How champagne came to be associated with Sunday brunches is anyone’s guess. But brunch lovers are not complaining. Grazing leisurely through a meal paired with the finest bubbly from mid-morning till late afternoon remains one of the best gastronomical treats to indulge in–just before the start of another maddening week.
We spent several Sundays sipping champagne and sitting through one sumptuous spread after another to bring you our top five picks for brunch buffets.
Au Jardin(EDITOR’S PICK)
EJH Corner House
Singapore Botanic Garden Visitors Centre, Cluny Road
The buzz: When it comes to an exclusive spot for a relaxing Sunday brunch, few places can match up to Au Jardin by Les Amis. Nestled amidst lush foliage in the Botanic Gardens, the restaurant’s picturesque setting guarantees a blissful brunch experience. If you want to have the best seats in the house, which are the two tables at the small balcony facing an expanse of greenery, we recommend you book at least two weeks in advance.
What’s special: The Sunday champagne brunch will set you back by $150 per person ($120, without champagne), but it’s no ordinary bubbly mind you. The Bruno Paillard champagne served here is exclusive to the Les Amis group and available only at three of its restaurants.
A small but great-tasting selection of starters awaits you at the buffet table. The carvery station can have anything from a succulent leg of ham to a sea salt-baked ocean trout, and the rest of the lineup depends largely on the chef’s take on seasonal ingredients. Expect light-on-the-palate starters like white asparagus and vine ripen tomatoes with Spanish anchovies, and seafood offerings such as marinated octopus salad, salmon gravlax, fresh crayfish and beignet (deep-fried French-style fritters) of prawns and fish.
The a la carte buffet menu offers more starters such as crab au gratin, seafood with lime & lemon grass (steamed and presented in a large jam jar), and premium fish like kampachi and dorade sashimi. The scrambled egg with truffle is first-rate – its rich, creamy taste gets a lift from the highly prized wild mushrooms.
Main courses change rgularly, as do the desserts. We had an excellent truffle-perfumed vegetarian basmati rice dish with a colourful potpourri of vegetables such as asparagus, baby carrots and beetroot. Red meat lovers would love the roasted wagyu beef, done medium rare for a perfect melt-in-the-mouth texture.
For desserts, you get to choose one out of three listed in the menu. Our fave was the Paris-brest–a baked ring of choux pastry cut in half and filled with divinely smooth hazelnut cream. Desserts don’t end there. The wait staff will bring to your table other sweet treats including a tiny ball of chilled white chocolate liquid and freshly baked Madeleine.
St Regis Singapore
29 Tanglin Road
The buzz: At $170 per person, the Sunday champagne brunch at the St Regis is probably the most expensive in town ($138 for non-alcohol). And that’s not it– quite a few of their guests pay $325 per person to enjoy free flow of the vintage champagne, Perrier-Jouet Cuvee Belle Epoque 2002 with their brunch.
What’s special: There’s a decadent spread of hors d’oeuvres at the buffet table, but guests might find themselves not leaving their seats much, as the brasserie’s chefs never stop coming to you with trays of some 15 different kinds of morsels ranging from tuna tartare to Yan Ting Restaurant’s dim sum and veal cheeks. Add to that is a separate lip-smacking platter of antipasto selection put together by Executive chef Frederic Colin for every table.
Choose your main course from some eight dishes–with generous portions of meat such as the “36 hours” kurubota pork belly and roasted Black Angus beef tenderloin and seafood such as pan-fried Hokkaido scallops and pan roasted Atlantic line caught sea bass.
There’s also an excellent cheese board with about 20 varieties, mostly from France. Never mind if you’re no cheese connoisseur. Maitre D Eduardo Ortega and his wait stuff are on hand to help you pick a selection of cheeses according to your tastes and preferences. He’s also the manwho does the pineapple flambé “live” by your table. The sweet pineapples are cooked till tender in a sauce made from brown sugar, butter and sherry. The dessert buffet table also proves to be irresistible with its dizzying array of luscious cakes and tartlets.
With free flow of the finest champagne, eat-all-you-can gourmet offerings and “live” entertainment by a quartet, Sunday brunch at Brasserie Les Saveurs is truly an indulgent affair.
The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore
80 Collyer Quay
The buzz: A chic, contemporary brasserie with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over the waters of the Marina Bay. The superb waterfront view and the intimate space make Clifford a quiet, elegant spot to have a lazy Sunday brunch ($68 without main course, $88 with main, $108 with a glass of champagne).
What’s special: A semi-buffet concept where you can help yourself to the delightful spread of hors d’oeuvres and quiches at the buffet table before the main course. The variety ranges from cured salmon to egg mimosa blinis, organic mesclun salad, and porcini jabugo (mushrooms and acorn ham) and vegetarian quiches. There’s also a station serving up risotto a la minute.
Egg lovers will relish the perfectly done eggs benedict with hollandaise sauce, poached egg with smoked salmon and the decadent truffle omelette. Those who love their meat can zero in on the grilled wagyu beef with Bordelaise sauce (French sauce made from dry red wine) or roasted spring chicken provencal with fine ratatouille. Seafood fans won’t be disappointed either–there’s organic penne with grilled lobster and shaved truffles or the grilled codfish.
Desserts are a dream–the cakes, tarts and mousses come in pretty, dainty portions, so you can enjoy a variety without feeling too stuffed. A dessert chef also whips up hot-off-the-pan crepes with your choice of sauces and toppings at the crepe station.
Conrad Centennial Singapore
2 Temasek Boulevard
Available: 12pm-3pm (only on last Sunday of the month)
The buzz: Aptly named the Amazing Graze, Oscar’s east-meets-west buffet brunch is one of the best (and longest) in town ($158 for free flow of Moet & Chandon or Verve Cliquot champagne, wine and beer; $109 for free flow of sparkling wine; $98 for free flow of sparkling juice). If you love your Asian fare (especially noodles), the restaurant has an outdoor counter dedicated to just serving up noodle dishes like laksa, sliced fish, prawn mee, bak chor mee and wanton mee for Sunday brunch.
What’s special Dig into Oscar’s famous laksa and Cantonese-style sliced fish noodles during Sunday brunch plus at least 10 Chinese wok dishes like steamed sea bass with XO chilli sauce and “tang gui” slipper lobster. Curry lovers will be pleased with the authentic array of Northern Indian meat and vegetarian dishes too.
Graze your way through the salad section, with its amazing variety of greens, nuts, dressings and even homemade freeze-dried fruits such as apple, orange, pineapple, kiwi and watermelon. Oscar’s popular Caesar salad (complete with fresh croutons and fat slivers of anchovies) also takes pride of place at the buffet table.
Other brunch highlights are the roast beef at the carvery, the “live” pasta cooking station, the crustacean corner and the oysters counter offering five types of ocean-fresh molluscs from France, Italy, Ireland and Scotland.
21 Club Street
Available: 11.30am to 3.30pm
The buzz: The Italian restaurant has been around for a decade and recently celebrated its 10th anniversary with a refurbishment and menu revamp. Its Sunday Prosecco Brunch ($88 per person) has also been a fixture for about five years.
What’s special: The buffet table, placed in the middle of the cosy main dining hall, holds a selection of homemade breads plus dips such as egg aioli and olive tapenade, salads and cold cuts, fresh raw oysters and 18-month old parma ham with rock melon. The Italian sparkling wine, the Torresella prosecco makes a perfect bubbly to go with these starters as well as the main courses.
The mains are prepared a la minute, and there’s no limit to the pastas, meat and fish dishes you can order from the brunch menu. The fusili pasta with duck ragout in wine sauce has a homestyle rustic flavour that’s not too rich; the pork scallopine with mushroom sauce and the stewed oxtail with potato mousse are the classic faves–the wafer-thin slices of pork are done just nice and tender while the stew is a clear favourite with its hearty, robust flavours.
There are about five types of gourmet Italian cheeses that you can pair with homemade mango chutney, dried fruits or honey. Desserts occupy a small corner and are pretty standard with the usual tiramisu, profiteroles and pistachio panna cotta with raspeberry coulis.