The SpaceOccupying a massive 35,000 square feet of space on Dempsey Hill, the restaurant’s premises include a sprawling garden of herbs and vegetables, a dedicated lawn bowling zone and a takeaway store, much like a wooden hut to seek hot coffee and a little retail therapy from on a rainy day. The main dining area resembles a giant greenhouse, with an open concept kitchen and fully-stocked bar on opposite ends. You’ll want to plant yourself (no pun intended) at the chef’s table for a full and heightened view of the chefs at work – watching them plate and piece every component of the dish together is almost theatrical.
The FoodFrom this collaboration between The Spa Esprit Group, Tippling Club’s Chef Ryan Clift, and Edible Gardens, who champion the “Grow Your Own Food” movement, one can expect seasonal dishes comprising as much produce from their own garden as possible, creatively put together by the culinary team. For starters, highlights include a refreshing Chilled Avocado and Ginger Soup with Poached Yabbies and Fresh Radish ($20, pictured above), which features Thai Tom Kha broth as its base and served with warm pita bread on the side, as well as an unassuming (but extremely comforting) Coal Baked Omelette with Smoked Haddock, Tarragon and Grain Mustard Mornay ($24).
Dressed with fresh herbs, pastas are handmade on site, so don’t expect them to be cooked al dente. We especially liked the Mud Crab Spaghettoni with Thai Curry Sauce ($28), which had a similar taste to laksa with the use of coconut milk. If you like a chunky ragout, go for the Strozzapreti with 48 Hour Barolo Braised Oxtail ($26, pictured above), another one of our favourites. There is a good range of proteins here, which will cater to anyone with specific meat preferences. The Roasted Baby Chicken ($28), served with hazelnut and dark brown chicken jus and half roasted US potatoes, was pleasantly moist and we loved the braised leek that came with it. But a more mouthwatering dish we would return for is the Roasted Mangalica Pork Belly ($34). As hoped, this unique Hungarian pork breed popular for its high-quality fat was a melt-in-your-mouth delight. While the sautéed bok choy rode in tandem with the flavour profile of the pork, the apple and ginger salad enhanced the dish further with more texture and crunch.
Desserts definitely don’t disappoint at this joint. Our favourites include the Hot and Cold Chocolate Cake ($17), where chocolate is done six ways ranging from steamed chocolate sponge cake to chocolate curd, and Caramalized Mango with Textures of Coconut ($17). Think coconut sorbet, coconut meringue and tapioca pearls flavoured with coconut. See also: Best Eats on Dempsey Hill Cafes to Get Your Caffeine Fix
Written by Peh Yi Wen