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H O S T E D

Having dined there several times before, The Dempsey Cookhouse & Bar is a place I know very well. So when Gastrosense PR agency invited me for a media tasting of their seasonal lunch set menu, I readily agreed as I’ve always enjoyed the food, ambience and service there.

A few items from the wide selection of appetisers, mains and desserts were picked for us to try, starting with a very appetising Hamachi Salad. What made this substantial starter of thickly-cut, lightly-cured fish with avocado, mixed seeds and lettuce stand out for me was the dressing. It’s far from typical as it featured a warmed grapeseed oil poured over chipotle, Korean chilli powder, ground cumin, ground fennel and anatto seeds.

I was delighted to find my favourite Samosas offered as a choice of appetiser. Crispy of skin and generously filled with moist, tasty minced chicken (it’s a mix of thigh and breast), they came with a cool cilantro yogurt dip.

If you like soups, do give the Butternut Squash Minestrone a try as it is more complex than the ones out there due to a mellow heat from fresh chili. The sourdough croutons, sautéed in olive oil and seasoned with salt before being dropped in, were a nice touch.

I have never, ever dined at this restaurant and not ordered the Calamari with foamy Yuzu Dip. Loved how light and crunchy the coating was like always.

For the mains, we tried a seafood, two kinds of meat and a pasta.

The Sea Trout - a sesame seed-encrusted fillet plated with blanched spinach, sautéed potatoes, passionfruit purée and black olive oil that came away in nice, large flakes, was light and lovely.

Between the Veal Milanese with sweet potato, dried cranberry and arugula and the Borrowdale Free Range Pork, I preferred the latter as it had a heftier bite and was accompanied by tasty stewed peppers. But the former is ideal for those of you who enjoy your meat with a bright salad.

The vegetarian Fresh Tagliatelle with Pistachio Pesto and Roasted Brussels is something I‘d order again anytime. It had great depth of flavour and a subtle kick from Thai green chillies.

We got to try all four desserts and even though the classic Salted Caramel Ice-cream Sundae delivered in every way, I was distracted by the newer creations. My fave was the Chestnut Panna Cotta with Mandarin Coulis - it’s something different and truly scrumptious. The Cinnamon Apple Cake with Macadamia Nut Crumble rivalled it but call me old-fashioned, I would prefer vanilla ice-cream instead of the green apple sorbet. The Strawberry Sundae with Kaffir Lime Meringue really wow-ed me as well, especially the ice-cream bit.

Priced at $38++ and $42++ for 2 and 3 courses respectively, with top-ups required for certain dishes, the new Weekday Lunch Set is yet another reason to visit the beautiful Dempsey Cookhouse & Bar more often.

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