Pamplemousse is a fairly new, casual bistro at Dempsey serving modern French food. We’d been meaning to try it for a while, but have been unsuccessful in getting last minute reservations on Friday nights. To our surprise, A’s friend KH managed to snag a table for 10 on Saturday afternoon for dinner that very night.
Their menu concept is interesting. They don’t have an a la carte menu; instead they have either a 6-course chef’s tasting menu for $98, or smaller set menus – 2 course for $48, or 3 course for $58. Note that those are the prices for the most basic selections though. If you want some of the more premium items, those come with supplemental charges. These supplements range from $8 extra for the uni tagliolini, to $30 for a chargrilled ribeye.
A and I decided to go for the tasting menu, since it contained all of the items that we wanted to try anyway. Little did we know that their portions are HUGE here, and they don't really reduce the size of your portions when you order the 6-course vs a 3-course. Needless to say, it was too much, even for atetoomuch. Next time we’ll stick with a 3-course.
The starter was a citrus-marinated salmon. I still don’t know if the salmon was just cured, or cooked very slowly at a very low temperature, but it was perfectly pink all the way through, with a slightly firm texture.
Next up was the porcini mushroom soup. The soup was smooth, earthy and topped with strips of golden mushrooms and a couple of plump escargots. This was perfectly decent, but if I had to compare, the mushroom cappuccino at Sage still comes out tops.
That was followed by the monkfish cheek, which was honestly quite forgettable. Maybe I’m not a fan of the slightly tough texture of monkfish, but I found this a bit dry and hard and not particularly flavourful.
The next dish was one of the main reasons I wanted to try Pamplemousse – the uni tagliolini. Thin tagliolini pasta is cooked in a rich shellfish bisque sauce, topped with uni, chives and tiny morsels of crispy pork fat. There was nothing about this dish that I didn’t absolutely love, and is the one dish that I’ll come back to Pamplemousse for. Definitely lived up to my expectations (and probably the only dish that really did).
After a palate cleansing apple cider sorbet, the main course arrived. We both had the duck confit, because the alternative main course was a wagyu striploin that entailed a $55 supplement. I appreciate that they don’t skimp on their portions, but in this particular case, the main course could have benefitted from being a bit more streamlined. After all the food that we had, I think such a large portion was actually counterproductive. Good tasting menus should have portion sizes that leave you just satisfied enough and wanting just one more bite, whereas it was a struggle to finish the entire portion of a considerably large duck leg. Taste-wise, this was ok but I actually prefer the light simplicity of the duck confit at La Petite Cuisine at Serene Centre. The best part of this dish was actually the lychees in the sauce.
Finally dessert, which was called Toast and Milo, but which actually comprised a toasted brioche slice topped with caramelized banana slices, paired with a milo ice cream on shaved nutella “soil”. I really liked this, but I’m still very puzzled by the bananas in my portion. They were frozen in the centre, so I passed them to A, and when he tried mine, he said his were warm all the way through! Bizarre…
Service was excellent. We actually booked a table for 9, and when we realised that we had an extra person, without any complaint they carried a table in for us from outside to accommodate our party. Food was prompt, and servers were polite and knowledgeable.
There were some hits and misses here, but I would go back again for the uni, and A for the salmon. Their starters seem better than their mains here, so maybe next time we’ll go for the 3 course, and see if we can order 2 appetisers and a dessert instead.
The food was good and portions were surprisingly large, which considering the 6-course menu was $98++, actually made it relatively value-for-money.
Service was also very good so we’ll be back for a cheap 2 or 3 course set at some point.
Pamplemousse Bistro + Bar
Block 7, Dempsey Road
Tue–Fri: 12pm–2.30pm, 6.30pm–10.30pm
Sat–Sun: 11.30am–2.30pm, 6.30pm–10.30pm
(Closed on Mon)