Burnt Ends is one of the hottest restaurants at Dempsey, Singapore. Reservations for the main dining hall open a month in advance and are quickly snapped up. Those not vigilant enough to get a reservation quick enough (like ourselves) can settle for dining at the cocktail bar area. But, as we found out, there is a big difference in the dining experience.
Burnt Ends Restaurant is described as “a modern barbecue restaurant in Singapore’s Dempsey Hill serving modern Australian barbecue and boutique wines and spirits in a fun, relaxed atmosphere.” It has a Singapore One-Michelin star since it was first awarded in 2018. It takes up a big space at Block 7, but it has a nondescript external appearance. Perhaps therein lies the attraction. What lies behind these plain walls and doors?
The selection of dining area has to be made at the time of reservation at Burnt Ends. There are two main dining zones – The Restaurant and The Cocktail Bar.
Burnt Ends Restaurant Reservation: Main Dining
The Main Dining Area is quite an impressive place. Here are pictures of the main dining hall. Reservations for this area are hard to come by. There are two sections – the Chefs Counter Seating and The Tables. To us, both are equally nice but the counter seems to be very popular as diners can see the BBQ chefs in action at close range.
Main Dining Area (Chefs Counter Seating)
This area was the most active when we visited. It has a vibrancy (see picture at the top of this post) that we did not experience at the cocktail bar area. Perhaps this is where the many diners giving the 5 star ratings are seated.
Main Dining Area (Table)
The tables at the main dining area are comfortable but look less exciting than the counter dining area. This part looks like a regular steak restaurant with the heavy wooden furniture.
Burnt Ends Cocktail Bar Dining Options
At a separate end of the premises is the Burnt Ends Cocktail Bar. This area has different vibes from the restaurant area. Dark and brooding with skulls everywhere, this is like a Batman movie. Obviously having drinks here may be more appropriate, but there are three dining options available here before 11 pm – Cocktail Bar Counter, The Study Room and Cocktail Lounge Tables.
For us the most beautiful dining spot at this area is the Cocktail Bar Counter. It may be dark and impractical as a dining space, but it is an interesting place.
The next best area to eat in this part of the space is the Burnt Ends Study Room. Two high tables with high chairs. It is brighter than the bar counter. This was where we had dinner. It is a suitable place to have a quick dinner, but not a full dinner as we find it hard to maintain a good posture that the high chairs require. The door you see at the end of the room leads to the main dining hall.
Cocktail Lounge Table
In our opinion the least attractive dining area is the cocktail lounge tables. With small and low tables, this is best left for those here for drinks and snacks. It looks difficult to eat comfortably at this area.
Burnt Ends Drinks Menu
Here are a couple of sample pages of the drinks menu at the Cocktail Bar.
Burnt Ends Menu
The Cocktail Bar opens earlier (5 pm) than the main restaurant (6 pm). It has a set menu that costs $250 for 2 pax and is described as Burnt Ends’ Classics.
There was also an a la carte food menu for the cocktail bar area.
After 6 pm, diners at the Cocktail Bar area can also order food from the main restaurant menu. Here is a picture of the Burnt Ends Menu for the main dining area. We selected a few items from the cocktail menu to get us to 6 pm and a few from the main menu after that.
What We Ate and Drank
We selected the Coopers Stout ($14) as a dark, rich stout seemed like the kind of drink to match the dark theme of the surroundings.
From the cocktail menu, we selected the BE Sanger ($15), Cubano Pork Taco ($30) and Beef Marmalade and House Pickles ($16). The Sanger is a pulled pork mini burger. All these items generally tasted ok, but not the Michelin star quality that we were expecting.
Food From the Restaurant Menu
Here are the dishes we ordered from the Main Dining menu – Crab and Pork Sticker ($12 each piece), Eggplant & Miso ($16) and Pakistani Lamb Chops ($48). Generally, these dishes tasted better. The crab stickers were the best dish that day, with sufficient crab meat inside these thin dumplings to make their presence felt.
The Pakistani lamp chops was the best looking dish of the day. The ribs were smothered with curry which, although pleasant, did not allow the lamb flavours to shine.
An audiophile friend once said that having expensive electronics would be wasted in a room with bad acoustics (or something to that effect). Comparing the dining conditions and atmosphere of the restaurant and the bar areas, it may well be that the room situation is as important for dining as it is for listening. For us, any future reservation at Burnt Ends will be at the main restaurant or nothing. This sentiment is for dinner. For drinks and snacks, we are happy to be at the Bar anytime.
Overall Rating: 3 TOPs
Burnt Ends Bar & Grill
7 Dempsey Road, #01-04, Singapore 249671
Restaurant (Counter Seats / Main Dining)
Thursday to Saturday: 12:00 PM – 2:30 PM (Lunch)
Tuesday to Saturday: 6 PM – 11:00 PM (Dinner)
Wednesday to Friday: 5 PM – 1 AM
Saturday and Eve of Public Hols: 5 PM – 2 AM
The Ordinary Patrons | Real Dining Experience of Ordinary People
an independent Singapore food blog