The Edge at Pan Pacific
Pan Pacific Singapore
7 Raffles Boulevard, Marina Square
What’s popping: Veuve Clicquot Champagne, Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc, beers and cocktails. $158
When: 12pm to 4pm, Sunday
The folks that designed the new Champagne brunch at The Edge – called Veuve-acious – had the benefit of looking around at what other players in the game have been serving for years, then doing everything just slightly better. (Perhaps that’s where the restaurant got its name.)
Veuve-acious is an international buffet with offerings from every continent save Antarctica. There’s duck confit ravioli, suckling pig, home-cured salmon gravlax, sushi, a selection of raw oysters and other seafood, and over 30 varieties of cheese, including raclette prepared à la minute. Even the foie gras, which can sometimes suffer when prepared en masse, is excellent.
Besides the cooks, major credit goes to the interior designers. They provided us with something not easily found in the Sunday brunch set – space. There’s ample room between the tables and between the food stations and the guests (still, beware of sitting too close to the rotisserie – it can get a little smoky). There are different styles of seating areas – cosy private spots to seat six, long narrow tables for groups of friends and smaller tables for twos and fours. But no matter where you sit, you’ve got space around you, whether for private conversation or to push your chair back for a little breathing room after you’ve rounded the dessert table twice. Even the tykes have their own dedicated area – a Kids’ Corner with DVDs and more.
The Westin Singapore
Level 33, 12 Marina View, Asia Square Tower 2
What’s popping: Veuve Clicquot. The bubbles are cold and served from fancy magnum bottles – plus there are great wines, beers, juices, freshly muddled cocktails, a bloody Mary station and more. $158.
When: 12pm to 3pm, Sunday
Sure, every brunch place that’s in a slightly elevated position will claim to have a great view, but few come close to the floor-to-ceiling windows that take in 180 degrees of the South China Sea from Level 33 of The Westin. Even on a bad day you can see the Indonesian island of Batam; on a good day, much further. There’s also Marina Bay over to the left and Sentosa to the right.
Five interactive kitchens are the other star of the show. Kick things off with light appetisers or salads, or be drawn irresistibly to the fresh seafood: crabs and oysters, cracked and shucked before your eyes – maybe with a side of sushi. The Indian station offers huge tandoori-style tiger prawns plus traditional curries with an array of relishes and accompaniments. Malay and Chinese favourites abound – some are even stir-fried right at your table on a roaming trolley. Don’t miss the gorgeous baked whole salmon, succulent roasts of the day, and outstanding cheese and charcuterie plates.
Top the experience off with several visits to the dessert corner, with its teetering platters of cakes, pastries and mini-macarons. Marshmallows dipped in a vibrant green matcha chocolate fountain are a hit, as is the hot, rich bread-and-butter pudding.
Best Brunch You’ve Never Heard of
Shangri-La Hotel, 22 Orange Grove Road
Level 1, Garden Wing
What’s Popping: Garden-to-bar cocktails, Tattinger Brut and wine for $158, or top up to Tattinger Brut 2005 and Prestige Rosé for $198.
When: 12pm to 4pm, Sunday
The Shangri-La’s relatively new poolside eatery, The Waterfall, has a Sunday spread – “The Brunch,” as it’s called – to rival its better-known Sunday buffet at The Line.
In addition to free-flow bubbly, you can look forward to boozy smoothie creations, concocted by mixologists from fruit, greens and garden-fresh rosemary, mint and sage leaves. Mocktails are also on offer at the interactive bar counter – the anti-toxi-mint, a blend of blueberries, mint, cucumber, apple and lemon juices, is a favourite.
Expect unlimited appetisers, from prosciutto and pâté to gourmet cheeses, tapenades and salads – watermelon and tomato salad is a signature – as well as a carving station for meat lovers. Seafood on ice is a focal feature, with lobster, crab claws, Hokkaido scallops and four types of oysters accompanied by helpings of salmon roulade, tender Hamachi chunks and a scrumptious scallop ceviche. Weekly specials like hazelnut-crusted gurnard, lobster pasta and bacon-wrapped scallops are served, and monthly exclusives include Boston live lobster and spider crab – Sicilian red prawns are on for April.
Leave room for a caramelised banana crepe or a croissant-waffle hybrid known as the “croffle,” topped with a dollop of ice cream, of course.
Best Seafood Selection
Parkroyal on Pickering
3 Upper Pickering Street
What’s popping: Piper-Heidsieck Champagne, red and white wines and soft drinks. $128
When: 12pm to 3pm, Sunday
Lime has three open kitchen sections serving a good spread of international and local food, from risotto and pastas to traditional spicy seafood laksa. You’re spoilt for choice with starters, which include everything from soup (the lobster bisque was a firm favourite) to breads and various cheeses, cold meats, salads and savoury canapés.
The fresh seafood selection includes giant sweet prawns, crab claws, mussels and oysters galore, as well as a fresh sushi bar, which was generously replenished throughout our meal. Don’t leave without trying the lime herb-crusted cod fillet – great flavour and melt-in-the-mouth texture. Remember to leave room for dessert: a chocolate fountain, fresh fruit, ice cream and the crowning glory – delicious bread and butter pudding.
Best Place to Escape Buffet Burnout
Senso Ristorante & Bar
21 Club Street
What’s popping: Prosecco and Rosé Prosecco for $98; top up to $128 for Ca’ del Bosco Franciacorta sparkling wine, Italian wines and beers
When: 11.30am to 2.30pm on Sundays
Exalted as they are, Champagne brunches can be a lot of work. There’s the continuous to-ing and fro-ing to fill your plate, and the elbow-jostling at the cheese station to get a few slivers before the bleu and the Camembert become ruinously comingled (separate knives, people!).
That’s why we tip our hats to Senso, which gives you buffet-style antipasti and dessert but leaves the heart of the meal – soups, pastas and main courses – to you and your waiter. Besides, items like pan-seared squid rings with spicy tomato coulis (served so soft you could cut it with a butter knife) and conchigle pasta with baby octopus and shallots are best served straight from pan to your plate.
Mains, which vary weekly, include everything from roast beef sirloin to pork loin a la plancha and roasted cod fillet. Servings come in small portions, so you can order two – or more – if you like. As at a buffet, you can eat as many as you wish.
Desserts, like the rest of the meal, are all Italian, and the panna cotta is reason enough to book a Sunday meal at this Club Street institution. (Senso has been going strong since 2000.)
Best for Home Bodies
The Cellar Door
What’s popping: Egly-Ouriet Brut Tradition Champagne in the Premium Champagne Brunch ($290, including delivery)
When: Whenever you want it
All too often at a traditional Champagne brunch, by the time you reach the cheese station you only have space for a tiny morsel of Brie – or is that just us? Food and beverage portal The Cellar Door has launched a series of packages that might just fill the gap for those looking for their own cheese and bubbles brunch (or “crunch”) delivered straight to the door.
The Cellar Door promises next-day delivery, seven days a week (apart from public holidays), as long as the products are in stock. You can create your own basket, or order one of their range of readymade packages.
For example, the Premium Champagne Brunch includes a creamy Camembert, strong aged cheddar, smoked harvati (semi-soft cow’s cheese) and Kikorangi Moon blue cheese by New Zealand brand Kapiti. Accompanying the cheeses are a quince paste and organic oat crackers, washed down with an Egly-Ouriet Brut Tradition Champagne and the obligatory red, a Felton Road Pinot Noir 2011.
Also available are the Cheese & Bubble Picnic Basket ($118) and Wine & Cheese Pairing ($196).
Best for Wine Lovers
Stellar at 1-Altitude
1 Raffles Place
What’s popping: Free-flow fine wines. $110.
When: 12pm to 2:30pm on Sundays
Stellar’s new Sunday brunch, Wine Lust, is centred around a huge wine-tasting table holding around a dozen carefully selected labels and hosted by a sommelier.
The tasting table changes every week – often around a theme (we enjoyed the Estate Wines week), and you can try as much or as little as you like. Four other wines make up the free-flow option, including a sparkling wine, such as Henkell Trocken Dry Sec Chardonnay. If you find something you love, you can take a bottle home at wholesale prices (around $40 to $60).
The Wine Lust menu isn’t humongous – it’s significant, but refined and tailored around the weekly theme. It’s divided into a mixture of buffet tables (highlights: nigiri from the sushi area, plus green mango and prawns from the salad bar), live stations (highlight: the spatchcock chicken with peri peri from the meat carvery) and roaming trolleys (highlight: claypot chicken rice with a twist).
There are also a few “butler passes” – fresh dishes brought to the table that offer a nice chance to sit and swig while admiring the 62-storey view over Marina Bay. Order the smoked salmon Benedict, the slow-roasted Wagyu rump and a round of fiery truffle pasta.
Naturally, you simply have to finish off with the splendid cheese trolley. Oh, and strawberry crumble. And French toast.