Despite all appearances, The Disgruntled Chef isn't your run-of-the-mill gastrobar offering nothing more than a typical bar menu and a cheeky name that affords a few chuckles. A small but concise menu reveals a modern European sensibility, and the intimate space, though sporting a rather sterile appearance of steel and concrete, is a welcome reprieve from the boisterous Tawandang Microbrewery that's just next door.
Hanging out in the area? Find out which other restaurants we enjoy at Dempsey Hill.
What's new: The Disgruntled Chef's new menu follows the same tried-and-tested format of categorizing dishes into the unassumingly-named Small and Big Plates (not to be mistaken for starters and entrees -- the idea is one of communal dining, similar to that of tapas bars), but revamped with executive chef and owner Daniel Sia's arsenal of new techniques (think dehydrating and the ever-popular sous vide) and equipment (like an ice-cream machine).
Must-try: Old favourites such as the signature crayfish macaroni and cheese (delightfully gooey yet surprisingly light on the palate, S$14) and the baked bone marrow (which offers glistening globules of yummy fat, now with the addition of braised oxtail, S$26) remain on the menu, with new additions like the indulgent grilled eel and foie gras with daikon, Kabayaki sauce and apple (S$26) and a wonderfully fresh cured yellowtail hamachi that presents clean bright flavours (S$18), jostling for attention.
The Iberico pork neck (S$22), first given the sous vide treatment before deep-frying and paired with a tangy mustard, is a sheer delight for the senses and a definite shoo-in for most memorable dish -- the pork is luscious and tender beneath a crispy exterior, the meaty flavours melding well with the soy mustard.
Another surprising favourite is the deceptively simple-looking grilled compressed watermelon salad with thin slices of cucumber, crumbled feta cheese and xeres reduction (S$16). The generous chunks of watermelon is particularly juicy thanks to the "compressing", and its sweetness a lovely contrast with the savoury cheese and fresh cucumber. We'd gladly have this for lunch everyday.
The dessert selection is equally impressive -- the classic fondant (S$14) comes filled with a heart-stopping peanut butter goo instead of the usual chocolate while the sticky toffee pudding (S$14) and Roquefort Magnum (S$6) hits all of the sweet spots.
Also look out for: Specially for those lazy weekend brunches, The Disgruntled Chef has also added new plates to its existing brunch menu, including a fiery Patatas Bravas (S$18) and hearty Toad in the Hole with roasted onion gravy (S$16). Wash the food down with one of the many refreshing cocktails, whipped up at the bar that takes up almost half the space of the restaurant.
Verdict: The Disgruntled Chef's concept of communal dining and laidback ambience might veer towards the casual but its thoughtfully-engineered menu and well-executed dishes is anything but. We are already anticipating more ingenious creations in the upcoming months.
The Disgruntled Chef, 26B Dempsey Road, +65 6476 5305