Dining in Historic Cluny (Not the one in France)

NUS Bukit Timah Campus

25th May 2011. Written by Xin Li.
While many of us know Bukit Timah Campus is the home to the Law Faculty of the National University of Singapore and that it used to house the Singapore Management University, not many know that it is also the home to Singapore’s First University, the Raffles College, established in 1928/1929 to commemorate the centenary of the founding of Singapore by the guy with folded arms along Singapore River, Sir Raffles Stamford (and as to provide higher education in the arts and sciences)

NUS Bukit Timah Campus

The Raffles College eventually merged with King Edward VII College of Medicine to form the University of Malaya, which became the University of Singapore in 1962 and finally the National University of Singapore (NUS) in 1980 after its merge with the Nanyang University and occupied the building till 1981 when it moved to its current location at Kent Ridge. The site was subsequently occupied by NIE, NTU and SMU before it was finally reoccupied by NUS again.

NUS Bukit Timah Campus Quadrangle

The building was the recipient of the 2007 Architectural Heritage Award featuring a variety of architectural styles including International Modern Style found in part of its structure that was added on in later in the 1950s. The university’s quadrangles which encloses private spaces for activities and functions secluded from external interferences are similar to those found in Cambridge and Oxford located in England, United Kingdom.

I shall not bore you any further. For an interesting read on the college, read this 2008 publication from PMB.

NUSS Bukit Timah Guild House

Our fine dining experience took place at none other than The Dunearn located in the NUSS Bukit Timah Guild House (Open to Public, except for the 2nd Floor and you have to be in Smart Casual attire to dine indoors).

The Dunearn - Interior

The two-storey building, along with 4 other similar bungalows used to be the President’s and Professors’ quarters of the former Raffles College. All of them were built in the late-1920s and were designed in the Art Deco style with the main entrance doors and transom featuring a unique ornate timber lattice work.

The Dunearn - Herb Bread

Thanks to a postcard offer, we got the 4-Course June Set Lunch at $25.00++ SGD instead of $28.00++ SGD. The price also includes free flow of juices and soft drinks.

The Dunearn - Bread & Butter

The meal kicked off to a positive start with attentive service from the waiting staff and a delicious loaf of Herbed Bread.

The Dunearn - Scallop Ceviche Infused with Lemongrass Served with Mesclun Salad

The appetizer for June is Scallop Ceviche Infused with Lemongrass, Served with Mesclun Salad. While I am unable to pick up the taste of the lemongrass, it was a palatable and light appetizer. I adore the succulent texture and the freshness of the scallop.

The Dunearn - Cream of Cauliflower

Soup was a choice between Cream of Cauliflower and Chilled Basilica Tomato with Campari. The Cream of Cauliflower was somewhat conventional but well-executed.

The Dunearn - Chilled Basilica Tomato with Campari

The Chilled Basilica Tomato with Campari takes a bit of getting used to. I like how the soup tasted so clean, fresh and balanced but both my friend and I were not used to drinking chilled soups.

The Dunearn - Oven Roasted Beef

For my main course, I had the Oven Roasted Beef, Served with Pommery Mustard and Red Wine Glaze. I was craving for beef and this did well in satisfying my craving. The beef was tender and juicy, and the sauce was just right with the right balance of seasoning which complements the beef.

The Dunearn - Bush Herb Roasted Spatchcock

The Bush Herb Roasted Spatchcock, Served with Thyme Jus and Garden Vegetables was delectable but it was rather dry.

The Dunearn - Seafood Lasagna laced with Cream Spinach

The Seafood Lasagna laced with Cream Spinach, Gratinated with Parmesan Cheese was quite cheesy and creamy. Nonetheless, my friend seemed satisfied with his choice.

The Dunearn - Strawberry Island with Vanilla Gelato

For dessert, the Strawberry Island with Vanilla Gelato looks nothing like the photo in the menu. I did not get to taste it though.

The Dunearn - Warm Bitter Chocolate Bacon Cake

I had the Warm Bitter Chocolate Bacon Cake, Served with Apple Sorbet. It was good. The dense, slightly dry, bittersweet chocolate cake (not molten lava cake) paired almost perfectly with the sour, fruit apple sorbet. I enjoyed this dessert very much.
The meal ended with a cup of coffee or flavored tea. In this case it was Twinning’s English Breakfast Tea.

The Dunearn - English Breakfast Tea

The price for the 3-course and 4-course set lunch are not heart-wrenching expensive, but they are not your everyday cheap too. However, at this price, it is worth going back again to try out their new set lunch or dinner which changes monthly if you want to give yourself, your friend or your partner a once-in-a-while treat (as long as you are around the area or willing to walk all the way there in your smart casual wear).

Botanical Gardens

Located right next to the Botanical Gardens, consider a leisurely stroll after your meal.

Liang Wei would love these ducks.

Botanical Gardens

If the weather condition is favorable, consider having a meal there after playing some sports in CCAB or having an after meal stroll in Botanical Gardens. The nearby Cluny Court and Serene Centre, featuring some historical shophouses also offers after meal desserts from Awfully Chocolate, Marble Slab Creamery and Island Creamery.

Cluny Court

Cluny Court houses quite a few restaurants and cafes.

Friend Friend

As if there is not enough history for you, the Serene Centre was known as the Serene House which was used for servicing US Army soldiers on rest leave in Singapore during the Vietnam War period until 1968. Residents recalled prostitutes being specially recruited and free entering and leaving the building according to heritage trails.sg.

The Dunearn
NUSS Bukit Timah Guild House

1F Cluny Road
Singapore 259602
Tel: 6779 1811


  1. Ahh.. you visited The Dunearn too! I like how they keep the set lunch refreshed every month.

    The last time I tried to take shots of the campus, I was sway to bump into the security guard who warned me against it, and kept a close eye on me afterwards haha.



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