the disgruntled chef, dempsey hill

hello, all! so I was missing for the greater part of this week on a gallivant through hong kong (so much good food I can’t wait to share) and did you miss me?

it’s now sunday, so it’s just about appropriate to do another brunch one – though it’s a shame that this ain’t going to be a pretty one (metaphorically – the photos might mislead in their aesthetic pleasantness).

I was rather disappointed by this place. I went with high hopes, bolstered by a slew of wonderful praises about the ingenuity of the food here, and the suspense was ever-more built by the fact that I had tried to brunch here more than a couple times (and something always happened to stop it*).

*maybe it was the gourmand gods/ fate.


it’s a rather awesome menu – large, interesting-sounding, and immensely enticing what with the descriptions. I massively love menus that tell me exactly what I’m going to eat – there’s something to be said for being held in suspense, but usually I like to order what I know I’d really want to eat.

the dishes are divided between brunch smalls, bigs, puds from the main menu, and drinks.

I have to say it feels rather like they got their size definitions from a fashion catalogue directed at slightly too-thin-for-health women – smalls are really minis, bigs are just almost healthy-sized, and puds are small enough so those tiny clothes still fit.

I’ve come to a point where small portions are appreciated only when expected – usually as part of a many-coursed meal – and I most certainly don’t expect it at brunch, which in itself is a hedonistic activity to ingest in a single meal what you would eat in two.

so it’s apparent that the amount of food we got irked me to no end, especially since the quality of cooking and execution here was pretty great. it’s a pretty refined brunch, dishes are colorful, and the flavors are more than decent.

an eggs cocotte was redolent with truffle and savoury mushrooms, and my halloumi dish was perked up with segments of peeled orange and a couple gren leaves.

the partner was the only one that ordered a brunch big of braised pork cheeks, all soft and tender and delicious over a bed of soft silky truffled mash.

but at twenty for my halloumi, I expect a little more than what would constitute only a small square of cheese and not even half an orange; and at thirty for the pork cheeks, perhaps some greens would have been welcome – not to mention quite a bit more mash or meat for a satisfying meal.

the desserts were even more spectacular in execution, but didn’t buck the (lack of) size trend.

this magnum-like bar of roquefort & honey ice cream coated in dark chocolate was a play on contrast between the rather blue ice cream and the not-too-sweet quality chocolate shell that shattered upon impact. I can’t much tolerate blue cheeses, and this was almost too strong for me to take, but the chocolate helped temper the pungency – and I found myself returning for more.

it came beautifully in a bowl of ice too, very impressive.

the sticky toffee pudding was also darn delicious (and more sizable!): warm, moist pud sloping with its weight of delicious vanilla-speckled ice cream all drizzled with a delicious caramel.

and also the peanut-butter-and-chocolate fondant, which came super dark (almost black, really) with roast banana slices on the side with another scoop of that fantastic icecream. it was warm and oozey and satisfyingly chocolatey.

at the end of it, it was a fantastic meal flavor-wise. the chefs know what they’re doing in the kitchen, and flavors are contrasting and complementary, and the plating is both beautiful and very modern – but with three courses needed for any measure of satiety, and lunch-set portions what’s more, it’s a format of dining I think best left for more measured, formal meals than brunch.

the meal left me disgruntled for sure – I understand restaurants need to be profitable, but there’s a fine line between sustainability and miserliness, and I think they might have stepped over it.

The Disgruntled Chef
26B Dempsey Rd
Singapore 247693
tel +65 6476 5305
$$$: too much for brunch – I estimate at least 50-60 onward for even a moderately satisfying meal

p.s. the desserts are worth it though – great if you’ve had a dinner elsewhere in dempsey and want a something-something to finish.

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