On the way up Dempsey Hill, you’ll pass a white stone chapel that once belonged to the British Army based in this area. Restored and turned into the Alice in Wonderland inspired White Rabbit restaurant serving European classics, this romantic spot is perfect for dinner for two or for a casual brunch at weekends. Finding the restaurant is easy, it’s only a few minutes’ walk up Harding Road from the Botanic Gardens, or 15 minutes by taxi from central Singapore. It gets busy at its Sunday brunches, so book ahead if you can (although the folks here are so friendly they will try to squeeze you in).
If you didn’t know it was a restaurant, you’ll be forgiven for believing that this building is still a place of worship. The exterior has been refurbished in keeping with the chapel’s history, with plain white walls and simple wooden doors. At each end of what is now the dining room, beautiful modern stained-glass decorates the two large windows and when the sun streams through the colourful light adds a warm glow. There are cosy booths and tables for two, or if you come in a large group you can sit at the long table at one end, a little like teachers in a dining hall. Outdoors you will find The garden bar is called 'The Rabbit Hole' and tables to dine al fresco. The fantasy land of Alice in Wonderland is only hinted at in the decor and menus, but it adds a quirky feel to this charming restaurant.
For a great deal come at lunchtime and enjoy three courses starting at 32++ SGD (for two courses), with dishes including a classic salade Nicoise or a hearty soup for starters, a selection including forest mushroom ravioli and pork collar as mains with light and fluffy white chocolate soufflé, or perhaps rich chocolate moelleux to finish off. Lunchtimes tend to be slightly quieter and you won’t need to book, making White Rabbit a great spot for a meal after a morning spent admiring orchids at the Botanic Gardens. There is a wider selection on the a la carte menu, including the French-inspired pan-roasted pigeon, with butternut squash mash balancing the deep flavour of the meat. If you’ve still got room, there are plenty of dessert options as well, but I recommend the baked Alaska, a yummy combination of ice cream and cake in baked meringue, the science behind the cooking of this dish still confounds me.
The White Rabbit has a decent selection when it comes to drinks too, with a good range of wine and champagne by the glass. The reinvented cocktails are also worth trying and include a black forest mojito, the tart fresh berries taking the edge off the crème de framboise; or the tall elderflower fizz, a twist on the classic gin cocktail, but slightly sweeter. It is easy to spend a couple of hours in this charming restaurant, and with great service and some delicious offerings, a visit to The White Rabbit is worth the trip outside Singapore. This will be one rabbit hole you’ll be glad you have fallen into.
The White Rabbit Restaurant
- Opening Hours: Tue – Fri 12:00 - 14:30, Sat - Sun 10:30 - 14:30, Tue - Sun 18:30 – 22:30
Brunch hours on weekends 10:30 to 15:00
- MRT: Nearest MRT is either Orchard or Queenstown
- Address: 39C Harding Road, Dempsey, Singapore 249541
- Tel: +65 6473 9965