It’s safe to say I’m not the biggest fan of Dempsey Hill. On my better meals at the former army barracks location I’ve simply been underwhelmed… on others I’ve felt outright ripped off. What was once an unique escape in Singapore has become a “destination”… meaning the now crazy high rent prices result in overpriced meals compounded with an expensive cab ride. This has taken away any potential value for most locations for me. So I set off for a Saturday night meet-up with some friends at Contemporary Melting Pot and Bar (CMPB here on out) with some reluctance. Thankfully I was pleasantly surprised.
Upon arrival we knew that we had at least selected the trendy place for the evening. While many of the neighboring bars and restaurants sat empty, the outdoor dining areas at CMPB were almost completely full. The servers were quick to respond to our changes in seating as we had added a few extra to our group…. that might sound simple but I’ve seen discussion on adding another table to the party take as long as 10-15 minutes in some locations in Singapore
We sat down and purused the drink menu. Unsurprisingly, since it’s billed also as a bar, there was an extensive drink and wine menu. There were decent affordable wines by the bottle and big surprise for Dempsey… bottles of beers on special for LESS than 10 SGD!
The menu is simple and focused with a nice balance between hearty main courses and lighter options for those coming more for the bar. The rest of our group had yet to arrive so we ordered up a set of the calamari rings. The batter was lighter than expected allowing the calamari flavor to come through.
I’m still on my burger hunt so had to sample the burgers. There were only two listed but it was a hard choice for me this night as there were two great sounding options. CMPB features a Wagyu burger and a Foie Gras Burger! Both sounded excellent and again I was surprised to see lower than average prices on menu items. Normally a Wagyu burger (why must they all serve Wagyu burgers on Dempsey… can no one come up with anything unique?) on Dempsey lists out at 30 SGD at least. This one was only 26…. not a great deal different in price, but certainly better than others in the area. Two of us had the burger that night. The burger was in fact good… but lacking in consistency in preparation. Part of the selling point to me were the caramelized onions. I hate, loathe, despise raw onions on burgers. Judge for yourself if my onions were “caramelized”. I thought maybe the pressures were just too much since they were recently open and it was middle of rush on a Saturday night, but my late ordering friend received his burger with one side half caramelized and the other side raw. So a bit of sloppiness in the kitchen ruined what could have been a truly memorable burger night for me… oh well.
Joanna went with the Tackle of the Day (25 SGD)…. which we were assured was truly a fresh fish for the day and not just trying to dump old fish stock (have to be careful with fish specials). To her great delight it was grilled Salmon with summer veggies and potato croquette. The fish was well cooked and all the extras on the plate were executed nicely.
Another at the table ordered the Spaghetti Aglio Olio (a steal at 12 dollars) and was very happy with their choice.
Also enjoyable was the Truffle Wild Mushroom Fettucini. The truffle in the name is a bit of a misdirection as it’s just truffle oil (not going to get real truffles in a pasta on Dempsey for 16 SGD) but the wild mushrooms and pasta were decent enough on their own.
Of note for the CMPB to me were the salads. Both people who ordered salads were happy with their choices as the salads were fresh and plentiful… a surprise for a bar menu. The Proscuito & Tomato Salad (14 SGD) was a bit predictable… but still nice and well executed.
The Jumbo Lump Crab Salad with Tropical Fruits (16 SGD) was a bit more adventurous both in ingredients and presentation. On a side note, that martini glass is HUGE (though without something to provide perspective it seems like a regular martini glass). I would love to be have a mixed drink served up to me in that someday!
All in all we had a pleasant evening. I was a bit disappointed in the quality control of the kitchen personally, but to be fair I am attending dinners with a more critical eye than most…but I would consider raw onions a big let down and signs of inexperience at the pass. Having said that, everyone else enjoyed themselves, the vibe, and the cheaper than average (for Dempsey) drinks and food. For those that have been to Spruce I would say it’s a similar concept though not as refined as Spruce. Of all the places I’ve been to on Dempsey, though, I can actually see myself returning here in the future.
Contemporary Melting Pot & Bar
Block 7 Dempsey Hill