Thursday, 4 November 2010

Binge - Good Bites At The Disgruntled Chef

With a name like that, it appears you either have to be a sucker for punishment or a cheerful bunny to venture to this restaurant. But if the food is anything to go by, the chef isn’t as disgruntled as its name suggests.

The latest restaurant to open in chock-a-block Dempsey Hill, The Disgruntled Chef tries to straddle the food and drink divide. In other words, it tries to please both foodies who hanker after good food, as well as those who set high standards for their drink. In short, you have a restaurant that serves good food as well as good and extensive drinks. But quite unlike ordinary restaurants, the menu here is not set out with the usual appetizer, main course and dessert options but “small and big plates” all meant to be shared over libation.

Set amid tranquil greenery and tucked into a hillock, this casual restaurant is a cosy space to escape the bustle of down town Singapore, and is particularly pleasant at lunchtime. 

Just opened in September, and helmed by award winning chef Daniel Sia, the food here is very good, and stands out with more unique offerings than many others around town. 

The crackling suckling pig ($16) was lusciously tender and flavourful, and not very fatty at all. The crackling was thin and crisp, and served surprisingly with crudités which helped refresh and cleanse your palate after the richness of the meat. 

The baked camembert fondue ($18) was also a favourite among the entire group present at the tasting, though the name is misleading. Not quite a fondue, it is rather baked camembert, all melted and deliciously runny to which you spread onto dainty pieces of toast with a dollop of apple sauce. An unusual combination, it is fully flavoured, rich and cheesey with a slight lift from the subtly sweet apple and a happy crunch of toast. Simple but nice – what a lovely change from a typical cheese platter! 

The dainty little crab cakes ($12) were nicely done and sweet, but the chunky chip ($6) flavoured with a hint of truffle oil and served with aioli, was hearty, fluffy inside, steaming hot and downright addictive. Sadly the crispy lamb short ribs ($14) were not available that day, but comes highly recommended, and the baked bone marrow, while lovely in taste, was a little too rich and fatty for my liking.

Big plates – which I did not get to try – are largely a different selection. Apart from the suckling pig ($48), there’s 200 days grain fed chargrilled beef ($88) and slow cooked spiced veal cheek with mini Yorkshire pudding ($32).

For a place that wants to push its drinks, its wines and cocktails are on the pricey side – starting from $15 per glass. But admittedly the Braided River Sauvignon Blanc which I had to pair with these small bites was fragrant, fruity, aromatic and crisp – very much to my liking. Interesting cocktails (all $16) feature on their drinks list such as a white peach and thyme caipiroska which came in a tall glass with crushed ice was a little too watery; lemongrass mojito and wild raspberry honey collins.

Definitely the next place to see and be seen, The Disgruntled Chef is a fun destination for friends. But if you are thinking of good value, you’ll be barking up the wrong tree, as many dishes are required to make a full meal, and each dollar as we all know, adds up to quite a bit.

26B Dempsey Road
Tel: +65 6476 5305

- Ee Waun


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