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  • Rachel Chia

Brunch at Siri House on Dempsey Hill

Nestled among atas eateries and shops in the upscale Dempsey enclave is Siri House, a self-billed lifestyle concept by Thai property heavyweight Sansiri. The maximalist F&B joint seems to encompass everything: indoor and terrace seating, a lawn area, a bar, a retail area selling Thai-made products, a replica showroom of a luxe apartment that doubles as a private dining space, and even a cosy art gallery. Plenty to do while you wait for your meal.

What’s new here is the weekend all-day brunch menu, which boasts more of the joint’s superbly-executed, mod-Asian cuisine.

Like the rest of its sharing plates, the Lobster Scramble ($21) is meant for groups to enjoy, but all we want to do is hog it for ourselves. Creamy, silky, rich, with a touch of briny umami, it glides right down our throats. The Boston lobster bits are generous and bouncy – a nice counterpoint to the soft eggs. Cream and browned butter add depth. A touch salty, but moreish. We’d come back for this.

Another brunch-exclusive dish is the juicy Katsu Burger ($29), whose star is a meaty slab of Iberico pork ribeye marinated with shirodashi, a concentrated soup base of dashi, white soy sauce, mirin, and sugar. It’s cooked sous vide for four hours before being crumbed and fried, and it shows: the thick patty is juicy and not tough. A house blend of smoked chilli mustard is slathered on top for some heat, followed by a nori mayonnaise comprising roasted seaweed and black vinegar. Cider-and-vinegar pickled red cabbage shreds cut through the richness, and the entire concoction is sandwiched between two halves of a buttery soft milk bun. On the side: excellent fries, obviously hand-cut, with a paper-thin crispy outer layer and fluffy, steaming insides. We love.

Two hot favourites from the regular dinner menu have also migrated to brunch. The first: Unagi Risotto ($33), a clearly fusion dish of – not risotto, but Japanese rice, cooked with shallots and onions, infused with tomato consomme and burnt onion dashi, then mixed with mushrooms sauteed in butter and garlic. It’s an impressively complex endeavour. On top is a respectably smoky slab of grilled eel, glazed with soy sauce; sweet, sticky, and soft. Rounding out the medley is a whisper of heat from shichimi togarashi and a touch of sourness from crunchy yellow pickles. Familiar Japanese notes, yet different enough from the typical unagi don to be interesting.

The second item is photogenic Prawn Pappardelle ($37): two huge roasted tiger prawns and some mussels atop a bed of handmade egg pasta lathered in a smoky, bisque-like sauce that tastes like the mother of all prawn essences. The magic stuff is made of prawn and lobster heads roasted in butter, reduced with cream and mirepoix for over 8 hours, then strained to form a crustacean reduction. The seafood is fresh – we can see why this is a hot fave. If we had to find something to complain about, it’s that the pasta is not quite al dente.

Because it’s brunch, Siri House offers refreshing cocktails at just $12 each, light enough for

daytime drinking. Since we’re driving, we go for the mocktail instead: the herby, botanical Seedlip Spice ($14) comprises pineapple-infused verjus (juice from unripe grapes), soda, and house-made sage syrup, plus a preserved lime wedge for looks. It’s bright, citrusy and not too sweet. Our other pick, the Non 2 Caramelised Pear & Kombu ($14), tastes like a medicinal fruit punch. It’s a zero-alcohol wine of whole pears, kombu, ginger, cardamom, peppercorn, star anise, black tea, clove agave, vanilla, olive brine, verjus and filtered water.

For dessert, we snap away at the prettily-arranged Cherry Sundae ($16), a new item also available for dinner. Inspired by a terrarium, honey balsamic glazed figs, yoghurt ice cream and chunky black cherry compote are layered in a clear glass, then topped with delicate edible flowers. We almost can’t bear to eat it – but when we do, it turns out to be a wonderfully refreshing creation. Crisp dark chocolate feuilletine adds crunch, knobs of Australian finger lime burst with citrus tang, and the figs are sweet and soft. We prefer this to the brunch-exclusive Bombolini ($16): tiny renditions of the fried Italian doughnut perfect for those who haven't had enough carbs by dessert.

Overall, Siri House is an excellent, if underrated, spot. The skill of the chefs is undeniable – nearly every dish was cooked to perfection, with just the right touch of heat. Don’t miss the lobster scramble, a worthy bunch splurge, and the cherry sundae, which tastes as good as it looks.

Siri House, Dempsey Hill

Block 8D #01-02, Dempsey Road, Dempsey Hill, Singapore 249672

Open 11.30am - 10pm from Tues to Thu, 11.30am - 11pm on Fri and Sat, and 11.30am - 9pm on Sun. Closed on Mondays.

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