Dempsey isn’t the island’s most accessible area, but the enclave is home to a wealth of gourmet destinations and private spaces — most private of them all being the carefully hidden Siri House.
To get to the Mod-Asian restaurant, you’ll need to follow some colourful signs, descend down a verdant (if dodgy) garden path and follow an incongruous wooden deck. But round the corner and you’ll be greeted by a scene that wouldn’t look too out of place in Gatsby’s microcosm of the Jazz age. Welcome to Siri House, the Mod-Asian restaurant that’s high on pizzazz, but low on pretence.
Don’t be intimidated by the decadent velvet armchairs and gold-veined bar counters. You won’t be needing your suit and tie for a meal here, nor any airs: as head chef Leo Pang — whose culinary pedigree includes the likes of New York’s storied Le Benardin — likes to quip, these are dishes that he and his team grew up with and would gladly serve to guests in their own homes.
The restaurant’s new lunch menu is proof of that. It starts with the deliciously uncomplicated Bao, which is, as the name describes, a heavenly meat bun that features a thick, melty slab of pork belly topped with a savoury horseradish sriracha sauce — and it’s best eaten with your hands.
Siri House’s take on burrata is also worth mentioning: here, the creamy cheese is paired with a red chilli salsa (which includes brined ghost peppers that add a delightful layer of spice and heat), garlic chive crumbs, and crispy homemade papadums to create a fun, communal sharing dish.
The transition to the mains is what really drives home the sense of dining at someone’s (very opulent) home. Opt for the wholesome Duck Noodles and you’ll be greeted by a soul-warming broth of salted vegetables, umeboshi and old ginger. It comes topped with tender slices of duck that has taken a lengthy steep in five-spice powder before being pan-seared and then grilled on a bincho tan — a task so laborious that the effort feels almost familial.
The Unagi Risotto presents another unfussy dish that can be eaten without too much fanfare: a tender slab of grilled unagi glazed with sweet soy sits prettily atop a bed of rice infused with a mixture of burnt onion dashi and tomato consommé — a cosy dish that’s heavy on umami.
Siri House also presents two new desserts to round off your meal: the Orange & Chocolate, and the Tropical Tau Huay. Though the Orange & Chocolate is a toothsome delight served with melt-in-your-mouth dehydrated mousse chips, it’s the Tropical Tau Huay that seals the deal: cold coconut cream is set with wobbly gelatin and paired with piquant passionfruit and mango bits to create a refreshing dessert that’s sweet without being overly cloying.
It’s the sort of finisher that you can take your time chipping away at (without the risk of feeling “cart-me-away” bloated) while you wrap up an agreeable afternoon with friends — which is exactly what our afternoon at Siri House has felt like.