Dinner review: JAM at Siri House at 8D Dempsey Rd, Singapore 249672

I had the pleasure to visit JAM (which represented the founders' names) at Siri House at Dempsey the other week (its the ex-HOUSE at 8D Dempsey) to try out the newish restaurant's dinner menu. It features comfort food by Chef Ming Tan, ex-chef of Lolla and co-owner of Park Bench Deli. The decor of the place is what I'll call "rich person's house" with plush chairs and dim lights, but comfortable. Walking to the 42-seater restaurant from the drop-off will require your phone's flashlight as it involved a flight of stairs down and a dark path but it is worth it.

Siri House is actually a luxury Thai property development company/design house so there's a small "showflat" of sorts of their newest development in Bangkok along with the designer furnishings you can get if you get their penthouse. Jim Thompson wallpapers, etc. could be yours! There are also events and workshops you can conduct here.

Along with dinner we also have a fully functioning cocktail bar with all the drinks, along with a cocktail "cart" serving some pre-mixed bottled cocktails. The Siri House Negroni (S$13) is the only drink that had a Thai component in the entire place, which is hilarious. The cocktail bar is helmed by Sunday Punch’s Mark Tay and Yap Hwee Jen so you know they have the credentials to back up.

Cheers to a good meal! (My hair was recently topped up with colours)

Here's the food menu. As you can see there isn't really any country's cuisine in there (though arguably if I had to pick it might look closest to American + Aussie..?). The idea is to bring out cocktails and comfort food that one might crave in a relaxed setting and make that into an enjoyable meal.  Not quite fine dining, but not your typical cafe fare either - its elevated home dining. Prices are really fair as a result, and it seems a great place for friends to gather!

I was there with my dear friend Steph, who has the same idea for food as I do! We had a cheers moment as we kickstarted the meal with an appetiser, the Chicken in a Biscuit (S$12). Serving recommendation - pick it up and pop it into your mouth with your fingers!

So the dish was inspired by our childhood snack, the Chicken in a Biskit. It has fried chicken skin crumbles, which according toChef Ming is good for health with curative powers such as moisturising dry elbows, alleviating loneliness, clearing unibrow and straightening knock knees... all that, set on top of a chicken fat cookie smeared with spiced cream cheese (flavoured with ginger and garlic). 4/5

Next we had Scallops (S$30) which is wild, hand-dived from a special supplier from Hokkaido near the Russian border. That results in a less generic kind of thick-cut scallops with more character and hint of savouriness instead of being just gentle and sweet. Arame Kombu strands were added on top as the final touch as well. They were light, refreshing and clean, like a early morning walk along the coast, if scallops are your thing. 3.5/5

The next dish is a weekly special which could become a permanent menu item. The Grilled Szechuan Chicken Oysters (S$18) are not seafood, but the tenderloin part of a chicken down its lower back which is very particular - there's only two per chicken so it's more rare/expensive and can't be seen everywhere. But like the armpits of a pig, the oysters of the chicken is probably the most prime cut of the entire body. Tender, juicy, with a right balance of meat and fat. They are marinated with Szechuan peppercorns, chilli flakes, dried chilli, garlic, soy and sugar before being grilled and smoked on bincho-tan and garnished with sautéed ginger, chilli and coriander. The best part is we were given a small bowl of pasteurized egg yolk (sous vide at 57 degrees for 3h) and tare sauce to dip the oyster chicken in to cool it down from the numbing heat. 4.5/5   

Then there's another not so homely dish - the charred Broccollini (S$25) which is finished in the charcoal oven which weighs 500kg. The oven (not the burrata) was hand-carried down the steps to the kitchen, as one of the chefs painfully recounted. Along with the bouncy ball of fresh burrata there's also sumac and quick pickled onions to complement the smoky flavour of the greens. I was a bigger fan of the burrata than the veg TBH but can appreciate the thought behind it. 3/5

What was really homely and comforting to me was the next dish, a main. The Cod (S$38) - a brilliant piece of marketing for the Chilean seabass, which was inspired by the Chinese steamed fish dish with ginger and garlic was a beautiful, fatty piece of fish I would gladly eat every day if its done this way with mushroom dashi and crunchy cubes of burdock. It's something I imagine even my parents liking. 4.5/5

Our next main is their famous Pappardelle (S$33) that everyone has been raving about. And for good reason too. The fresh handmade egg pasta is coated with an extremely prawny, sweet and seafoody sauce made by roasting prawn and lobster heads separately in butter. Those were cooked down gently with cream and mirepoix for more than 8 hours before being strained to form a crustacean reduction - a bisque-like sauce with a concentrated essence of prawn and lobster.  

The al dente flavour bomb was topped with pan-roasted, sustainably caught tiger prawns which is a huge plus point for me. Knowing that the seafood in this restaurant comes from sustainable sources. 4.5/5 MUST TRY.

Last up, its on to desserts. Desserts are prepared by Pastry Chef Charis Wong, who trained and worked in the pastry kitchens of Matt Moran’s Chiswick, Pollen and Whitegrass. She was such a sweet person herself! I really like the play on the apple crumble with the Apple and Ice Cream ($17) dish that used Granny Smith apples, a crumb made from brown sugar, oats, butter and flour and a cinnamon and clove ice cream which had no eggs in there. She also used a particular cinnamon that's the "OG" called Real Ceylon cinnamon. The play of textures, temperature and taste was something every good dessert dish should have. 4/5

Lastly we ended with S’mores ($18), which to be perfectly honest, was the least favourite item of the night for me. The housemade graham cinnamon biscuits sandwich a raspberry ganache made with 64% Valrhona Manjari chocolate and raspberry puree. There's no cream, and the filing is sprinkled also with sea salt and a tiny bit of egg-free marshmallow (made with water, honey, vanilla and gelatin). For me the marshmallow component could make the ganache less intense but it wasn't present. 2/5

We did however have a really good meal all in all! Once again using our fingers to pick up the cookie sandwich and toasting.

JAM at Siri House is such an underrated and awesome place to get some homely yet high quality dishes made with care and love, which you can also pair with some cocktails. I highly recommend the papardelle and the chicken oysters if they are available - and keep a look out for their monthly weekend late breakfast club, complete with a whole roasted pig on the spit at the outdoor verandah!

JAM at Siri House
8D Dempsey Rd, #01-02 Singapore 249672
11.30am-2.30pm (lunch) and 6-10.30pm (dinner)
Closed on Mondays
Reservations online or call 96670533

Thanks to Natasha and JAM at Siri House for the invite!

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