Looking for an alternative area in town for a wide array of great eats and a laid-back atmosphere? Dempsey Hill is located just on the fringes of Orchard Road, but carries a totally different vibe that takes you away from the busy streets and towering high-rise buildings.
It takes a little bit of extra effort to get there (unless you’re driving in) but these 10 restaurants offering different cuisines will make it all worthwhile!
Peranakan cuisine is one of the most underrated in the Asian culinary world, in my opinion anyway. It’s often taken for granted given that it has such close roots to both Malay and Chinese cuisine, and not many would give much thought to how diverse and complex its flavours actually are.
Candlenut is a great place to delve into the best of this cuisine. Go for the Gula Melaka King Prawns ($24) which had an elevated sweetness that was not overwhelming, and was balanced by a coconut butter sauce. When you’re there you also have to try the Coconut Charcoal Grilled Wild Snapper ($24), Grilled Pork Cheek ($16) and Chendol Cream ($7).
Candlenut: Block 17A Dempsey Road, Singapore 249676 | Tel: 1800 304 2288 | Opening hours: (Mon to Thurs) 12pm – 3pm, 6pm – 10pm, (Fri & Sat) 12pm – 3pm, 6pm – 11pm, (Sun) 12pm – 3pm, 6pm – 10pm | Website | Facebook
2. Jones The Grocer
Besides selling artisanal produce and boasting a dedicated cheese room, Jones The Grocer is a Dempsey Hill favourite for a slow weekend brunch or as a catch-up spot over coffee.
One of its unique offerings is a selection of DIY charcuterie platters, with a choice of either three ($35), five ($45) or seven ($55) items, ranging from antipasti to seafood, cheeses and cold cuts.
The ready-to-order boards, like this Spanish Platter ($38) is great for sharing as well, with manchego cheese, queso ideazabal, chorizo iberico, jamon serrano, salchichon iberico, apple chutney, homemade crisp bread and mixed olives. Arm yourself with a bottle of bubbly and you’re ready for a chill Sunday afternoon.
3. La Forketta Gastronomia Italiana
Enter this welcoming and spacious Italian restaurant that prides itself on procuring some of the finest ingredients for its made-from-scratch recipes, right down to the flour grain.
La Forketta Gastronomia Italiana has a Messicana ($35) pizza that’s made with organic flour and uses salami, capsicums, roasted aubergines and fresh mozzarella.
Other highlights that would make the hike up Dempsey Hill worth your while would be the Linguine Ai Frutti Di Mare ($48) and homemade traditional Tiramisu ($13).
The prices may be a tad handsome for your average dinner out, but trust this place to be the perfect location for a romantic date or intimate gathering with close friends and family.
La Forketta Gastronomia Italiana: Block 9 Dempsey Road, #01-09, Dempsey Hill, Singapore 247697 | Tel: +65 6475 2298 | Opening hours: (Mon to Fri) 12pm – 3pm, 6pm – 12am, (Sat & Sun) 11.30am – 3.30pm, 6pm – 12am | Website | Facebook
Making its mark on Singapore’s food scene since 1988, Margarita’s is one of the best places to get authentic Mexican fare.
Having just been renovated, the place is as vibrant and colourful as the food on its plates. Some must-eats include the Beef With Mixed Mushrooms And Tequila ($42), Chicken Grande Taco Salad ($20) and Baked Crab Enchiladas ($38).
If you haven’t had the chance to try Mexican Coke ($6) (yes, it’s different from regular coke!), we implore you to; the drink uses real cane sugar as a sweetener instead of the usual high-fructose corn syrup, so it tastes less sweet. Perfect for your next fiesta!
Morsels aims to make diners feel right at home, with wooden furniture filling the cosy dining space and plenty of greenery to bring warmth to its ambience.
The Asian fusian food served is just as inviting with a less-intimidating option of a Lunch Omakase ($45), giving Chef Petrina and her crew licence to impress you with their best recipes.
Alternatively, you can choose to take a bite of the juicy Herbal Duck Tsukemen ($25 per lunch set), succulent Charred House-Poached Octopus ($26) or Steamed Venus Clams ($24).
The latter is a signature of the restaurant and the fig broth is blended with homemade kimchi, before being topped with pickled wakame (edible seaweed) and a dash of Chinese herb Yu Zhu (dried edible rhizome of Solomon’s Seal flowering plant).
Morsels: 25 Dempsey Road, #01-04, Singapore 249670 | Tel: +65 6266 3822 | Opening Hours: (Tues to Thurs) 12pm – 3pm, 6pm – 10.30pm, (Fri) 12pm – 3pm, 6pm – 11pm, (Sat) 10.30am – 3pm, 6pm – 11pm, (Sun) 10.30am – 3pm, Closed on Mondays | Website | Facebook
Who hasn’t heard of PS.Cafe? The one at Dempsey Hill is constantly flooded with queues on weekends, due to its glasshouse-styled space, flanked by gorgeous greenery.
If you’re looking for comfort, you can find it in their Beef Burgundy Pie ($29), complemented by their decadent Double Chocolate Blackout Cake ($16).
It may be a bit of a wait to get a table, but trust us, it’s worth the trip! And since the menu spans various cuisines, there’ll be something for everyone.
7. Red Sparrow
This Vietnamese restaurant is spankin’ new to the Dempsey ‘hood and Red Sparrow is set to whet your appetite with its line-up of authentic recipes such as Goi Cuon ($12), which is rice paper rolls of braised pork, tiger prawns, lettuce, beansprouts and fresh herbs.
Another notable dish to try is their Thit Lon Nuong ($19), comprising grilled marinated Berkshire pork, egg & pork terrine, roasted greens and homemade fish sauce. If you need another reason to check them out, they’ll soon have grills installed into some of their dining tables, so diners can immerse themselves in an authentic Vietnamese grill experience!
8. Samy’s Curry
Being at the forefront of Indian cuisine in Singapore and having already built quite a reputation for itself, there’s one dish you can’t miss out at Samy’s Curry – their Fish Head Curry ($21/$28/$33) is unrivalled in many foodies’ must-eat lists.
If you aren’t into that, there’s always a delectable spread like Masala Chicken ($5.30 per piece), Chicken Tikka ($10/$13) and Butter Chicken ($10/$13). Gather your friends, so you get a chance to sample as many dishes as possible and have an Indian feast like no other!
Samy’s Curry: 25 Dempsey Road, Singapore 249670 | Tel: +65 6472 2080 | Opening hours: (Mon) 11am – 3pm, 6pm – 10pm, (Wed to Sun) 11am – 3pm, 6pm – 10pm, Closed on Tuesdays | Facebook
9. The Dempsey Cookhouse & Bar
Be transported to a dining wonderland with The Dempsey Cookhouse & Bar‘s garden-inspired indoor dining.
If the delicate furnishings aren’t enough to impress you, wait till you sink your teeth into their Spice Crusted Snapper In Sweet And Sour Broth ($39). The flesh was flaky and moist, while the skin was crisp and carried a nutty and peppery heat.
Other recommendations include Burrata, Meyer Lemon Jam, Basil With Ciabatta Bread ($24), Toasted Egg Yolk ($38) and Black Truffle And Fontina Cheese Pizza ($34).
Be sure to set aside a leisurely amount of time to allow you and your dining partners to soak up both the phenomenal flavours as well as the nature-inspired dining concept.
10. The Green Door
This cosy hideaway might remind you of Alice in Wonderland, and we can’t blame you. The Green Door keeps a cosy garden setting, with a casual dining atmosphere that serves great happy hour deals and no-frills American-style comfort food.
One of their recommended burgers is the Mac Daddy ($23), that oozes with mac & cheese, crispy bacon strips and a hearty beef patty to boot. To complement such delicious indulgence, go for their Beef Chilli Cheese Fries ($14) that is evenly layered with savoury minced meat and velvety cheese.
Perfect for after-work gatherings, this spot will make your Friday wind-downs feel all the more rewarding.
Dempsey Hill houses plenty of food offerings and various cuisines that’ll satisfy almost every palate. Whether it’s for a casual or business meetings, this green enclave serves as a picturesque backdrop that’ll make the short ‘hike’ in well worth the effort!