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Our ultimate guide to brunching and lunching with little ones

When it comes to dining out as a family, there are lots of things to consider – from entertainment facilities to child approved food and other kiddo-kind features. The EL editorial team spent last month road-testing a few options: it’s a tough job and all!

The Chop House

When: Brunch is available on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays from 11am to 4pm.

I can’t say that brunching in a shopping mall is high on my list of things to do; however, The Chop House is situated on the edge of VivoCity, overlooking the water towards Sentosa, so grab yourself a seat with a view and you’ll hardly know you had shops just behind you. The free-flow brunch deal is great value here, with two hours of beer, wine and prosecco at $48; then, you simply add on your à la carte dishes.

Family friendly restaurants

Encouraged to try one of the burgers, eldest daughter Tabitha (9) went for the BBC burger ($29), with crispy bacon and barbecue sauce, and the obligatory fries. Although it was almost as big as her head, Tabitha loved every bit of her burger. Meanwhile, Maggie (6) went for the spaghetti carbonara ($22), which I had to dip into myself, having ordered the burrata ($18) as well. Husband James picked the Australian double lamb chops with ratatouille ($35).

Dessert, arguably the highlight for any child at my table, consisted of banana split for Tabitha ($7) and warm chocolate brownies with vanilla ice cream ($7) for Maggie. These were great value for money, as they were huge portions – big enough for the adults to get a taste as well.

Family friendly restaurants

Kid-friendly features: The deck outside, overlooking the water, is a great place for the children to have a run around if they get bored at the table, so bring some sunscreen. – Amy Brook-Partridge

The Chop house
#01-161/162 VivoCity, 1 Harbour Front Walk
6376 9262 | the-chop-house.com

Ash & Elm

When: The Sunday Champagne Brunch happens every Sunday from 12 noon to 3pm. It’s $138 with free-flow Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut, Bloody Marys, wine and beer, soft drinks and juice (or $98 without alcohol); kids dine for $48 (inclusive of juice and soft drinks).

This is the third time I’ve brunched here, and it seems to have gotten even more polished and refined every time. The restaurant’s three new tasting platters (ordered at the table), which collectively comprise 11 à la minute dishes, are well-worth trying; go for the stunningly cooked braised beef short ribs with carrot, mushrooms and pearl onions, and the meaty yet tender pan-seared scallops in brown butter sauce. The standout for me was the moreish truffle risotto with parmesan and natural jus.

Family friendly restaurants

The classic buffet option is still very much the main event, with seafood galore (including a caviar station, and sushi and sashimi), a wood-fired pizza oven and a dedicated charcuterie and cheese room (I’d still like to see some quince jelly alongside the cheeses though!), and treats like 120-day-aged, grain-fed Australian rib-eye, slow-baked Norwegian salmon fillet, salmon and caper tartare, and burrata on a vine tomato with fresh pesto. It’s these lovely touches that make this brunch so appealing and unique; it’s all just so civilised! Plus, one of the best bits (bar the food and booze) is the minimal queuing time, thanks to the intimate venue.

Kid-friendly features: There’s a small room off to the side for little diners, complete with movies and some toys, as well as a mini buffet serving pasta, rice and popcorn chicken with fries (a huge hit!), plus cupcake decorating conducted by one of the chefs.

Words to the wise: The large round table right by the kids’ room seems to be the best table in the house if you’re going en famille, so be sure to request that spot when booking! – Emi Finch

Ash & Elm
InterContinental Hotel Singapore, 80 Middle Road
6825 1008 | singapore.interncontinental.com

 

Privé CHIJMES

Situated right in front of a grassy space at CHIJMES, this spot allows adults to unwind over all-day breakfast items ($13 to $21), burgers ($17 to $25), pizzas ($17 to $20) and Asian-inspired specialties ($16 to $26) while little ones run amok; Privé even provides soccer balls, goal posts, frisbees and other sports equipment to borrow! It has a two-course set kids’ menu for $10 with options like linguine, fish and chips, and cheeseburgers, and a choice of an ice cream sundae or brownie for dessert. Be sure to look out for special “kids eat free” deals during school holidays!

Family friendly restaurants

Psst – Privé’s Keppel Bay location is also super kid-friendly, with outdoor and indoor play areas (with a TV, books and toys to boot!), free animal crackers and special children’s entertainment on the last Sunday of the month.

Prive
#01- 33 CHIJMES, 30 Victoria Street.
6776 0777 | chijmes.com.sg/prive

Jamie’s Italian

When: Open for lunch daily from 11.30am. Check out the $24.90 two course lunch deal.

Look no further than Jamie’s for fuss-free, family-friendly Italian that hits the spot for adults and kids. Both restaurants at Vivo and Forum have a fun and hip vibe, but the clincher is the healthy menu choices and Jamie’s commitment to quality food that’s good for us! This is especially noticeable on the kids’ menu, where all the dishes feature vegetables or salad (and a few chips, too!), and are available in two sizes – little kids from $9.50 and big kids from $13.50. We tried the beef burger but other options include meatballs and spaghetti, fish, pasta and chicken fillets. All kids’ meals include a salad with healthy yoghurt dressing and a drink (milk is a choice!).

Family friendly restaurants

Jamie’s is a convenient place for a catch-up with another family – especially when you don’t feel like cooking. Grown-ups can choose from the extensive and authentic Italian à la carte menu; we liked the crunchy garlic bread ($13.50), luscious penne carbonara ($18/$27.50) and tender seared tuna steak with avocado and tomatoes ($34). Don’t leave without letting the kids try one of the kids’ desserts (for an additional $3.50) – choose from a chocolate brownie, fruit, ice cream or sorbet. They’ll love it.

And, don’t forget the second Jamie’s outlet at VivoCity, with water views, alfresco seating and the same family-friendly menu.

Kid-friendly features: Children will love choosing their meals from the retro red viewfinder and colouring with the supplied pencils; oh, and the little badges exclaiming, “I ate all my greens at Jamie’s” will keep them motivated! The friendly and happy staff top it off. – Katie Roberts

Jamie’s Italian
#01-01/04 Forum The Shopping Mall, 583 Orchard Road
6655 7676 | jamieoliver.com/italian/singapore

PizzaExpress

Originating in the UK, this popular pizza chain offers a casual-chic ambience with a semi-open kitchen where kids can enjoy live cooking in action. They’ll especially go bonkers for the world-famous, soft and chewy Dough Balls “PizzaExpress” ($11) – 16 mini dough balls served with garlic butter, pesto Siciliano and pesto Genovese – and the generously portioned pizzas. Celebrating your child’s birthday? Throw a pizza-making party! The two-hour-long party allows kids to get creative with crafting their very own pizzas, then gobbling them up.

Family friendly restaurants

PizzaExpress
#B1-08/09, Scotts Square, 6 Scotts Road.
6538 0083 | pizzaexpress.sg

 

Town

When: Brunch runs every Sunday from noon to 3.30pm, for $158 per adult with free-flow Veuve Clicquot and house-pour wines, or $110 per adult and $55 per child with chilled juices and soft drinks.

Sunday brunch at The Fullerton Hotel brings nothing but good news! Highlights include panoramic riverside views and a make-your-own Bloody Mary station – and, if you’re bringing the kids, it’s an opportunity to sneak in a fun history lesson, too. Since the hotel was once home to Singapore’s General Post Office, a Postmaster Bear mascot does his rounds of the dining space, giving free cuddles and photo opps – and providing an ideal cue to enlighten young ones on the building’s colourful history.

The taste of heritage continues through to the buffet, which features delectable local signature dishes and neighbouring influences too, from Hainanese chicken rice, satay and laksa to sweeter notes of nonya kueh and cendol.

Family friendly restaurants

Pining for other Sunday comforts? We also loved the roast beef and Yorkshire puddings and sinful breakfast favourites such as salmon egg Florentine cocotte and fresh waffles. As always, the trick is to keep the portions bite-sized, as there’s loads worth trying at the other stations, too, from fresh seafood to Japanese and Italian fare and an outdoor barbecue station.

Kid-friendly features: If the Postmaster Bear, the chocolate fountain and the live band aren’t enough, there are plenty more activities on offer. Pre- or post brunch, families can rent a Segway or a bicycle from One Fullerton and tour the area, or join a complimentary heritage tour. Around the corner from Town is The Fullerton Heritage Gallery, with interactive displays that are equally educational and entertaining for little ones.

Word to the wise: If you’ve lost the kids, they can probably be found at the jaw-dropping dessert buffet in the hotel lobby! – Leanda Rathmell

Town
Level One, The Fullerton Hotel, 1 Fullerton Square
6733 8388 | fullertonhotels.com

 

Edge

When: Brunch is every Sunday from noon to 4pm. The free-flow Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label champagne option also includes select red and white wines, draft beers and cocktails for $188 per adult. Children aged six to 11 dine for $64, with unlimited fresh juices.

Being almost seven and nine, our daughters are both at ages where they can appreciate what a buffet brunch has to offer. In the past, we’ve been reticent to spend the money, for fear they would turn their noses up at most of the food, or get bored and make the brunch less than relaxing. The four-hour long Sunday champagne brunch at Edge never fails to impress and, this time, the children got to really enjoy the experience. Their particular favourites included the giant wagyu burger, sausages cooked at the meat station and, of course, the kids’ dessert corner, which features a cotton candy machine, gummy sweets, and ice cream with plenty of toppings to choose from.

Family friendly restaurants

For the adults, we got to relax with some bubbles and enjoy our favourite food stations. This includes the wide range of seafood, sushi and ceviche, the foie gras and porcini mushroom tortello cooked to order and brought to our table (don’t forget to take your wooden stick with your table number on it when you go for a wander!) and, of course, the fantastic range of cheese on offer.

Kid-friendly features: Our seat was just adjacent to the live band, which really held the attention of our youngest for quite some time. Then, there was the balloon entertainer who visited all the family tables, and crafted a huge range of animals to order.

Word to the wise: After four hours at this brunch, there’s no need to feed the children (or yourselves) dinner. Ours were still full the morning after! – Amy Brook-Partridge

Edge
Level Three, Pan Pacific Singapore, 7 Raffles Boulevard
6826 8240 | edgefoodtheatre.com

The Bank Bar + Bistro

This spot may be mega popular for after-work drinks but, on weekends, the restaurant converts into a family-friendly venue, complete with a playroom, bouncy castle and kids’ menu (those under 10 can opt for penne Bolognese, a ham and cheese sandwich, or other items, for $8.50). Meanwhile, grown-ups can choose from an array of meat and seafood dishes ($22 to $28), pastas ($17 to $20), pizzas ($21 to $26) and sandwiches ($16.50 to $19). Oh, and kids aged four to 10 eat free with each adult main ordered on weekends and public holidays until 9.30pm!

Family friendly restaurants

The Bank Bar + Bistro
#01-01 One Shenton, 1 Shenton Way.
6636 2188 | thebankbar.com

Open Farm Community

When: We went for Sunday lunch, when the restaurant serves food from 11am until 4pm, then reopens at 6pm until 10pm for dinner. I’d popped into Open Farm Community (OFC) for a much-needed coffee on many occasions and eyed the menu keenly. The dishes clearly support its stance on spearheading local farming, and using fresh, seasonal produce. Eating with another family gave us the chance to try out a few different dishes, and we started with the watercress soup ($19), which came with a soft organic egg, crispy kale and pita bread, as well as a warm salad of broccoli, pine nuts, sugar snap peas, crumbled feta ($20), and a salad of salt-baked beetroot ($22). The kids immediately stole my warm pita bread so at first I had nothing to swish around my delicious soup, but the waitress kindly brought me some more, free of charge. The beetroot salad was served as my main course, and came with a lovely, sweet sorrel quinoa chip.

Family friendly restaurants

While my husband chowed down on 48- hour Barolo-braised oxtail strozzapreti ($30) – that’s a kind of twisted pasta to you and me – the kids loved their strozzapreti bolognaise ($22) and OFC pizza ($16), which consisted of hibiscus flatbread, fresh tomatoes and, of course, buffalo mozzarella.

Having finished our bottle of fresh and summery AIX Rosé, we ordered two glasses of pinot noir to go with our shared cheese plate ($36), while the children tested out the ice-cream flavours on offer at $6 a scoop.

Kid-friendly features: Not only is there a garden to explore, but there’s a bowling lawn close to the outdoor dining area, as well as a wooden climbing frame grounded in sand at the front. There’s the ping-pong table close by, too. For younger children who need to be watched, this may not work so well, but our older girls were entertained for hours as they came and went from the table. Words to the wise: If you choose to sit outside, bring mozzie spray. – Amy Brook-Partridge

Open Farm Community
130E Minden Road
6471 0306 | openfarmcommunity.com

Huber’s Bistro

A great spot for family weekend dining, mummy meetups and weekday lunches, Huber’s features an enclosed outdoor playground where kiddos can play while their grown-ups catch up over a glass of wine and some food from an extensive menu of charcuterie, sausages and meaty mains like Australian pasture-fed lamb chops ($24) and a beef burger with bacon and gruyere cheese ($15.50) – with kiddie portions available for many of the dishes, too! You’ll also find soups, salads, desserts and weekend breakfast options, plus a selection of beer, cider, wine and cocktails. Afterwards, be sure to stock up on gourmet goodies inside at Huber’s Butchery.

Family friendly restaurants

Huber’s Bistro
22 Dempsey Road.
6737 1488 | hubers.com.sg

Wheeler’s Estate

Located at The Oval@Seletar Aerospace Park, Wheeler’s Estate offers both The Verandah on the second level, as well as the more casual Café by the Lawn on the first level. The latter serves a meat-heavy menu Tuesday to Sunday from 3pm – including bratwurst sausage ($18) and pork jowl ($28), plus an array of popular pizza options ($22) – and a weekend menu (9am to 3pm) of salads ($22), pastas ($22 to $23), all-day breakfast items like smashed avocado with feta and poached eggs ($20), and a selection of meats and fish ($23 to $50). While the kids’ menu is small, with just three not-so-nutritious items to choose from (chicken nuggets, calamari rings and cheesy macaroni and ham; $10 each), it does the trick for a weekend treat. The best part? Not only is the sprawling lawn great for a run around, but there’s also an aviation-themed playground located right next door.

Family friendly restaurants

Wheeler’s Estate
2 Park Lane
6262 0001 | wheelersestate.com

Super Social BBQ at Timbre @ Gillman

The weekend Super Social BBQ is a party that everyone in the family will want to get on board with. Happening every Saturday and Sunday from 4pm until late (admission is free with the purchase of one drink), the event features bouncy castles, bubble blowers, toddler wading pools, arts and crafts, games and face painting to keep little ones busy while grown-ups can enjoy grill items and cocktails set to live music. The kids’ menu features over a dozen food options including Bolognese, grilled ham and cheese toasties, and chicken and pancakes, while adults can dig into tons of tapas, thin-crust pizzas and barbecue items ($16 to $36). Look out for a special Roald Dahl-themed afternoon in September, complete with storytelling, and a Toy Story-themed party on 7 and 8 October with stations inspired by the movie, along with balloon sculpting and carnival games.

Family friendly restaurants

Super Social BBQ at Timbre @ Gillman
Gillman Barracks, 9A Lock Road
6694 4201 | timbregroup.asia/super-social-bbq

Café Melba at Mediapolis

Tucked within the media hub at One-North (and right next to Tanglin Trust School), this laid-back Australasian eatery is the sister restaurant to the original East Coast branch – famous for its status as one of the best family-friendly cafés around. This location is also super kid-friendly, with a bouncy castle on weekends (and public holidays), a giant tic-tac-toe game and plenty of space to run and scoot. The kids’ menu has plenty of choices including pizza, beef Bolognese, a junior beef burger with chips, mac and cheese, and pancakes, each accompanied by milk or juice, and a scoop of ice cream ($16 per set). Meanwhile, adults can enjoy all-day breakfast items ($12 to $28), pizzas and pastas ($18 to $26), and burgers ($22 to $24); it’s even got a weekend roast from 11am! Happy hour is 4 to 8pm on weekdays, so go on and sip a $10 glass of wine while the kids have a post-school play.

Family friendly restaurants

Bonus: With each purchase of a children’s meal, your child will collect a loyalty stamp on his or her Kids’ Club Card; collect five stamps to get a main adult meal on the house, and collect 10 stamps and your little one becomes a member of the Kids’ Gold Club, where they’ll get a free meal at each visit!

#03-01 Mediapolis, 1 Stars Avenue
6352 2721 | cafemelba.com.sg/mediapolis

Zaffron Kitchen

In addition to offering children’s meals ($7.50 for a main such as a masala chicken burger and a chicken naan wrap, plus a side of corn or fries, a drink and a scoop of ice cream), this North Indian restaurant caters to kiddos with a dedicated play area that includes toys and a TV playing movies for little ones. Meanwhile, adults can enjoy papdi chaat (crispy dough wafers with sweet yoghurt and mint chutney; $6.50), butter chicken ($17), lamb shank biryani ($21.50), chicken tikka ($14.50), a tandoori mixed grill platter ($30) and other Indian specialties.

Family friendly restaurants

Zaffron Kitchen
135/137 East Coast Road
6440 6786 | zaffronkitchen.com

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This article first appeared in the September 2017 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase a copy or subscribe so you never miss an issue!

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