensemble a truly enjoyable main. XLB's mostly oriental brochette of roasted sea scallops and roasted pork belly was good too, especially when the belly was served with a melting soft texture.
I just realized that I did manage to recollect most of the details of the dinner that took place about 2 months ago! Perhaps memory is selective; that as we age, we tend to remember only the good things and learn to forget the frivolities in life. Like names of restaurants. And hair loss. So, thanks for the memorable dinner, XLB. Hope you are having a good time in Manila. Better luck with the lechon tonight, I hope.
The Degustation Menu (of the night)
Parma ham wrapped fresh figs, Roquefort parfait
Freshly shucked oyster served with crepinette of spicy lamb sausage meat
Warm smoked confit of salmon, artichoke puree, marinated ikura
Chargrilled wagyu tenderloin, pan fried foie gras, quail egg sunny side up, roasted asparagus and perigoudine sauce
Brochette of roasted sea scallops and pork belly served with wakame salad and a sesame soy dressing
The White Rabbit (check out their fun website)
39C, Harding Road
Tel: (+65) 6473 9965