I wouldn't have thought to dine at a restaurant helmed by a self-confessed disgruntled chef, but I was hooked after a taste of their braised pork cheeks at Savour 2014. I suppose the epithet's meant to be an irony stilted in truth, where food is created with a disaffected flair. Just like how the quaint colonial setup in the lush Dempsey dining enclave appears, at first brush, formal and totally chi-chi but is actually refreshingly casual and boasts a relaxed, down-to-earth vibe. In line with its breezy form, you'll be glad to know that you can actually dine here in berms and slippers!
The service staff were perfectly lovely folk, so I actually feel bad for saying that, notwithstanding the warm consideration shown to us at dinner (the manager had very thoughtfully enquired if we wanted our eggs thoroughly scrambled instead of runny because he'd observed that Beeps was preggers), service was choppy and inefficient. There were inordinately long lapses between our courses, a dessert order was taken wrongly, we had to ask for the menu repeatedly, and our water glasses were left parched.
Despite the less-than-stellar service, and the chef's "disgruntledness", the food was excellent. Every dish was executed with an unaffected finesse, refining classically comfort food with a homestyled edge.
The plump Roasted Sea Scallops ($24) were slayed in truffle butter for extra oomph and sat on a bed of delicate green tea puree. A crisp prosciutto and onion films added texture and flavour.
The Crayfish Macaroni & Cheese ($16) was gratinated with cheddar and cream sauce managed to stay light despite the ostensible dairy overload, by layering with bits of diced crayfish.
The Braised Pork Cheeks ($32) could have stayed in the casserole for a while longer, but it was satisfactorily moist and tender. Slices of soft miso-ed daikon and airy truffle mousseline sided this, while a pool of savoury braising sauce lent a homey accent.
The fall-off-the-bone tender Duck Cassoulet ($34) with lyonnaise sausage, coco beans and vine tomatoes, was heartily rustic and evocative of cool Autumns in the French countryside.
The Roasted Salmon ($29), with a delightfully crackling skin and moist flesh, was balanced by crisp green apple strips, creamed fennel and apple balsamic reduction.
A favourite side dish of mine whenever I dine out, the Roasted Mushrooms ($8) were simply tossed with garlic butter for a juicy flavourful earthiness.
A must-try here, the Spinach and Potato Revueltos ($8) was laced with fantastic moist egg scramble. Unabashedly simple, but so incredible in taste.
The Sticky Toffee Pudding ($14) with vanilla ice-cream is the best I'd ever had. I love toffee so I may be a little biased here, but even the Hubs loved it, so that's saying something. Moistened with a stickily sweet caramelisation, and juxtaposed with the icy touch of the vanilla bean ice-cream, the confection was just pure orgasmic heaven.
We'd originally ordered the chocolate fondant, but were mistakenly served the Deconstructed Cheesecake ($16) instead. We were mollified when we tasted the concoction of light cream cheese mousse, crunchy crumble and tart raspberries. Nuanced and balanced, this is a worthwhile order if you prefer a lighter dessert to round off the meal.
The Disgruntled Chef
26B Dempsey Road
Tel: 6476 5305
Open Tuesdays to Thursdays from 12noon to 2.30pm for lunch; 6pm to 10.30pm for dinner
Fridays & Saturdays from 12noon to 2.30pm for lunch; 6pm to 11.30pm for dinner
Sundays from 12noon to 4.30pm for brunch; 6pm to 10.30pm for dinner
Closed on Mondays