The menu though is far from posh or disruptive, featuring a mishmash of European classics and Asian-inspired fare

While the Dempsey Hill’s laidback appeal continues to attract its fair share of casual gourmands, a few of its recent F&B openings are flaunting more sophisticated designs. The latest is Moonbow by first-time restaurateur Dylan Soh and veteran local chef Heman Tan, who also helms the kitchen. The duo had envisioned a somewhat whimsical setting—a room dressed in a palette of pastels and muted champagne hues, decked out with plush seats and elegant lighting, and in one corner, a 4m-tall artistic installation of naturally dried branches gathered “from a private garden” adorned with magnolia flowers. Diners have a full view of the open kitchen and the bar located beside the entrance to the patio dining area where brunch can be enjoyed.

Equally charming is how the restaurant takes its name from a natural phenomenon also known as a lunar rainbow, that Heman had witnessed while brainstorming ideas for the restaurant name last year.

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There are attempts to elevate the dining experience, such as a starter of Fine de Claire oysters served with yuzu gel, cucumber pearl and yuzu granita, and oyster leaves that seem to work better as distractions for the uninitiated oyster eater than as apt complements to the dish. A similar approach is found with the starter of escargot paired with fresh micro cress, truffle gelato, lychee pearls, mushroom soil and mashed edamame.

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Nonetheless, some encouraging ideas can be found peppered across the selection of mains. Such is a serving of grilled black silkie chicken leg served with garlicky crumb, bearnaise sauce, wolfberry mash, black garlic purée, heirloom tomatoes and chives. And the Filet de Barramundi, prepared with fermented red glutinous rice wine, oyster mushrooms and Sweet Alyssum flowers, from the same selection of Asian-influenced European dishes. It's a promising start, to be sure, though a more coherent concept of cuisine style is necessary.

Moonbow is located at Block 10 Dempsey Road, #01-21, tel: 9010 2717