I went to Dempsey last night for drinks and food with 8 friends. We headed to CMBP but couldn't get a table. Luckily, we saw this new place a couple of doors down and decided to try it, even though it was apparently their first night open! The decor was simple, slightly industrial and a good balance between relaxed and trendy.
The menu stated it was a 'limited opening menu' but there was still plenty to choose from, so we decided to order a few items to share. The dishes were generally European, with a slight leaning towards French. Nearly all the food that arrived were delicious, which was a relief for an opening night. The most impressive dishes were the French onion soup ($9), Moules Mariniere & Fries ($20) and the Prime Angus Mini Burgers ($16). The only dish that was a bit misleading was the prawn cocktail ($16). Although tasty, it was more like a salad with a few prawns, rather than the traditional prawns with a little bit of salad.
All in all, the ambiance, service and attitude of the place is spot on for an area like Dempsey. We love CMPB and PS Café in this area. The Dempsey Brasserie is certainly a great alternative to both of them, and we'll certainly be back sometime soon. Especially as we noticed they're starting a Weekend Brunch this Saturday!
One assumes that when an individual or group starts a new
business venture, that there exists some competitive advantage, service,
quality, or skill that will differentiate that business from the competition
and, at the end of the day, delight customers so that they return for more. And
then they opened The Dempsey Brasserie and turned this business philosophy on
The Dempsey Brasserie takes on the appearance of a nice
restaurant – its comfortable, high ceilings make it feel open and cool, and a giant
bar inside the restaurant is quite an inviting sight. And that’s what The
Dempsey Brasserie is – a visual delight. My experience there confirmed that one
should visit The Dempsey Brasserie in the same manner as a museum – look, don’t
touch, then go somewhere else for lunch or dinner. Let me explain.
A Saturday evening table booking for six persons at eight
o’clock began with four of us showing up slightly early, and seated outside the
restaurant to enjoy a refreshing cocktail from the delicious sounding drink
menu. Next, the age old challenge of locating the staff– I have often suggested
that one should be armed with a police whistle to gain attention in the average
Singapore restaurant. The Dempsey Brasserie stayed true to this golden rule, as
the service staff was non-existent. In fact, whilst waiting to be served, the
gathering crowd of customers jumped from their seats as a waiter walked out of
the restaurant, screamed at the top of his lungs, and left the establishment
never to return. This was not an auspicious start to the evening.
After a 30 minute wait, the first of our cocktails arrived,
a Mojito, that was well prepared and visually appealing. Score one for the
bartender, although the 30 minute wait detracted from the overall experience.
The question we had at this time was ‘where are the other drinks?’ “What drinks?” was the response from the
service staffer (I would say our ‘waiter’ but we did not have a single
individual serving us at any time throughout the evening). Somewhere between our outside table and the
bar twenty-five feet away, three quarters of our drink order was lost.
Eventually, the plan to enjoy a round of drinks before our
final guests arrived at eight thirty was abandoned, and we were ushered in to
the restaurant to be seated at our table. There, we were able to swim in the
décor of The Dempsey Brasserie, because it became clear very early on that we
were not going to be served in anything resembling a suitable timeframe. That’s
okay, we thought, we’re not in a rush.
Another thirty minutes later, and kicking ourselves for
forgetting our whistle, we finally attracted the attention of our server, who
handed out menus and took our wine order – in the least, we thought, we could
get some wine on the table as we waited. The waiter disappeared for thirty
minutes, returning only upon our
desperate cries for attention, and took our food orders. The Porterhouse Steak,
the benchmark item on the menu, was, of course, not available. Oh well, rib eye
it is, then.
And our wine? Well, it never arrived. Neither did the water
we requested, nor our food.
At ten o’clock (yes, two hours after our arrival at the
restaurant) our food had still not been delivered, and a glance over at the
staff indicated that, once again, somewhere between our table and the kitchen,
our order had gone missing. Our expectation of a simple apology or
clarification of the failure would have been professional courtesy, but The
Dempsey Brasserie isn’t interested in in professional courtesy.
Slightly after ten o’clock, a band appeared, who were
excellent, and I would recommend them highly in any bar or restaurant where
there was room to enjoy them without sitting next to a speaker. Alas, the fun
conversation at the table came to an abrupt halt and we were forced to request
a table outside to escape the noise. After several requests, the staff found us
a table outside and we were seated. Of course, no mention of our now two-hour
old dinner selections was made by the staff.
Several attempts to communicate with a restaurant manager
proved to be unsuccessful – in fact I don’t think we ever truly figured out who
was really in charge. One of the service staff, when we waived for service,
would only respond by waiving back at us, perhaps confusing our request as an
exchange of pleasantries. At this time, our guests were actively walking into
the restaurant and obtaining wine and water by themselves, sans assistance from
When the food arrived, it was poorly prepared, and one
salmon cake was described as inedible by our guest. Two rib eye steaks were
served cold, and the accompanying truffle fries were severely overcooked and
bland. The only guest who enjoyed the meal ordered the three mini-burgers, and
described them as ‘plain’ but at least they were palatable.
We were not asked if we were interested in dessert, and we
would have not ordered any if asked because statistically speaking, it wouldn’t
have shown up until the following day. The bill arrived, and the table
undertook the audit to remove all the items we didn’t order, including hot
chocolate, desserts, and a host of other anomalies. It took the service staff three revisions of
the bill until it represented what we ordered, and at least one guest paid in
cash given his concerns about how they would likely screw up the credit card
processing. All in all, it was a $400 bill, and no apologies were forthcoming
from the abysmal service staff.
I will indicate that we did consider leaving the restaurant
during the debacle, however our enquiries with other nearby restaurants failed
to secure a table.
All in all I would have to say that The Dempsey Brasserie
has done a great job in redefining the restaurant scene in Singapore. They’ve
taken an age-old business philosophy of service, skill, and competitive
advantage, and thrown the philosophy out the back door. Run, don’t walk, away
from this diabolical excuse for a restaurant. Consider yourself warned.
(PS: The following day at a wine dinner, I discussed The
Dempsey Brasserie with several foodie friends, and both described their
experiences in a similar manner.)
I went there last Friday to hear the live jazz music.
I heard the food is good and the atmosphere of the restaurant is great, so very excited to go there.
Didn't want to miss the live, I made the reservation and I got confirmation by e-mail.
-No table even made a reservation (sit outside table first and after a while they set the table for us)
-The waiter shout suddenly
-Foods didn't come for looooong time (even appetizers)
-Drinks didn't come for loooooooooooooooong time. (ask several times, but still didn't come)
-The waitress never come back from checking the drinks and tell us whats going on
-The manager was offensive, not polite, and irresponsible
The place was nice, and the live music was great.
but the bad service had ruined the good.
I expect to receive (much) better quality of service in such a nice environment.
I might go back to hear the music (great musicians!!!),
but if it happens again, I will never go back for sure.
I was in Dempsey and chanced upon the Brasserie. Browsed through the menu an was immediately attracted to the mussles, which were the 'signature' dish. They did it in various styles, hence I was convinced I had found a decent place that served mussles.
I ordered the Moules Vin Blanc (mussels in white wine), confident that it would be an easy dish to satisfy most customers - this is the MOST BASIC recipe for mussels.
Alas, I was wrong. I was horrified when my mussels arrived - the soup was BITTER. The mussels were tasteless, other than the overpowering bitterness that permeated the whole dish, and they were a tad overcooked.
Unable to stomach more than 3 mussles, I finally asked the manager over and told him the dish was bitter. He had it sent back to the kitchen, then came back and tried to explain that there was 'wine' in the recipe, as if I'd never had mussles in white wine sauce before. I told him the wine might add the bitterness to the dish if it had been too liberally poured in, but other than that, I could not taste any of the other ingredients, like garlic, onions, parsely. The whole dish was just FLAT. It was horribly flat, other than bitter soup.
He offered to redo the dish for me, or change for something else on the menu..... Since I had chosen this restaurant specially for its mussels, I didn't feel like having anything else... And having sampled the mussels - I am NOT IMPRESSED by their signature dish - this is not something they can afford to get wrong, if it's their speciality.
In the end, I passed up on having anything else, and just watch my friend finish his pulled pork burger, which he apparently enjoyed.
That said, I liked the laid back, chilled out ambience... It's a pity I won't ever go back, because I just dont' have faith in a restaurant that fails to deliver a decent signature dish. And mussels in white wine is not a difficult dish to concoct... especially since they get their fresh musles (the most important ingredient) flown in directly from Boston. That said, I was glad the management did not kick up a fuss and insist I pay up for the mussels I sent back.
It is a nicely presented restaurant and I found the staff genuinely enagaged and looking for solutions considering the problems we had. It doesnt seem that they understand French cooking really, like other places (Bristot du Sommelier, Au Petit Salut, L'Angelus, Le Bouchon etc.). We started with a pretty lame charcuterie plate...nothing exciting about this. The servers had no clue what was wrong with the over cooked Tenderloin two of us ordered (clearly not a mistake), nor the undercooked chicken in the salad which is a serious issue. At least check the food before it leaves the kitchen people !. Shame as there is room for a good French brasserie in Dempsey.
For full review and pictures, please visit : http://storyofoursummers.blogspot.com/2012/04/dempsey-brasserie.html
Iced Latte- $6
X felt that the latte was not very fragrant
The Big Brasserie Breakfast - $24
X felt that the tomatoes were the highlight
The bacon strips were slightly crisp and savory but were a tad burnt.
The poached eggs were, sadly, rather overcooked.
As for the bread, mushrooms and sausage, they did not leave a lasting impression.
All in all, this was pretty average
Eggs Royale -$22
This is one of the most expensive eggs royale I've ever had.
I always choose eggs royale over eggs benedict because of the differences in the level of saltiness that smoked salmon provides. In times when the hollandaise sauce is too plain or lacking in flavour, the smoked salmon compensates for that lack.
In this case, the smoked salmon worked its magic again as the hollandaise was a little lacking in flavour.
And the eggs were slightly overcooked
Vanilla muffin with chocolate chip - $2.50
We were surprised by how cheap the muffin is. The muffin which was warmed up had a melted chocolate centre. However, the muffin didn't leave a special impression as it tasted just average.