while fine dining usually has connotations far removed from a happening buzz, fun atmosphere and culinary adventure, the newly opened whitegrass has arrived onto singapore's thriving hospitality scene to prove the city's refined palates otherwise. occupying a spacious ground floor unit at chijmes, a historic landmark complex which was originally built as a catholic convent in the mid-1800s, the venue is a collab effort of acclaimed australian chef sam aisbett and his business partners sean and karen h'ng, a malaysian power couple best known for setting up the design-infused macalister mansion in penang three years ago. whitegrass offers three separate dining sections, each with a vibe of its own and seating a total of 70 guests. the outdoor bar is able to host an additional 24 people, and also allows for al fresco dining.
local architecture practice takenouchi webb was enlisted to design the settings, and they've come up with a concept that offers a softened and a tad frivolous kind of formality that's subtly infused with soft pastels. the detailing of each room is elaborate, but is coherently framed by sandblasted parquet flooring and a ceiling that resembles an ornate wedding cake. the wooden furnishings are mid-century inspired, but have been given a contemporary twist. the restaurant's lighthearted vibe is further boosted by the wall art created by singapore-based artist zi xi a.k.a. messymsxi. chef aisbett, at 32 already a fast-rising star, has honed his skills at renowned establishments down under, and with this new venture he once again aims for the stars with sophisticated australian fare. open for dinner only, whitegrass offers five-course and eight-course tasting menus, featuring unexpected parings of ingredients flown in from australia and local produce. location: chijmes, 30 victoria street, unit 01-26/27 [city hall].