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The pretentiousness of brunch

by June Thein

inSing.com - 28 September 2012 10:23 AM | Updated 08 Oct 2012

The pretentiousness of brunch

A few weeks ago, a male colleague asked a bunch of us to recommend a brunch restaurant that we thought would be suitable for a first date. Naturally we enquired what sort of girl his date was.

"Somewhere between my mother’s French toast and the revolutionary rise of the hot-water-cooked egg in hollandaise sauce, I must have missed the memo about brunch."

Said date was your typical white-collar female with a penchant for fake lashes and floral prints. My first response was to scream Imperial Treasure Steamboat in my best Singlish. After giving the situation more thought I offered, “and if you really want to impress her, Wild Honey ah!” This second response was met with a burst of laughter and rebuking remarks from everyone else in our little open office.

At that moment, it hit me that I mentioned an all-day breakfast/brunch venue as a perfect place for a first date simply because of how fashionable it is and how that seems to appeal so much to our local lasses.

This'll look better Instagram-ed, and then Facebook-ed |
Photo credit: Stock photo

Every weekend, my Instagram and Facebook feeds are flooded with photos of brunch outings where every food item seems to come with a blinking poached egg. What puzzles me is how an entire generation of people who grew up eating chee cheong fan and nasi lemak for breakfast can suddenly be in love with the concept of having bacon, eggs and grilled vegetables all day. How did Western breakfast become so trendy that Singaporeans started going across town to chi-chi places just to have it? Somewhere between my mother’s French toast and the revolutionary rise of the hot-water-cooked egg in hollandaise sauce, I must have missed the memo about brunch.

"[Brunch appeals to] your typical white-collar female with a penchant for fake lashes and floral prints"

Perhaps it’s what brunch represents to our aspiring, upwardly-mobile crowd that keeps them going back for over-priced toast weekend after weekend. We’ve all seen Carrie and the Sex and the City girls do their Sunday brunches over Champagne and a bowl of muesli. Maybe an over-priced breakfast once a week gives us a taste of that glamour and makes our lives a little less mundane and mediocre than they might really be.

Or perhaps, restaurants finds serving breakfast/brunch a way to fill tables at a time of day when they would normally be quiet. This genius marketing ploy served on a pretty white plate has brought out throngs of Singaporeans who would otherwise have been happy with $3 economy bee hoonon a Sunday morning; they're now happy to part with $30 for eggs.

Whatever the reason for the insane popularity of brunch among the young and trendy, I’m fairly certain it is not just about the food. The implications are quite simple: you’re at a hip breakfast joint because it’s a great place to be seen and you want to tell everyone on Facebook you’re having pretty food. So the next time, we meet for brunch, let’s be real about it — the food is secondary.

 


June Thein is a first generation Burmese Singaporean who lives like a teenager while shouldering adult responsibilities. An extreme carnivore who runs a nut-house creative agency by day, she tries to take over the world at night, one basket of dim sum at a time.