Dempsey hill was formerly a British army barracks and the old CMPB national service enlistment centre. Today, the rustic conservation buildings still remain and it has turned into a charming wining, dining and lifestyle enclave amidst a lush scenic landscape.
Dempsey Hill Hot
Dempsey on the upper
There was a time when this was a wonderful place to visit. Antiques, lovely wine bars, fun restaurants and a feeling of going back in time. Now it has moved on and up in the world, if you consider becoming far posher an improvement. Some of the older establishments have moved on and been replaced by ballrooms, organic (and naturally expensive) food stores, upper class and cost restaurants and the like.
It is still worth a visit, but you pay a lot more and I am not so sure you get the additional value.
Nonetheless, it remains a fascinating part of Singapore. At least now, most of the old army buildings are used. Time was when a few remained derelict. A few years ago, several remained undeveloped. Is that a good thing? It depends.
I like Cam @ House for everything about it: decor, service, food and the feeling of being on the edge, so to speak. I often wonder why no one ever developed the old school / college building you can see from its verandahs. Perhaps a boutique hotel called the Classroom?
Thankfully, a few other charms remain. Samy's (which, of course, is not really on top of the hill, more like on the fringe of things) has remained almost the same. I hope they never run out of banana leaves. And the Wine Company is still one of my favourites. But then, that is because I love anything where you feel you are in the bush or a garden or greenery. And when you think about it, that applies to a lot in Singapore.
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Beautiful Night time getaway
This place has always appealed to me as one with fine, high-class dining. Obscured by a barrier of trees and shrubs, this place is difficult to get to unless I have a family member driving.
Nonetheless, if that obstacle is cleared, this place is just wonderful to be at night. With dimly-lit fairy lights on the nearby trees accompanying the orange lights from the different food outlets, the place seems strangely romantic in the soft echoing of the cicadas from the trees and the warm lighting that barely engulfs one. Any figure has either become a silhouette or revealing a slight bit of profile. Even the obscuring trees that make it a hassle to travel there makes a good sound-proof barrier that encloses the space, making it almost silently quiet with the exception of the sounds of nature.
Although this place is conducive for a nice date night, one of the gems here is the Ben and Jerry's outlet. Situated right at the front of the entrance, the shop has swings outside the shop which can be enjoyed together with the ice cream. The interior of the shop on the other hand, is vintage-like, while playing soft music.
A really beautiful place.
Rakuichi Japanese Restaurant
I had the privilege of visiting Rakuichi Japanese Restaurant, which is located at Dempsey Hill, with a friend. I went on a weekday afternoon for lunch, and was pleasantly surprised to find it quite empty, and quiet enough for a good conversation. After perusing through their menu, I ordered their assorted Aburi set, which comes with about 7 pieces of semi-grilled sushi. Absolutely delicious and mouth-watering, and even if you're someone who doesn't like Sashimi that much, Aburi will be perfect for you, with just the right combination of rawness and flavour.
The set that I ordered was a good portion size for me as I'm not a big eater. However, if you think you will still be hungry, you may choose to order an extra bowl of rice. My set also came with Japanese ice-cream, which I tried in black sesame flavour. Not too bad, it had authentic flavour and I could taste the small bits of black sesame. Worth a try!
According to my friend, their pork belly is also worth it but unfortunately I did not try it for myself. It was quite fatty though, so if you like pork fat, then do try out the pork belly. I also tried their salmon and loved the sauce that came with it. The salmon was cooked just right, not too hard nor raw.
Overall, a good Japanese restaurant to visit, and definitely a must-go for their famed Aburi sushi. Thumbs up.
3 minutes and you are in a different world
I love dempsey. Thank god for dempsey and the people who made something here after it became obsolete.
This lovely leafy place is a mere 3 minutes drive from the heart of Orchard yet you feel like you are in a different world altogether. This is why Singapore is amazing, every 10 minutes you enter a different world. (Just like how 5 minutes from Orchard you are in Little India)
I come here very often, for leisure, for work or just to park and buy thinking time. It is of course free parking, really rare in Singapore and this goes with the whole vibe of the place, a laid back old world 'town' that is not for people chasing after the next departing train.
I love how there is a very good mix of eateries. I hate some i love some and i'm okay with some. I will go to Dome for my cheap coffee and salad fix, go to B&J for ice-cream and the toilet, stop at Jones the Grocer for an ice coffee or some breakfast, bring my clients to Jumbo for some chili crabs, avoid HOUSE because the manager told me it's not possible to have tea/coffee in the patio as the kitchen is too far, eat at Chop Suey to feel like a rich person during the colonial times, have a yummy dessert at PS cafe and breathe in the lilies, the list doesn't really ends.
I have so much memories on this lovely hill. These are my memories. As for my dad, dempsey was the place he reported to for his national service. As for Karl, lagerfeld that is, its his batik inspired cruise collection. What's yours?
A thrill down my spine
The legendary Dempsey Hill... Everyone’s been there. The perfect Instagram shots were all etched with Dempsey Hill tags. It was a humid night, having walked for 20 minutes from the bus stop (and not to mention up a hill) and lugging bags of office supplies, I grit my teeth and went on, “This better be worth it.” Alas, to my disappointment, the place was pitch dark and seemingly unattractive. Or rather, its beauty was masked by the darkness.
There were no proper signboards and even if there were, they were so poorly lit we barely could make out what it wrote. There was barely a soul around. We scouraged through the dark, with occasional scares from croaking parrots, peculiar coloured waterfalls resembling Buddhist praying altars and faces of mystical stone statues. (Imagine seeing an inhumane face in complete darkness) There was only one word to describe my experience, eerie.
This is absolutely unlike what I had imagined Dempsey Hill to be. My initial impression of it was a bustling tropical street, thriving with boutique cafes like Coastal Settlement and P.S. Café. What a vast difference isn’t it.
In the end, we managed to drop by The House, The Dome, The Green Door (after a painstaking 1 hour) and well, it wasn’t too bad. But I felt that it wasn’t worth my trip, unless I had a car, with STRONG headlights. Some people say it’s part of the experience searching for the restaurants. Well, I do feel that immense joy of uncovering hidden cafes but somehow Dempsey Hill, it just doesn’t feel much like an adventure.
Great place for tea or dinner
Dempsey Hill is a great place for tea and dinner and I have seen many restaurants come and go over the years. The place is serene but not very accessible so if you have a car it will be a good place to bring a date, or a place to catch up with friends.
I used to visit it Ben & Jerry's and the old Hacienda Cafe a lot when I was younger, but now PS Cafe @ Dempsey is one of my favourite haunts. Great place to chill, good food and service and the crowd makes you feel like you are out of town.
It's time to feast!
Everytime i enter Dempsey Hill, I would be greeted by parrots. It's amazing how there are parrots in the other places of Singapore except the Zoo or Night Safari. Another attraction is the gigantic black koi fish at the fish pond in the middle of Dempsey Hill. I think if any kids drop into the pond, that fish is huge enough to swallow the kid whole.
Majority of people go to Dempsey Hill to get their stomachs filled with ample options of restaurants and cafes. Some might go these to shop at the Australian supermarkets, Jones the Grocer. I usually get my extra virgin olive oil there.
If you're looking for a place to chill and have a drink or cake, you might want to try domes cafe. It's a great place to chit chat and relax. If you're looking for high class restaurants then you have also come to the right place. With restaurants like la fondue and margarita, red dot and many others, you won't be disappointed. It's the prefect place to try unique food but if you're looking to shop i suggest it's better to stick to town area.
Lovely place for great meals!
I have been here a couple of times to check out the unique restaurants they have here. This place comes really abuzz at night and the atmosphere is really really good. Calm and serene, great for night dinners, parties and drinks. Even after that, one can chill and take a night stroll under the stars. Sounds pretty romantic too no?
One thing would have to be that if the restuarants are right deep up the hill, one would have to take a cab or drive all the way up, if not the walk up may not be pleasant. Unless you want to burn some calories for the incoming dinner.
This hill houses quite a few popular cafes and restaurants like Jones the Grocer, HOUSE @Dempsey, Muthu's Kitchen, Prive and many other awesome dining options. When I went there with my friend one day, we trek along the paths, checking out what restaurants and shops they have there. And we were pleasantly surprised to find some artsy shops to cater to those interested.
My favourite place on earth
Dempsey Hill, unfortunately, had been tagged to an unpleasant emotion for a long time. Not because of anything but the fact that I discovered it during a relationship that ended badly for me. However, I'm over that and can fully enjoy the place once again.
However, after going back, I found the eating places there over priced, and not to sound bitter, extremely pretentious. I feel that I feel this way mainly because of my two year stint on that volunteer ship that comes every now and again to Singapore. At the end of the day, Dempsey Hill (to me… This truly is merely an opinion) seems to be a place where the rich elitists coagulate to talk about unimportant, and trivial matters, like money and how poor people don't have souls.
Well, I guess I'm still a little bitter. :)
Yay for free parking
Dempsey Hill is renowned for the crowd it attracts — those with money (and nice cars) and foreign expats. I like Dempsey for its environment — it is quaint, tranquil and away from noise and crowds, something that is lacking in other areas in the current “overcrowded” Singapore. There are tons of restaurants here, perfect for gatherings and chilling out.
The best part about Dempsey is that parking is free! If you drive deeper into Dempsey you’d be able to feast your eyes on the glorious bungalows and scenes that would make good photography spots (but don’t trespass, of course!)
Another side of the island
Dempsey Hill caters to the richer people that live in Singapore, as the place consists mostly of high end restaurants and eateries, like Jones the Grocer, Roadhouse, PS cafe and The Disgruntled Chef, to name a few. There are a few mid-range restaurants and cafes, but those are the minority.
I like going to Dempsey Hill as it feel like I'm in another country. The rustic yet modern take on the decor of the entire place leaves me feeling dreamy. I like to come here with friends and family for celebratory meals, as the food here are much higher priced and thus, I only come here when there's a special event.
The roads here are not well-lit, which can be quite dangerous, but it adds to the ambiance of the place, and this is further supported by the fairy lights that are hung on the trees. It almost seems surreal and this is why I enjoy visiting Dempsey Hill.