The Place Opened by award-winning Australia Chef Clayton Wells and helmed by Head Chef Joeri Timmermans, who has most recently been the sous chef of award winning Automata in Sydney, the one week old Blackwattle restaurant at the buzzing Amoy Street is a two-storeys shophouse restaurant serving Modern Australian cuisine. This is Chef Clayton’s first restaurant outside Australia in partnership with Unlisted Collection which run restaurants such as Burnt Ends, Esquina and Pollen in Singapore. Blackwattle is the name for a number of species of trees that are native to Australia, where the 60-seat restaurant and bar is opened for lunch and dinner.
The first level is the main dining space, decked in casual tables, leather seats and an open kitchen right at the back while retaining some of the raw industrial elements of the shophouse. Moving up to level two, there is a bar counter with seats around it where you can enjoy some bar bites, cocktails or food from the ala carte menu.
The Food The one page menu is concise, split into the 5-Course Set Menu (S$115++ per person) and the ala carte section. The menu at Blackwattle changes periodically, with certain dishes being exclusive to the set menu. The idea of not having a fixed menu is the element of surprise for diners on their return visits, and this also facilitates the creative juices of the chefs as they are free to explore and create new dishes at Blackwattle as they deemed fit.
We went for the 5-Course Set Menu, starting with some light snacks – Stormshell Clam with Rosemary Dashi, along with the addictive and delicious Fried Cheese & Tapioca with Espelette Pepper.
On to entrées, I enjoyed the Grilled Fremantle Octopus with Fennel & Ink, Marigold, XO & Red Vinegar. The octopus texture was just right, chewy yet not too tough and it went really well with the xo & red vinegar sauce which completed the flavour of the dish.
The Steamed Red Fish with Roasted Lettuce is a good balance to have after the grilled octopus. The flavour profile is much lighter here but it is also when I could taste the freshness of the fish better. The crunchy roasted lettuce would probably make you rethink about this vegetable.
For mains, I was more than happy to spot the Black Angus Beef Tri-tip on the set menu. Sous vide for four hours before being lightly grilled, the beef was succulent and came along with side ingredients like burnt carrot, wood ear mushrooms and tamari sauce. Another worthy point is that the beef is served on a hot plate, which is quite essential to retain the temperature of sous vide meat.
Finally, our dessert is quite fanciful too. I had the Pumpkin Seed Sorbet with burnt meringue, dried mandarin & plum, which is a cross between sweet and savoury. The texture of the sorbet was soft and smooth, with subtle hints of pumpkin yet it didn’t taste awkward at all.
Rants Prices of the dishes at Blackwattle are at the fringe of fine dining range with a very casual ambience. If you are looking for a romantic dining spot with a quiet ambience, this is not the place to be.
Will I Return Again? For the 5-course set I had, suffice to say each course is consistently good. The techniques of preparation are modern and bold, and it is unlikely you will leave Blackwattle feeling disappointed.
This was an invited tasting, though all opinions expressed are our own.
Make your reservation instantly at Blackwattle here.
Taste bud: 4/5
Hole in the pocket: 4.5/5
Overall Experience: 4/5
Monday to Friday: 12pm to 3pm; 6pm to 11pm
Saturday: 6pm to 11pm
Ranted by The Ranter