The Rabbit Stash – Creating Beautiful Food with Sensational Flavours
From his beginnings as a travelling chef to semi-permanent digs nestled within Pandan Valley condominium, education counselor-turned-chef Matthew Mok finally has his own rabbit hole to call home, as he moved to a new spot on the rooftop of WANGZ Hotel at Tiong Bahru.
Born in the year of the rabbit (which explains his choice of restaurant name), Chef Matthew has always been fascinated with cooking since young. A master degree holder in building construction management, he eventually took a leap of faith and switched to a culinary career that saw him achieve respectable accolades.
With several respectable accolades under his belt, it is humbling to learn that Chef Matthew only switched to a culinary career after his university training in building construction. This Sunrise Global Chef Academy graduate might not have any training experience at Michelin-starred restaurant or with any celebrity chefs local or abroad. But it is his diverse travel and life experiences that make his menu both flavorfully and visually unique.
Evident in Chef Matthew’s creations is his artistic flair and presentation. Lesser known are his fine woodworking skills to craft pieces that adorn his dishes and intricate sketches of his dishes to form the
unique menus. We began with some snacks – Potato Chips on Wooden Truck with Yam Milk Jam, Lime Mayonnaise, Baby Potatoes with Blueberry, Lotus Chips etc.
A combination of classic French techniques along with a touch of Asian and Singaporean flavours, Chef Matthew creates seasonal menus inspired by the 7 characteristics of ‘ENSOPHI’: Exotic, Nostalgia, Soil, Ocean, Pristine, Heritage, Impression. This cooking philosophy was originally developed when he started in 2011 but only recently did he put it in words and poetic form for his guests to understand. Each element represents a poetic and artistic expression of his dish.
After warming up our palates with warm and non-creamy mushroom consommé, we start our 7 course degustation menu ($148+) with “Soil”. Using olive crumbs to best represent, he marries the earth flavours with asparagus, beurre noisette and beetroot “mushroom”.
The goodness of artisanal produce is best savoured at its purest form without alteration or addition to the intrinsic flavour. Chef Matthew keeps his dishes “Pristine” by sourcing fresh local organic ingredients daily. First born eggs are produced by young healthy hens during their first lay. Believed to be more delectable, its creamy translucence is accompanied with the crunch of brown rice, sweet langoustine and cabbage dashi.
Inspired from his diving experiences in the blue waters of Australia, the “Ocean” is one of the highlights during the lunch. Chef Matthew spruces his menus with oceanic greens and algae, from sea lettuce to stone moss. It was a beautiful plate of scallop, black ‘coral’, smoked trout, shrimp and chips. The shrimp with banana mash caught my attention and it gave a mild sweetness. If you are wondering how did he get the black coral, well he added charcoal into the fried egg white and vola! This is my favourite dish.
Another of my favourite item is the “Nostalgia” which is a combination of new and old to create beautiful flavours. Chef Matthew seeks to fulfil his customers’ fond food memories by reconnecting handmade noodles with thick and creamy lobster broth, purple crab and black roe.
Life is like a canvass imprinted with impressions of people, scenarios, places, animals, seasons, flora and fauna. Here, he definitely loves suckling pig as seen from the crispy skin done on the beautifully grilled berkshire pig. He calls this “everything a pig eats”. I am not sure if pigs do eat granny smith, potato “mud” and watermelon that’s infused with vodka. But it sure looks like a beautiful piece of art that I can’t bear to touch.
It is true that “Heritage” carries a familiar taste from our roots. Chef Matthew recreates food that he grew up eating or is cooked by his grandparents, mother and aunts. Brought up in a Peranakan family, he saw familiar ingredients done in a different way. A comforting bowl of barley porridge is served with beef jowl and sesame chips. Marinated for 48 hours with 8 spices, the beef jowl was so soft that it literally melted in the mouth.
Last but not least, the “Exotic” dish appeared. Chef Matthew attempts to create unique flavour pairings with simple and exotic ingredients from around the world. This makes his cooking more exciting; not knowing what could be the next revolutionary flavour. It may sound unthinkable but green curry ice cream goes astonishingly well with mango mascarpone. I was quite overwhelmed by the flavours on my first mouthful, but grew to like it as the sweetness from mango fromage blanc and snow wine pear tone it down a little.
To go with the dishes, you can pick wine which are sourced from little-known boutique vineyards from all over the world, such as Barossa Valley, Australia and Bordeaux, France to newer regions like Nahe, Germany and Colchagua Valley, Chile. Resident mixologist Aidil also shakes up house crafted cocktails and international favourites to kick-start your meal. Enjoy Happy Hour specials and live music from Thursday to Saturday evenings.
I enjoyed the intricate flavours and French technique presented in every dish. It felt like a magical journey like Alice in gourmet Wonderland. The outdoor rooftop terrace seats 26 but offers ample standing space for large-scale events in a lush alfresco garden setting. Chef Matthew has plans to set up a vertical garden around the steel façade. Sip some wine, savour the food and soak in the ambience. The Rabbit Stash offers a multi-sensory dining adventure with a feast for all senses.
The Rabbit Stash
Address: Rooftop of WANGZ Hotel, 231 Outram Road, Level R, Singapore 169040
Telephone: +65 9858 8607 / +65 6595 1380
Lunch hours: Tuesday to Friday – 12noon to 2pm (last order at 1:30pm)
Dinner hours: Monday to Saturday – 6:30pm to 10:30pm (last order at 10pm)
Rooftop bar hours: Monday to Saturday – 3pm to 12midnight
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