Last Updated: April 1, 2019
One of my favourite haunts has to be Dempsey Hill. Close to town, yet hidden in a natural enclave, it’s very appealing for those who wish to escape the urban landscape without travelling too far.
The now-defunct House At Dempsey has been taken over by retail and lifestyle concept, SIRI House, by Thai property developer, Sansiri. The F&B branch of the space is called JAM At SIRI House, with an all-local crew.
Chef Ming Tan from Lolla and Park Bench Deli aims to serve comfort food that you could find at intimate home parties. The curated menu adds to the laid-back and fuss-free vibe of the place.
The Art Space At SIRI House hosts an art gallery and a showhouse for Thai properties under the Sansiri group, with displays changing every few months.
It also features a retail space, The Shop At SIRI House, with new vendors every quarter. Expect to find one-of-a-kind trinkets and clothing from Thai designers, perfect for refreshing your wardrobe or as a gift for friends.
House cocktails here are quite unique. You’ll have the luxury of having a bar cart rolled up to your table, featuring bottled cocktails that are made daily.
The Paper Plane (S$13) is bourbon-based, with Aperol, Amaro and citrus. It’s rightfully sour, and suited for those who love more punch to their cocktail.
Umemi (S$13) is a crowd favourite, and understandably so. It uses vodka-infused green tea, umeshu and lime, providing refreshing and very clean notes — great for cooling off from the unrelenting heat.
They also have a SIRI House Negroni (S$13), which has an Asian spin on it with gin-infused Thai red tea with Campari and sweet vermouth. I could definitely see myself wanting more, as it went down pretty easily like an alcoholic iced tea.
Chicken In A Biscuit (S$12) didn’t turn out to be what I had envisioned in my head. Inspired by the popular children’s snack, the chicken fat cookie is smeared with a spiced cream cheese that’s been flavoured with garlic and ginger.
The crumble on top is chicken skin, making this cookie an absolute delight to bite into, as it was a crumbly mess of savoury and sweet. Due to its fattiness, however, my advice is to ensure you have enough people to share this with because it can get rather filling.
This dish may look deceptively tame, but it packs a punch of flavours and textures. The Spicy Potatoes (S$16) made me ask Chef Ming for his recipe because I wanted to attempt to replicate it. It had a fluffy, cloud-like texture in the middle, with a crisp shell outside.
The kitchen’s own mala spice mix comes with ample chilli and Szechuan peppercorns. It is then topped with beef lardons and parmesan for that extra bit of indulgence. The heat was still intense in spite of its demure serving size.
Now, for this, I wouldn’t mind carb-loading.
You don’t see cauliflower steaks very often, but when done right, it will make you want to eat your vegetables! Their Cauliflower (S$18) is charred in a charcoal oven and paired with curried carrot mash. The more charred the edges, the better, in my books at least.
And it’s brownie points when the cauliflower can snap apart and give off a waft of smokiness. The sweet-spicy and creamy curry paired excellently with the vegetable, while the champagne vinegar and oil helped to ease the heaviness on the palate.
Scallops are generally sweet and delicate, but these were much richer in flavour. Their Scallop (S$30) dish is made up of wild hand-dived Hokkaido scallops that were brinier than usual. They also felt fattier in the mouth, and had richer, more savoury notes.
Wild trout roe brightened the taste a little, while the yuzu, extra virgin olive oil and black truffle elevated this dish to one of opulence.
Fish dishes are very rarely divine (let alone impressive), but this one was simply outstanding. The Cod (S$38) is a dish with slow-cooked cod precariously placed on top of mushroom dashi and Asari clams, which have been smoked in a charcoal oven.
The flaky meat melted like butter on the tongue, while the skin was satisfyingly crunchy. The mushroom dashi was incredibly aromatic and made for a hearty broth that I would’ve liked to simply sip from the serving bowl.
My second favourite dish of the lunch was the Papardelle (S$33). I had my eyes on it even as I was walking in, and I’m so glad it surpassed my expectations.
The sauce is meticulously made with prawn and lobster heads that have been roasted separately in butter before being cooked down gently with cream and merepoix for eight hours. The strained product is a crustacean reduction that resembles a thick bisque with weighty umami notes and intoxicating seafood sweetness.
I cannot rave enough about this dish, except that it needs to come in a bigger portion. And I will not share it when I return.
To help cleanse the palate, you may want to try their Pavlova (S$17). I’m not usually one to go for fruity desserts, but this one wasn’t as sour or acidic as I might’ve guessed. The yuzu curd added a nice zing to the swiss meringue. In place of clotted or whipped cream, it’s topped with sour cream ice cream.
It only faintly resembled the actual taste of sour cream, and instead leaned more towards the profile of yoghurt. The mandarin oranges gave it some nice juiciness and brought the entire dessert together.
Where else would you see S’mores (S$18) on a menu here in Singapore? These aren’t just any plain ol’ s’mores! The housemade cinnamon biscuits are fragile, so they cracked easily to give way to layers of raspberry ganache, 64% Valrhona Manjari chocolate, raspberry puree, egg-free marshmallows (yes, homemade as well!) and a pinch of sea salt.
Its appeal lay in not only its contrasting textures but also how all the varying elements evolved from sweet to sour to smoky to slightly savoury. Best eaten with your hands for the full experience, it’s the perfect dessert for both kids and adults alike.
Before coming here, I thought the food would be like that of a run-of-the-mill cafe. I was proven absolutely wrong, and had a sumptuous dining experience that I cannot wait to go back to. Highly-recommended items are for sure are the Cod and Papardelle; you won’t be disappointed, trust me.
Its serene and natural location is a bonus, making it feel like a real escape from city life.
Expected Damage: S$120 – S$150 per pax
Price: $ $ $
Our Rating: 5 / 5
JAM At SIRI House
8D Dempsey Rd, Dempsey Hill, #01-02, Singapore 249672
8D Dempsey Rd, Dempsey Hill, #01-02, Singapore 249672