Posted by: tonkatsudelights | July 6, 2007

Back to Dempsey Road


When I just moved to Singapore in 2001, the orientation guide that was hired by my company brought me to Dempsey Rd. She wanted to show me where to go to get teakwood furnitures and antiques. Dempsey Rd. was included in the agenda as it was definitely one of the area of interest for most of the expatriates who came to Singapore. Lunch was at Samy’s Curry — which, if I’m not mistaken, was the only eating place in Dempsey Rd. at that time.

There was no PS Cafe. There was no Wine Company. And the likes.

Fast forward to 2007. Gone are the days when the nights at Dempsey Rd. are dark and quiet. You see cars lining up to get in or to get out of the area. Or parked all along the way. You see restaurants. You see bars and cafes. New furniture shops. Night crowds. Singaporeans and foreigners alike. A lot of foreigners.

With the spirit of trying a new place, we went to an Italian restaurant called Fabbrica.

The first thing that caught our attention is clearly the cosy setting and the ambience. With high ceiling and all glass doors that they open through and through, the place is very airy. And bright. Well, probably too bright to my liking. The lightings were just so bright that it beats the tealights, which certainly do not serve its purpose to bring the intimate setting.  I particularly love the textures on the walls of the restaurants and the bar.

The bar at Fabbrica A snapshot of Fabbrica 

The waitress who first waited on our table speaks in a strange accent. And did not seem to readily understand what we were saying. The owners were very much involved in the running of the place. At least, with them involved, the service at our table were relatively fast.

Whether it’s friendly and attentive, well… I can only say that it is very subjective and I still can not make up my mind at this point in time.

My menu for the night is filo-wrapped foie gras with pinot noir reduction and pear compote as the starter, squid ink taglierini with lobster in light tomato emulsion for the main, and a glass of prosecco. No desserts.

Filo-wrapped foie gras with pinot noir reduction and pear compote Squid ink taglierini with lobster in light tomato emulsion

From the description in the menu, I couldn’t tell much about how the foie gras would look like. When it finally appeared, I was pleasantly surprised because it was done in the way that I like. Not that I don’t like to try something new, but at least I know I’m gonna enjoy this starter. It was served with arugula in what looked like balsamic dressing. The plus here (vs. what I usually eat) is the sweet pear compote. Though they probably give it too much. It is very sweet so just a little amount of it is needed to spice up the foie gras.

The same sentiment, however, can not be said about the squid ink taglierini. On the overall, I would say that it’s just so-so. Okay, I admit I am a fan of pasta in squid ink dressing, not merely squid ink pasta. But I was expecting that at least they do a good squid ink pasta. If not for the dark color, I wouldn’t have noticed the difference in taste at all. Well, at the least, it was done al dente.

Ms. PF, not being an Italian food fan, was not very satisfied with her pasta as well and probably more disappointed in the overall dining experience. For a roughly $100 bill, I would say that there are other Italian restaurants in Singapore that offers better value. A trip back to this place is just a ‘maybe’. Maybe, if I am craving to have sweet pear compote with my foie gras. But most likely, not.

After the dinner, we chose to walk around the area a bit. It was already later than 11pm but Dempsey Rd was still quite crowded. There was no resemblance whatsoever to the Dempsey Rd that I saw back in 2001. A big change, indeed. Oh, one thing hasn’t changed. The ever popular Samy’s Curry is still there.

 –> One of the place that caught my attention. Hacienda. It looked packed and happening. Make a mental note to check it out some other day.


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