New restaurant, Provisions Dempsey describes itself as follows: “Singapore’s first Skewers & Claypot Cocktail Bar. We serve comforting foods of South East Asia in provincial formats; in an earthen wear vessel and on a stick.” It is located in Block 7 which is right at the back of the Dempsey restaurant area. This part of Dempsey is nice and quiet as the road in front leads to a dead-end. The lush foliage made us feel like we were visiting a restaurant in Bali.
There is an outdoor seating area at Provisions Dempsey. The indoor area is done up in the bare industrial style. It looks quite attractive. However, the seating which was in the form of high stools was rather uncomfortable. Other than the seating, all initial impressions of the new restaurant was positive. We were warmly greeted and shown to our table.
Initial impressions got even better after one of the owners introduced us to the freebies at the restaurant. There was an area where sweets and snacks from the good old days were made available. It is the only place we know in Singapore with do-it-yourself kachang puteh. Coffee was also free at Provisions Dempsey. A large pot of coffee on a warmer was ready for diners. It was refreshing to see such gestures of goodwill these days when restaurants are charging for tap water and chilli. We were beginning to like dining in a provision shop even before trying a single dish!
Provisions Dempsey Menu
Provisions is run by an organisation known as Union Bridge Lifestyle. As indicated on their website, the food on the menu are mainly items served in claypots or on skewers. Here are pictures of parts of the Provisions Dempsey menu, Sunday brunch menu and drinks list.
On Sundays they offer one free skewer for five ordered. We tried the beef sirloin ($10), octopus ($10), sotong ($8), prawns ($9), chicken thigh ($5) and pork belly ($7). It is fair to say that all the skewers were fine but not very memorable. It could be that the sauces used in marination were strong, such that the natural flavours of the ingredients were masked. The best skewers of the lot we tried were the pork belly (char siew) and the sotong.
We also tried the mackerel fish cake. It is turned out to be a four-inch square otah. It was good in that we could actually see and taste the bits of minced fish. But the texture was too mushy. We would prefer otah with a firmer, tauter consistency.
One item on the Sunday brunch menu was the 5-grain congee that came with a free flow of vegetables ($8). We enjoyed this dish a lot. The 5 grain porridge was very good. Served in a claypot it contained an egg and some chopped vegetables. We would be happy if that was all it was. But there were also three side dishes -pumpkin, radish and a mix of vegetables and tofu skin. All three were very good. The stewed radish seemed like an item out of the Japanese oden pot. We did not try asking for refills as we were sharing the dishes and it won’t be fair on the restaurant.
It was tough to choose which type of claypot rice to order from the list on the menu. In the end we tried something that looked unusual. Oyster omelette claypot rice ($18). We had imagined that it would be egg and oyster cooked within the rice. But that was not the case. A portion of fried omelette with oyster was placed on top of the rice together with some vegetables. It required a bit of stirring to mix up the contents so that the flavours of the ingredients got infused in the rice. When that was done, the taste was very good. There were a few medium-sized oysters. They were juicy and had a good taste.
Overall it was an interesting Sunday brunch at Provisions Dempsey. It was good to have a new brunch option in addition to the usual Western egg Benedict and the Chinese dim sum choices. The good service and unexpected freebies were the icing on the cake.
Food: 5 (for claypot items); 3 (for skewer items)
Overall Rating : 4 TOPs
Provisions (Union Bridge Lifestyle)
7 Dempsey Road
Tel: +65 6250 7090
Tuesday – Thursday 4 pm – 1 am
Friday & Saturday 4 pm – 2 am
Sunday 10.30 am – 3 pm