When you think of Australian cuisine, you’ll probably think of their barbies (barbecues) and fish and chips. But at Blackwattle, a restaurant that will transport you to the land Down Under, you’ll get way more than that.
Located on Amoy Street, this newly-opened restaurant boasts comfortable couches and a congenial vibe. Blackwattle promotes fine dining without pretensions, and it’s evident from the relaxed ambience and the waiters’ laid-back and amicable attitudes.
Priding themselves on the changing menu in their Australian outlet, this local offshoot has plans to do the same. For now, you can get a three-course lunch set for $48++. Considering that it comes with snacks, entrées, mains and dessert, this isn’t shabby at all.
For starters, we’ve had two light bites. The Fried Cheese & Tapioca, Espelette Pepper ($10 a la carte) might not look like much, but it packed a flavourful punch. The bottom layer of fried cheese was crunchy and flavourful, and complemented the smooth texture and creaminess of the tapioca balls. The espelette pepper really opened up our appetites too.
The other snack we got was the Stormshell Clams With Rosemary Dashi & Aerated Cream ($14 a la carte). While it didn’t sound like aerated cream would’ve gone well with clams, this refreshing seafood snack was actually quite refreshing, to our dismay.
With a slightly briny and chewy seaweed garnish, this clam brought with it the fresh taste of the sea. Light on the palate, this starter prepared our taste buds for the feast to come.
But before we even start on the main course, we ran into a problem. The bread and butter were so good that we could’ve almost gorged ourselves full on them.
Infused with anchovies and chicken, the creamy butter added so much flavour to the fluffy bread that you might mistake for a main dish. Yeasty and warm with a crispy top crust, the bread and savoury butter pairing were heavenly.
Moving finally to the meat dishes, we tried the Grilled Fremantle Octopus. Served with marigold, fennel and squid ink, the mouth-watering scent wafting from the dish made me want to gobble it up in a heartbeat.
Succulent with just enough bite to be chewy, the grilled octopus also had a pleasant charred flavour. The squid ink was mixed with XO sauce and red vinegar, lending an interesting Asian twist to the dish. Just the right side of spicy, the sauce and juicy octopus mouthfuls mingled for a delicious entrée.
The second entrée we tried was also seafood, but of a lighter variety. The Steamed Green Bone felt like a healthy interlude to the preceding rich dishes. With the clean scent of a garden, the fish was served with their green sauce. The verdant sauce had notes of citrus and a faint herbal scent.
Incredibly juicy, the sweetness of this fish only added to its distinctly light and clean flavour. The roasted lettuce that came with the dish was subtly sweet as well. Overall, a clean and green dish that tasted so good, but felt healthy at the same time.
The main star of the set, the Grilled Beef Tri-Tips, was worth the wait. Served with burnt carrot, wood ear mushrooms and tamari sauce, this dish was a riot of flavours.
The Black Angus beef from Rangers Valley was a delight for the senses. The thin, crispy outer layer gave way to a fatty layer, and the blend of textures and flavours was simply mouth-gasmic.
Even the burnt carrots and the wood ear mushrooms made my taste buds do a happy dance. The burnt layer was caramelised like a sweet glaze, complementing the sweetness of the carrots. The wood ear mushrooms had a delightfully earthy flavour, yet remained delicate on the palate.
Finally, one of the most intriguing desserts I’d ever heard of. The Pumpkin Seed Sorbet ($16 a la carte) posed a flavour conundrum. Nutty and creamy yet light and airy, this dessert combined the best of both worlds.
The freeze-dried mandarin bits on top lent a sweet crunch to the sorbet and added yet another dimension to the beautiful collision of flavours.
A perfectly sweet ending indeed.
Don’t leave without Blackwattle’s cocktails; these concoctions are in a class of their own.
The Japanese Whispers ($20) was an evolution of flavours. Containing gin, sake, lime and agave, the taste profile changed as I rolled the sip around in my mouth. Almost like a mojito but less sweet, the taste changed from sour, to bitter, and then the gin hit near the end. The drink finished off subtly sweet, with the sweetness becoming more apparent in the second sip.
Another favourite is the Nihon Spritz ($22). A tropical summery drink, the beautiful colour of this cocktail already saved it a place in my heart. Starting off sour and fizzy, the taste moved on to flaunt a slightly bitter undertone, and finally finished off sweet.
Containing aperol, bijoufu yuzu and prosecco, this cocktail really made me feel like I was at a tropical beach party.
Head down to Blackwattle on Amoy Street, because the sheer quality and lack of pretensions in this fine dining restaurant should earn it a place on your list.
Expected Damage: $48++ – $80++ per pax