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Best New Restaurant (Western): The Dempsey Cookhouse & Bar

Celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten brings his signature contemporary creations and some dependable comfort fare to Dempsey.

When news broke that celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten was opening a restaurant in Singapore, excited foodies couldn’t wait to score a table at his Dempsey Hill venture. When we called to book, we were told that we could only have the 6pm seating for one and a half hours. We were however assured that if we wanted to linger, we could adjourn to the bar area. By 8pm, guests had filled up the space, but we were grateful that no one came to request for our table.

Located in an old army barrack, the restaurant has a stunning ambience. Dominating the lofty ceilings are oversized “lanterns” that are sculptural and striking. The designer had also cleverly woven mundane pots and pans into the decor near the open kitchen.

The menu features a collection of Vongerichten’s signatures, including contemporary creations fused with Asian elements and some dependable comfort fare like pastas and pizzas. Particularly noteworthy is the puffy pizza scattered with black truffle and Italian fontina cheese. The well-informed waiter tells us that cherry and almond wood is used to fire up the pizzas. Although Vongerichten’s opening team has returned to New York, the service staff are well trained and offer good recommendations.

Salmon glazed with soya sits atop mounds of crispy rice.

Standout dishes with an Asian slant include the crispy salmon sushi, perked up with chipotle mayonnaise. The salmon slivers sit atop mounds of rice grains that are crisp and golden on the outside. The hamachi sashimi with chilli and lime is an embodiment of fresh and simple food done right.

Though spice-crusted snapper with sweet and sour broth may sound simple too, the dish has depth of flavour thanks to the mixture of hazelnut, almond, sesame seed and pepper that form the crust. The succulent snapper fuses wonderfully with the tangy sweet sauce finished with butter. We also enjoy the substantial portion of prosciutto-wrapped pork chop, oven-baked till tender and served with a side of glazed mushrooms.

Warm chocolate fondant cradling a molten centre.

We advise keeping space for desserts. The warm chocolate fondant is a signature, but we love the sundae – three heaping scoops of salted caramel and peanut butter ice cream, topped with caramelised popcorn, peanuts and luscious hot fudge.

Complete your experience with refreshing libations like the kumquat mojito and ginger margarita. The wines are chosen to suit the food; though the list is not huge, it is sufficient. This is definitely a place we will go back to, repeatedly.


THE DEMPSEY COOKHOUSE & BAR
17D Dempsey Road, S(249676)
T 1800 304 5588

The full list of Singapore’s Best at
G Restaurant Awards 2017.

All tastings conducted incognito with esteemed members of G’s Food Panel.