Jim Thompson Restaurant Tasting Session

Jim Thompson Restaurant Tasting Session
45 Minden Road

Opening Hours:
Mon - Sat: 12pm - 3pm (Lunch), 6pm - 12am (Dinner)
Sun: 12pm - 3pm (Lunch), 6pm - 11pm (Dinner)


This was an invited media review. I did not pay for the meal during the free hosted tasting session.
Attended with representatives from HungryGoWhere, Epicurious Caniggia, and The Arctic Star.

Tom Yum Goong / Tom Yum Soup With Chili Paste (SGD $24 / $46)

Thai Fine Dining With Fantastic Ambience

(Ratings: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 = Worst and 10 = Best)
Overall: 7
Ambience & Setting: 10
Food & Beverage: 7
Service: 9
Value for Money: 7
Budget about SGD $85 ++ per person.


There aren't many Thai fine dining restaurants in Singapore, but I'm happy to say that Jim Thompson Restaurant is among them. Operated as part of the famous Thailand silk company and museum headquartered in Bangkok, the Jim Thompson Restaurant in Singapore Dempsey Hill is only 1 of 4 such fine dining establishments worldwide. Opening its doors in 2009, the strong brand name of the Jim Thompson Restaurant has drawn many, in particular, expatriates living in Singapore, government officials, and other societal elites.

Jim Thompson Restaurant Signage

Jim Thompson Restaurant Exterior

Jim Thompson Restaurant Interior

Ambience at Jim Thompson Restaurant is their highlight, elegant, exotic, tasteful, and stunningly beautiful. Housed in a refurbished colonial building, a beautiful yard with al-fresco wooden dining furniture set admist lush greenery with a small reflecting pool greet diners upon arrival. Step within, and be awed by the high ceiling and long spacious dining hall, carefully laid out for privacy with elegant carved gilded tableware, comfortable large booths lovingly covered in fine hand loomed silk, Siamese glass wall mosaics, and touches of Thai decor, such as spirit houses and ornate candle holders. A portrait of their namesake, American businessman and designer James Harrison Wilson 'Jim' Thompson sits on a high shelf. At regular intervals, dancers in traditional Thai costumes from Bangkok weave through the dining hall, while non-intrusive instrumental music plays in the background. Incredibly lovely atmosphere, I understand most guests return because of this!

Table Setting



Service at Jim Thompson Restaurant is excellent, befitting a fine dining restaurant. Staff are mainly from Thailand and the Philippines, and can converse well in English. They offer greetings when you arrive, and are quick to seat guests. In particular, the filipino staff do most of the engagement with diners, offering recommendations, describing dishes when served, and how to eat them. Very good product knowledge! Plates are changed in between courses, and staff are also quick to fulfill requests. The bartender has decent knowledge, and is able to describe the extensive list of cocktails and liquor on the menu, as well as offer suggestions. However, what they lack seems to be a recommended wine / liquor and food pairing list. Otherwise, the attention shown by staff here is personal and courteous, along with being efficient. Really good!

Main Al-Fresco Outdoor Seating

Main Indoor Seating

Lawn Seating

Communal Table Seating

Booth Seating

Bar Seating

Private Alcove Seating

Food at Jim Thompson Restaurant is above average in quality and taste, and while not the best examples of Thai food around, it's still pretty tasty. Cuisine is distinctly Thai and Thai Chinese, though the spicy heat of most dishes can be toned down on request. With Executive Chef Mr. Jarutus Aumpha heading up the kitchen, Jim Thompson Restaurant offers an extensive menu, with over 80 classic Thai dishes, a mind-boggling variety. The pork-free menu here even features limited time special dishes, created by in-house chefs from monthly cooking competitions! Dishes are plated and presented beautifully, with most being well-executed and decent in taste. Portions are large and substantial, even the serving size for individuals is usually large enough to be shared with 2 people! Prices naturally befit its fine dining status, expect to pay between SGD $18 - $70 per dish. This is the biggest hurdle to dining here. Budget about SGD $85 per person for a meal here.

James Harrison Wilson 'Jim' Thompson Portrait

The Siam Sunrise Cocktail (SGD $26) is a fruity, refreshing mix of courvoisier exclusif cognac, ginger syrup, lime juice, lemon juice, mint, orange, and ginger ale. Predominately sweet and fruity, you can barely taste the alcohol within. Personally, I didn't like this. This will appeal to those who prefer a light, fruity beverage.

Siam Sunrise Cocktail (SGD $26)

Surprised that I liked the Lemongrass Infusion Mocktail (SGD $16) quite a bit, with its mix of fresh lemongrass, apple juice, ginger, and lemonade. I found this fruity, floral beverage with a refreshing light sweetness to be quite a good thirst quencher, and it pairs well with savoury or spicy foods.

Lemongrass Infusion Mocktail (SGD $16)

A classic cocktail and a signature beverage here, the Thompson Mojito Cocktail (SGD $28) is the most popular drink on the menu. With a mix of lemongrass infused vodka, mint, lime, lemongrass syrup, fresh lemongrass, and bitter lemon, this earthy, floral, grassy drink has a clean, refreshing texture, with a balanced bitter sweet taste.

Thompson Mojito Cocktail (SGD $28)

The Bangkok At Night Cocktail (SGD $24) is a equal parts fruity and strong beverage, with a mix of Mekhong whisky, Malibu rum, kahlua, and pineapple juice. Each sip gets you the floral sweet taste of the pineapple, followed by the distinct strong taste of whisky and rum, in a complex layering. Loved it!

Bangkok At Night Cocktail (SGD $24)

The Sukhothai Set (SGD $35 / $44 / $55) is a substantial sharing platter of 4 classic Thai appetizers, served with 3 dipping sauces. The Goong Hom Sabai / Prawn With A Sash has a large fresh prawn, wrapped in a crisp, rice cracker and yellow egg noodle. The cracker crunches beautifully, shattering away to reveal the meaty sweet prawn within. Served with a light, somewhat watery, slighlty sour chili plum dipping sauce.

The Yam Mamuang / Green Mango Salad features tender green mango strips, dried shrimp, fried shallots, crunchy cashew nuts, and sharp onions, marinated in a spicy chili lime dressing, and garnished with a plump, meaty sweet deshelled prawn. The sweet, sour, spicy taste of the salad is just beautiful, and this was among the best dishes of the evening. Highly recommended!

The Thod Man Pla / Thai Fish Cake features hand formed, curried fish cake with a bouncy, chewy texture. Lovely, especially with the spicy chili dipping sauce, crushed peanuts, and fresh cucumber slices.

The Gai Hor Bai Toey / Pandan Wrapped Chicken differs slightly from what I'm used to. Instead of pandan / screwpine leaf infused chicken, this instead features savoury chunks of grilled chicken, tender and moist, wrapped in pandan / screwpine leaf, and served with the house special Thompson dip, a savoury smoky dipping sauce not unlike the American barbecue bourbon sauce. Would be better if the pandan / screwpine leaf flavour was infused into the chicken though. Unique!

Sukhothai Set (SGD $35 / $44 / $55)

Goong Hom Sabai / Prawn With A Sash

Yam Mamuang / Green Mango Salad

Thod Man Pla / Thai Fish Cake

Gai Hor Bai Toey / Pandan Wrapped Chicken

The Tom Yum Goong / Tom Yum Soup With Chili Paste (SGD $24 / $46) is a hour and sour broth / soup, fragrant with lemongrass, ginger, galangal, shallots, and chili. Within are tender straw mushrooms and meaty sweet fresh prawns. Topped off with carnation milk, I understand that the level of spicy heat within can be adjusted to suit the diner's palate upon request. Among the better dishes we had here!

Tom Yum Goong / Tom Yum Soup With Chili Paste (SGD $24 / $46)

Felt the Khao Pad Sapparot Goong Sod / Pineapple Fried Rice (SGD $22 / $60) was outstanding! Beautifully presented in a halved hollowed pineapple, this savoury smoky fried rice with onions is made sweet and fruity with pineapple chunks, black raisins, and cashew nuts, then topped with fresh, plump, meaty prawns. Easily the best dish of the evening, I couldn't stop eating this! Highly recommended!

Khao Pad Sapparot Goong Sod / Pineapple Fried Rice (SGD $22 / $60)

A lightly stir-fried plate of Pad Pak Boong Fai Daeng / Stir-Fried Water Morning Glory (SGD $16), which has fresh, crunchy kang kong / water spinach leaves, in a savoury garlic, yellow bean, and oyster sauce with a slightly spicy kick. Pretty good execution, though I wish the portion was bigger! Ultimately, a simple, straight forward dish.

Pad Pak Boong Fai Daeng / Stir-Fried Water Morning Glory (SGD $16)

Loved the floral, herb flavour of the Gaeng Kiew Wan Gai / Green Curry Chicken (SGD $26 / $48), whose rich green curry with basil leaves is savoury sweet and completely delicious! The tender pea eggplant / aubergine within is lovely, but the chicken slices tasted rather sour and disjointed, almost like it was cooked separately. Still, I would order this dish for its addictive green curry alone!

Gaeng Kiew Wan Gai / Green Curry Chicken (SGD $26 / $48)

What I like about the Pad Krapow Neua / Stir-Fried Beef Tenderloin (SGD $28) is the generous portion of fragrant Thai holy basil. And while I thought they could be more generous with the beef strips, at least the meat was tender and moist, with a nice chew to texture. The gravy is hearty with garlic, straw mushroom caps, and a slight heat from the chili. Pairs great with rice!

Pad Krapow Neua / Stir-Fried Beef Tenderloin (SGD $28)

The Pla Kapong Neung Manao / Steamed Seabass Fish In Lime Sauce (SGD $68 Market Price) features a fresh sea bass, deboned, and with the moist flesh laid back so it looks whole! Served in a fragrant garlic, chili, and lime gravy, which has notes of savoury and sour, with a slight bite of chili heat. The important thing is, the fish was fresh and clean tasting. However, several of us got fish scales in between mouthfuls, not many, but it lowered our overall enjoyment of the dish.

Pla Kapong Neung Manao / Steamed Seabass Fish In Lime Sauce (SGD $68 Market Price)

Loved the presentation of the Ltim Kati / Coconut Ice Cream (SGD $16), which arrived in a whole, hollowed coconut, decorated with flowers! Loved the smooth, milky, creamy coconut ice cream, with its refreshing earthy floral taste. Slices of jackfruit complement the fruity sweetness of this dessert. Highly recommended!

Ltim Kati / Coconut Ice Cream (SGD $16)

The Khao Niew Mamuang / Mango Sticky Rice (SGD $20) features 2 large, juicy sweet slices of fresh mango, but what stood out was the sticky glutinous rice, coated with coconut milk. The sticky rice here is a lot lighter and less starchy in texture as compared to versions elsewhere, making it less filling and heavy. Good!

Khao Niew Mamuang / Mango Sticky Rice (SGD $20)

Personally, I felt the Tab Tim Grob / Red Ruby (SGD $12) was the weakest of all the desserts we tried here. It's not terrible, just average when compared to the others. The small but crunchy water chestnuts are heavily coated in a chewy tapioca flour, served in a chilled coconut milk broth with shaved ice. Milky and sweet, this was refreshing, but not particularly memorable.

Tab Tim Grob / Red Ruby (SGD $12)

Overall, Jim Thompson Restaurant is a decent choice for fine dining, especially so since it offers Thai cuisine, a rarity in Singapore. What would make me return to Jim Thompson Restaurant is their fantastic ambience and wonderful service, more so than the food, which is decent but not particularly memorable. Also, I think many of the shared dishes could be larger in portion for the price. Be prepared to splurge when dining at Jim Thompson Restaurant, as the prices aren't cheap!


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