Brunches a cut above the rest
CHEAH UI-HOON and NGIAM YING LAN recommend mouth-watering treats that are worth getting up for on a lazy Sunday morning
By Cheah Ui-Hoon and Ngiam Ying Lan, 08 October 2005
The Business Times
IN our meet-and-feast culture, extended families think nothing of getting together over the weekend for a nice long meal - no wonder, then, that weekend brunches continue to be prime money spinners for restaurants and hotel F&B outlets.
Lovely: Poppi's stunners include light crab meat with avocado, watermelon and lime; Jiang Nan Chun's cuisine is finely prepared in classical Cantonese style
But if the ubiquitous champagne brunch complete with oyster bar and carvery station are getting you down with their familiar uniformity, some places have seen fit to give the definition of Sunday brunch a new twist.
Check these out:
THE FOUR SEASONS
Tel: 6734 1110
JIANG Nan Chun's Sunday brunch is so popular that it does two sessions on Sundays. It's now been extended to Saturdays as well, so there's no jostling for specific time slots on Sunday.
At $48+++ for adults and $25+++ for children under 12, the value of a Chinese brunch doesn't get better than this, especially when you consider that an individual serving of shark's fin already costs $32 per bowl on a regular dining basis.
The restaurant does its buffet a la carte style, meaning you can order any of the dishes on the menu - currently numbered at 100 items - and it'll be served piping hot to the table.
The cuisine, under chef Hiew Gun Khong, is finely prepared in classical Cantonese style, with few surprises or upsets (except for the less-than-impressive desserts). Seafood dishes are lovely (the baked fillet of Sea Perch with sauteed egg white, for instance, was springy and moist), meat dishes are tasty (particularly the deep-fried pork belly in coffee sauce which had a sweet and thick marinade), while vegetable dishes like asparagus with lily bulbs and the must-have Tientsin cabbage flavoured with almond cream get a delicate touch.
Over at One-Ninety, the hotel has also added a barbecue grill, a Mediterranean station and a Martini bar (flavours are passion fruit, apple and hazelnut and you can also get a Cosmopolitan or the classic James Bond) to the already decadent spread which meanders all the way from One-Ninety's entrance to the breezy alfresco terrace.
Sunday brunch there is served from 11am to 3pm, at $72+++ per adult and $30+++ for children between four and 12 years old.
Tel: 6339 8977
YOU can have a full-fledged Aussie style brunch at this restaurant with a tranquil view, but what if you can't decide what to have since you like half the items on chef Christopher Millar's menu?
Opt for bite-sized tasters, what Chef Millar calls his Sunday dim sum brunch which features miniaturised servings of his appetisers and entrees. Prices range from $10 to $12 an order, and servings are big enough for two to four people to share. There are more than 15 savoury items on the menu, while for dessert, just go for the assiette platter ($18 for five pieces) because everything's so exquisite.
Stunners include the creamy shellfish bisque with lobster tortellini ($12) and the fresh and light crab meat with avocado, watermelon and lime ($12) which was an interesting blend of tastes and textures. The Vietnamese spring rolls were not impressive, but you must have the mini fish and chips ($12/3 serves) that come in newspaper-wrapped cones, no less.
The mini duck burger with panfried foie gras on sweet, crusty brioche ($12 each) is perfectly-sized decadent mouthful, as is the juicy mini wagyu cheese burger with hand-cut french fries ($12 each).
Tel: 6738 2202
IF you want to have a leisurely sit-down buffet that's a bit more restrained, Gourmet Cellar is a Sunday brunch possibility. Although at $52 nett per person, you'd really have to be a fan of the food in the first place because you can get larger spreads elsewhere for that price. Plus, it rankled a bit that the menu had a reminder on it to 'not waste food' as a caveat to the order-as-much-as-you-want a la carte procedure.
Having said that, one could get carried away with the Japanese selections as they're quite good. The generous mixed sashimi platter had a wide variety of seafood, and the smooth, springy handmade cha soba was delectable. The Western menu is also good, though not particularly above average.
Highlights include the yummy German potatoes sauteed with bacon and onions, and the tender steak, simply marinated and cooked medium rare. The gourmet sausages were tasty, while the roasted tomatoes were appealingly topped with fresh garlic. Also good were the fluffy pancake and french toast.
Teas and coffees aren't included in the price, while another $16 will get you free-flow champagne.
MERITUS MANDARIN, Top of the M
Tel: 6831 6258/88
THE revolving restaurant has rolled out a Sunday French champagne brunch ($108+++ per adult or child) where seafood is the buzzword. The free flow of Veuve Clicquot champagne complements an appetizing variety of fresh shellfish, with the gourmet selection featuring items like roe from black, red lumpfish and salmon, sea urchin and salmon wood-smoked according to a Russian recipe.
Chef de cuisine Bertrand Raguin has dished out some quintessentially French dishes. The delightfully presented fresh Mediterranean anchovies marinated in lime and olive oil comes wrapped snugly in a crispy roll pack a zesty punch. The oven-baked rack of lamb is also top-notch, with its tender meat lovingly seasoned with garlic and thyme. You can also request the roasted beef rib eye with garlic and Provencale crust, while the circular buffet display also offers oven-baked snails, lamb leg and oven-baked cod.
The cheese spread has a variety of cooked and pressed, soft and hard cheeses, which should go quite well with the champagne. What's to be noted is that this isn't targeted at the family brunch crowd as the $108+++ tag applies, regardless of whether diners are eight or 80.