Welcome to Moonbow, Dempsey Hill’s latest darling that’s nestled in a hidden corner of the dining enclave.
Before we begin, there’s one thing we have to highlight: Moonbow isn’t a fine-dining locale. Sure, the Sketch-esque pastel pink, grey and gold accents may seem a lot more luxurious than other laidback establishments in the area, but what it’s looking to recreate is an elevated dining space that’s still incredibly comfortable to be in.
Take the table setting for instance. In place of white table cloths is the Moonbow Times, a mock newspaper placemat with information about the restaurant and a couple of its signature plates.
The newly-opened establishment finds itself under the purview of two co-founders, Dylan Soh and chef Heman Tan. Besides being a triathlete, chef Heman Tan is also a certified nutritionist and a ceramist. Did we mention he designed all the ceramic plates here? Thankfully, the man of many hats doesn’t falter in any.
If you’re wondering what style of dishes this beautiful space has to offer, the team at the restaurant won’t hesitate to let you know they serve “modern European cuisine with an Asian influence.”
Maybe you’re a bovine fanatic. Perhaps you’re into a bit of theatrics too. If you find yourself resonating with both descriptions, then the Angus Beef Short Ribs stand in the perfect cross-section. The covered ceramic plate is first placed gently on the table, before your server lifts the cover with swirled finesse to reveal wafts of rosewood smoke.
The slow-braised, 100-day grain-fed Angus beef falls apart with ease, accompanied by olive pearls, purple potato mash and crispy parsnip that follow through with the same subtle smokiness.
But the concept of “Modern European with Asian influence” really takes centre stage with the Black Silkie Poulet. The arresting visual of the chargrilled chicken leg isn’t lost on diners either, especially since it’s black chicken, which although regularly used in Chinese cuisine is usually hidden beneath a nourishing, antioxidant-rich broth.
Here, the fowl is first brined with sugar and saltwater before being seasoned with sweet paprika and garlic, and then left to sous vide for three hours to create extra tender and juicy meat. After a dusting of gold powder, the entire leg — claw and all — is served with a piquant Bearnaise Sauce, Ugly Heirloom Tomatoes and dollops of mashed wolfberry and black garlic purée.
If you’re more on the conservative side when it comes to visuals, order the comforting Fermented Red Yeast Wine instead, an aromatic barramundi-based plate that’s bathed in the familiar sweet and sour fermented red yeast wine sauce.
We can’t pass up dessert, especially not if it comes in a two-tiered box and a server who pours liquid nitrogen into a bowl of orange granita. The treats — made to resemble a traditional Eight Treasure Box — include sugary petit fours like the Financier Raspberry and the Truffle Cheese Macaron, as well as a pistachio souffle that’s paired with a warm chocolate drizzle on the side. The Petite Apple Crumble Tartlets were a standout — think a fluffy churro base topped with tangy stewed apples.
Moonbow’s diverse menu might seem out of focus at times, especially with dishes that highlight European or Asian cuisine rather than a harmonious choir of both. Yet, there’s a silver lining (or should we say moonbow?) to be seen.
In typically modern, well-dressed establishments like these, it’s challenging to find a balanced menu incorporating plates from both cuisines that seem familiar yet innovative at the same time. In that fashion, Moonbow’s duality crafts a wonderful middle ground, suitable for occasions like first dates, Sunday brunch or even an outing out with your beloved matriarch.
Moonbow is located at Block 10, #01-21 Dempsey Rd, 247700.