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Sunday, 21 February 2016

[Media Invite] Dinner at Jim Thompson Restaurant @ Dempsey Hill

45 Minden Road, Dempsey Road, Singapore 248817
Tel: 6475 6088

Opening Hours:

Mondays to Saturdays

Lunch: 12.00pm to 3.00pm
Dinner: 6.00pm to 12.00am

Lunch: 12.00pm to 3.00pm
Dinner: 6.00pm to 11.00pm

Jim Thompson is the renowned Thai silk company with retail shops around the world. Tonight, we are honoured to fine-dine at the contemporary, elegant Jim Thompson Thai Restaurant, located at Dempsey Hill heritage area.

Cuisine-wise, Jim Thomspon Thai Restaurant offers a definitive menu with more than 80 classic Thai dishes. The menu does not contain any pork items at all, and even features some dishes suitable for vegetarians, therefore it is suitable for anyone to dine here.  They go by an "Absolutely Thai, Thompson-style" approach - many recipes have been tested by the chefs to refine classical Thai dishes to what they believe would be delicious even to experienced palettes; and the culinary, menu and interior decor all reflect an alluring mix of tradition and innovation that is inspired by Jim Thompson the founder and his Bangkok mansion.

The kitchen is helmed by executive chef Mr. Jarutus Aumpha and an expert team of Thai nationals. While dining, lovely Thai dancers would don themselves in colorful, traditional Thai costumes and perform gracefully for us at designated intervals.

They also have an extensive wine list as well as interesting array of flavoured Mojitos and Martinis etc.

Decor-wise, the design of the place is luxurious and palatial from exterior to interior, the result of the company's $3.5million investment. The exterior is spacious and tasteful - one may choose to sit on the lawn section or polished wood grounds, flanked by intricate decorative pieces heavily-accented in Thai style.

The interior is elegant and dazzling, with its dramatic 15-metre ceilings, free-standing columns, gilded furniture, Siamese glass wall mosaics, bold floor mosaics, Thai silk furnishings, Thai artifacts and sculptures, morphing the beautiful restaurant into an artistic dining hall.

This was an invited media tasting attended by representatives from Hungrygowhere and other reviewers / bloggers including IvanTeh and Epicurious Caniggia.

We started with some exotic Thai Cocktails, the list of which is as follows (starting with top left):-
(i) Siam Sunrise Cocktail (SGD$26.00) - Courvoiser Exclusif, homemade ginger syrup, fresh lime juice, fresh lemon juice, fresh mint, fresh orange and ginger ale;
(ii) Lemongrass Infusion Mocktail (SGD$16.00) - fresh lemongrass, fresh apple juice, lemonade, ginger;
(iii) Thompson Mojito (SGD$28.00) - lemongrass-infused vodka, fresh lemongrass, fresh mint, fresh lime, lemongrass syrup and bitterlemon;
(iv) Bangkok At Night Cocktail (SGD$24.00) - Mekhong Whiskey, malibu rum, kahlua and fresh pineapple juice;
(v) Jim Thompson Cooler (SGD$24.00) - gin, fresh lime juice, homemade ginger syrup, fresh mint leaves and ginger ale; and
(vi) Thompson Margarita (SGD$30.00) - patron silver tequila, grand marnier and fresh lime juice.

Being a Mojito lover, I absolutely enjoyed the version here very much, loving the refreshing infusion of lemongrass adding an exotic touch to the conventional cocktail.

For food, we started with The Sukhothai Set (SGD$35.00 for 2 pax / SGD$45.00 for 3 pax / SGD$55.00 for 4 pax), consisting of deep-fried marinated chicken wrapped in pandan leaves, prawns wrapped with yellow noodles in rice paper and deep fried, curried fish cakes and green mango salad with prawns and cashew nuts.

Prawns were utterly fresh in this platter, and we especially enjoyed the tangy spiciness of the Mango Salad with its fresh crisp, whetting our appetites greatly. There were also shallots, dried shrimps, and a chilli lime dressing in it.

I loved the crackling texture of the Prawn spring rolls and light sweetness of the prawns but thought it was a little bland in taste overall.

The Chicken in Pandan Leaves was normal;  in this version, the chicken was moistened and juicy but we thought it would've been tastier if it were simply "pandan chicken" with appropriate infusion of pandan's fragrance.

The Curried Fish Cake was buoyant in texture, firm yet easy to sink the teeth into. It was redolent of fish's flavour but heightened by the slight pierce of curry's aroma.

Next, Tom Yum Goong (SGD$24.00 for single portion / SGD$46.00 for family portion) - hot and spicy soup with prawns, mushrooms, galangal, lemongrass, shallots and bird's eye chili. The piping hot soup was served in a tiny bowl complete with lid, for single's portion; I liked it as I thought it was a very elegant and personalised gesture. The soup was thick and spicy, and I loved the fresh springy texture of the prawns.

Then it was Pineapple Fried Rice (SGD$22.00 for single portion / SGD$60.00 for family portion) - fried rice served in a pineapple husk with cashew nuts, onions, black raisins and prawns. The rice had a good texture, almost al dente, not too soft; well-oiled yet not greasy. The pineapple bits added zest to the rice dish; a satisfying staple made sumptuous.

The Morning Glory (SGD$16.00) aka KangKong was stir-fried in flames with garlic and bird's eye chili in a yellow-bean and oyster sauce. Seemingly simple, this dish lit the flames of desire of the palate and was very soft.

The Stir-fried Beef Tenderloin (SGD$28.00) with garlic, bird's eye chili and holy basil was one of my favoritest dishes here. Think succulent beef tenderloin strips amongst velvety, soft basil leaves, exotically-scrumptious with a soft minty likeliness and gently touch of spiciness from the bird's eye chillies. This dish was simple, unassuming yet robust in flavour.

Following that, we had the Green Curry with Chicken (SGD$26.00 for single portion / SGD$48.00 for family portion) was served in a hotpot so that it was kept sizzling hot throughout the meal. The thick, creamy curry heightened the sensation in the tongue with its spiciness; we enjoyed this but thought the chicken within to be unimpressive.

Last but not least, the Steamed Seabass (SGD$68.00 market price - check current rate upon ordering) in garlic chili lime sauce was bursting with freshness; its ivory flesh tender, melty and luscious, made tasty by the flavourful sauce exploding in the mouths.

Time for desserts! We started with Classic Thai Coconut Ice-Cream (SGD$16.00) served in coconut husk and decorated with cempedek / jackfruit strips and fresh orchid flower. What a pretty little dessert that was nectarous in taste defining coconut's distinctive flavour. The cempedek / jackfruit strips added a significant improvisation to the lighter taste of the ice-cream. The coconut flesh in the husk were juicy, cottony-soft and incredibly beautiful though.

Next, Mango Sticky Rice (SGD$20.00) drizzled with coconut milk is a classical Thai dessert loved and welcomed by many. The ripe mango slices were juicy, saccharine and velvety soft; the sticky rice surprised us with its smooth, light texture unlike the usual denser, stickier versions we are accustomed to.

Finally, Red Ruby (SGD$12.00) aka Crunchy Water Chestnuts heavily coated with tapioca flour and served in luscious coconut milk with shaved ice. As the name implied, the tiny water chestnut balls burst in the palates sweetly upon contact with the teeth; the creamy coconut milk seeping into our mouths in a cooling and sweet fashion - a relief after the spicier, heavier food items we had earlier on.

The overall dining experience here was pretty spectacular, with exciting ambience, excellent service and quality food items to boost of. Thank you Jim Thompson for the lovely experience and hosting; and thank you Hungrygowhere for the invite.

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