If there’s one thing Singapore does well, it’s a weekend brunch – and often with free-flow drinks, at that. Whether you’re looking for unlimited craft cocktails or boundless bubbly, all-you-can-eat international fare or à la carte Italian specialties, there are plenty of brunch options to satisfy your every craving – and perhaps mitigate your hangover. So, grab your family and friends, and make a reservation for one of these fabulous free-flow brunches.
Best for Bellini lovers
#B1-42/46 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
When: Sundays from noon to 2.30pm
What’s popping: White peach and Prosecco Bellini, or straight NV Flor Prosecco DOC: $18 or $50 for free-flow; plus three brunch-friendly aperitivi ($18): Bloody Mary, Ramos gin fizz or Aperol Spritz.
“This is not going to be a low-carb day,” becomes clear as we spot the delicious assortment of Ariana’s handmade pastries that’s included in the à la carte Bellini Brunch. Mozza – both the Osteria and the Pizzeria next door – are a spin-off from the famous original in Los Angeles; chef David, manager Owen and pastry chef Ariana came direct from the mother ship.
A sophisticated ambience is created by dark wood that sets off white napery, an imposing bar and a superbly attentive staff. From the à la carte choice of five savoury dishes ($30 to $48), I order smoked sea trout cakes Benedict ($42) with poached eggs, rucola and sauce Hollandaise, full of flavour, delectably rich and satisfying. Roy’s baked eggs in tripe alla parmigiana ($35) is Chef David’s favourite, a rustic, hearty concoction that’s indubitably the best tripe dish we’ve encountered anywhere. (Sorry, Gran.) No one does crispy bacon like the Americans; our side order of the stuff ($8) simply evaporates.
And after sampling David’s incredible cappellacci (shaped like a bishop’s hat, apparently), stuffed with creamy celery root and mascarpone and tossed in a pungent bluefoot mushroom sauce ($32), we know we’ll be back at Mozza for dinner sometime really soon.
Best for first-class champagne
Brasserie La Saveur
29 Tanglin Road, The St. Regis Singapore
When: Sundays from 12 to 3pm, with complimentary aperitifs served from 11am to noon at the Astor Bar.
What’s popping: A free flow of the delightful French Ruinart Champagne, together with wine, beer and soft drinks.
Total class, and no guzzle. Don’t get me wrong, there’s no shortage of bubbly, but it’s the oh-so-elegant atmosphere in the opulent Brasserie La Saveur that sets the tone of this brunch at refined rather than raucous. Attentive and discreet service, with regular champagne top-ups and four “pass arounds” (freshly prepared bite-sized portions of the restaurant’s signature dishes), are just the beginning. Select from à la carte eggs cooked to order, or main courses of wagyu beef, duck, fish, poultry or vegetarian specialties, in nicely proportioned sizes.
There’s really no need to leave the comfortable armchairs, but we did: to graze on Sri Lankan Crab and caviar blini, Boston lobster, foie gras, melt-in-your-mouth Spanish ibérico ham and, later, the not-to-be-missed, indulgent dessert and cheese trolley. Did I mention the live music? Neither too loud nor too soft, it adds nicely to the ambience. Next time, I’ll know to book one of the private booths, which seat four. Kids are welcome, but I was happy to leave them at home and selfishly savour this brunch just for two. With the free flow described above, it’s $195; without alcohol it’s $145; and it costs $75 per child (four to 12 years).
Best for cheese addicts
7 Raffles Boulevard,
Pan Pacific Hotel
When: Sundays from noon to 4pm.
What’s popping: Free-flow Veuve Clicquot Champagne, as well as a selection of wines and cocktails.
After a hot two hours of running around on a football pitch, James and I were definitely in need of a leisurely four-hour brunch ($178, including free-flow). With so many food stations to choose from at Edge, it’s advisable to take a walk around first. We earmarked the cheese station (with over 30 to choose from), wagyu beef, duck ravioli made from scratch, and the selection of Japanese cuisine.
As I was already dehydrated, I took it easy on the champagne at the beginning, and started with some fine de claire oysters, Boston lobster and spicy Thai salad. James opted for the sushi, both of us feeling a little smug that we were beginning with some healthy fare. That soon deteriorated, however, when I found the raclette station.
On your table are wooden sticks with the table number on them – don’t forget to take one with you when you go on the hunt for some more food, as the chefs use these to take your order and to make sure your cooked food arrives at the right table. We used the sticks when we ordered our foie gras, which arrived at our table within five minutes, and lasted about five seconds.
The restaurant itself, located on the third floor, has plenty of natural light, unlike some brunch venues that I find too dark and dingy. It has comfy booth-seating, and views of the impressive hotel atrium.
To polish off the brunch, we had a glass of merlot, along with a huge plate of cheese. We didn’t get to try all 30 variants, but we definitely gave it a good go.
Best for craft cocktail enthusiasts
Manhattan Bar (Adults-only brunch spot)
1 Cuscaden Road, Regent Hotel, Level 2
When: Sundays from 11.30am to 3.30pm
What’s popping: A selection of vodka, gin, rum and champagne cocktails, bloody Marys, “The Flowing Bowl” (gin punch with ginger beer and berries), wines and beer for $150; top up for Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve Champagne at $195.
This brunch stands out from the crowd with its cool vintage vibes – the Art Deco bar is an exquisite sight in itself, fun tunes and free-flow selection of, not just champagne, but also all kinds of specialty craft cocktails served in Gatsby-esque glassware. (Try the Old Cuban or gin-based La Bonne Vie.) Don’t miss the fabulous build-your-own bloody Mary station, in its own dedicated room and filled with all sorts of hot sauces, spices, veggies and toppers.
The brunch is also unique in that it offers both buffet and made-to-order à la carte items. We started with little caramelised banana and vanilla rum butter pancakes and fried, soft-boiled eggs before making our way to the bagel station and seafood spreads featuring freshly shucked American oysters, shrimp cocktail, ceviches, and super-fresh crab legs and lobsters. Perhaps our favourite part was the beautiful selection of artisanal cheeses to which a whole room is devoted – a range of American cheeses, jams and spreads, plus baked goods like breadsticks and pretzel bread; the shaved aged cheddar paired with buttery jalapeno biscuits was a highlight for me. And, if you’re still hungry, you can order seared scallops, beef tenderloin, foie gras or quinoa salad à la carte.
Save room for the dessert table – a smorgasbord of caramel popcorn, crème brulee, Oreo cheesecake, red velvet and apple crumble cakes, bacon and chocolate pops and chocolate chip cookies, among other tasty treats.
Best for unlimited a la carte service
1 Fullerton Road, #02-06 One Fullerton
When: Saturdays and Sundays from 12 noon to 2.30pm
What’s popping: Delicious, unlimited Prosecco, ice-cold and not too sweet. My glass never dipped below half, thanks to the wonderfully attentive waiters.
This brunch ($84, including the free flow of bubbly) features a set menu that changes weekly. It’s an all-you-can-eat of delicious Italian food, brought straight to your table – none of that going-up-to-a-buffet malarkey.
We were treated to appetisers of cold cuts, cheeses, soups, breads and more cheeses, all of which were excellent, before being presented with three small dishes of fresh pasta – penne with four-cheese sauce, spaghetti with crabmeat tomato sauce, and garganelli with beef ragout and baby spinach; the sauces were all rich without being overbearing. To round off the mains, we enjoyed pan-fried sea bream, peperonata with lemon butter sauce, and melt-in-your-mouth braised beef short rib with classic polenta. Once we were done with main courses, we were offered the choice of re-ordering any of the dishes again, so we did: another round of pastas. We finished up with chocolate mousse, pistachio gelato, strawberry sorbet and coconut panna cotta.
This felt like one of the more decadent brunches in Singapore, with a gorgeous fine-dining setting, stunning views of Marina Bay and delectable food, but with a surprisingly reasonable price tag. It’s perfect for taking visitors to – but perhaps not with the little ones.
Best Mediterranean spread
The Knolls at Capella Singapore
1 The Knolls, Sentosa Island
When: Sundays from 12.30pm to 3pm
What’s popping: Free-flow Taittinger Champagne and wines (for an inclusive $178); or wine only ($148). Brunch alone is $128, and for kids it’s $48 (four to six years old) or $78 (seven to 12 years old). For beer-lovers, there’s a cooler full of popular bottles from Asahi to Heineken.
With not a skyscraper in sight, this resort-style brunch makes you forget Monday is looming. There’s nothing quite like being serenaded by a mariachi-style band while taking in the mesmerising view of the South China Sea and the hotel’s three cascading pools. Dine alfresco; the sea breeze is a refreshing change from air-conditioning, and the roaming peacocks are fun feathered friends for the kids.
The culinary adventure starts indoors with a spread of various charcuterie, pastries and fresh seafood. We particularly loved the warm brandade with sautéed prawn jus and lobster potato salad. Pace yourself wisely and follow your nose, as the real stars of this Mediterranean affair are found outdoors. That includes a live barbecue and kebab station of quality meat and sausages alongside crispy Spanish-style suckling pig, mouth-watering paella and a station of ever-changing specials. For us, it was caponata pork jowl and sautéed threadfin with mushroom risotto – both worthy of seconds!
Sweet tooth or not, the desserts deserve a visit if only to appreciate the craftsmanship; each item is presented with such finesse. We loved the raspberry mille feuille and chunky churros.
For the final leg of cheese and crackers, you need not lift a finger (and you probably won’t be able to at this point!). The cheese cart rolls right up to your table with a connoisseur at hand to talk you through the selection.
mezza9 (Best Champagne Brunch Winner at the EL Reader Awards 2015!)
10 Scotts Road, Grand Hyatt Singapore
When: Sundays from 11.30am to 3.30pm
What’s popping: Free-flow Perrier Jouët Grand Brut Champagne, plus premium red and white wines, beers, mojitos and bloody Marys, $138; upgrade to Perrier Jouët Belle Epoque for $288. The non-alcoholic option (inclusive of soft drinks, coffee and tea) is $118, and children aged seven to 12 can enjoy the brunch for $69.
After the exciting news that mezza9, the Grand Hyatt’s popular restaurant, had been voted Best Champagne Brunch by EL’s own readers, I was thrilled to trot along and sample as many delights as I could physically manage.
You’ll want to eat no more than a cracker in the build-up to this brunch experience, as a dazzling nine dining experiences await your fork or chopstick. These are separated in distinct cuisines and spread out across six open live-kitchens, cleverly placed to enable diners to take in the theatrical setting. Combine this with mezza9’s sleek, low-lit space and up to 400 people, and you’ve got yourself one hell of an atmosphere.
With a huge array of dishes on offer, mezza9 covers local, Chinese, European and Japanese cuisines across stations that include the grill, seafood, sushi, Thai, the steam basket, yakitori and, of course, the patisserie. After heartily enjoying a traditional British roast – slow-roasted prime beef with Yorkshire pudding and all the trimmings – I was surprised to find myself spending a lot of time at the steam basket, where authentic Chinese grub awaits. I’m a sucker for dim sum at the best of times, but it was the melt-in-your-mouth cha siu pork belly that had me making a rare repeat trip (highly frowned-upon by my other half during all-you-can-eat occasions).
With French, Australian and Canadian oysters at the seafood section, alongside Tasmanian black mussels and Spencer Gulf wild king prawns, my fiancé was ecstatic as he created the debris of a global aquarium on his plate. While you cool off before the dessert run, it’s worth catching the eye of the roaming magician. I know this sounds a little corny, but we were genuinely impressed with his tricks – particularly as he allowed us to thoroughly investigate his magic equipment afterwards.
Finally, you must save space for the sweet section – not only is there a huge chocolate fountain, a waffle station and billions of bite-sized cakes, pastries and puddings, but there’s a chef on hand to whip up a liquid nitrogen lemon meringue. Check out EL’s Instagram page to see the snazzy video – those little balls of zesty joy are so worth the brain freeze.
Best kick-back-with-the-hipsters spot
Open Door Policy
19 Yong Siak Street
When: Saturdays and Sundays from 11am to 3pm; the Countdown Champagne Brunch is also available on Sundays from 6 to 11pm.
What’s popping: Champagne Palmer Brut. Opt for the Countdown Champagne Brunch, and the first glass is $20, second is $15, and so on until $0, meaning the most you will spend on champagne is $50, no matter how much you then drink.
Found in the middle of hipsterville Tiong Bahru, Open Door Policy (ODP) recently extended its brunch menu. From the new dishes on offer, we ordered the very substantial roast wagyu rump, ratte potatoes and poached eggs ($28), which comes on a brioche bun with a chilli béarnaise sauce. James opted for one of ODP’s regular items, the ham and cheese croque madame ($26), served with fries, a fried egg and gherkin emulsion. In true hipster style, both delicious dishes were presented on wooden butcher-style blocks. For dessert, we had to try the new sweet buttermilk pancakes ($22) with a sour pastry crème, poached strawberries and freeze-dried raspberries.
We opted for the “countdown champagne” option, but not before trying one or two of the cocktails. I had a whisky sour ($18) with a spicy chocolate truffle on top, while James tried the gin-based Red Snapper Bloody Mary ($18).
This was the kind of brunch we could come back to, perhaps with a small group of friends. It has a cosy, rustic charm, a fantastic champagne offer and hearty food.
Best family-friendly brunch
La Barca Ristorante and Wine Bar
90 Goodman Road, Goodman Arts Centre
When: Free-flow Prosecco ($45) is available with the brunch menu from 11am to 2.30pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
What’s popping: Guerrieri Rizzardi Prosecco – a light and fruity sparkling wine that complements the menu nicely.
Whether you choose to sit alfresco on the deck or indoors in the cantina-style restaurant, Chef Michele Sorrentino’s eatery encourages relaxed family dining – think big Italian family dinners! The menu promises a taste of Tuscany and delivers it with fresh ingredients and homemade sauces.
We started with the warm seafood salad with lemon cream ($28) and the spaghetti carbonara ($24), both of which were light and tasty, followed by a crispy and moreish fresh mushroom pizza ($24), and pork sausages, eggs and chips ($22), which were meaty and filling. Finally, we were treated to the traditional T-bone Fiorentina steak ($15 per 100 grams) served with roasted potatoes and cannellini beans with sage and chilli – a firm favourite with regulars (and us)! While I was really too stuffed to do the tiramisu and apple tart ($18 each) justice, my husband thought they were excellent.
Kids are made very welcome here, with a free selection of pastas and pizzas, fruit juices and plastic place settings and cups – plus indoor and outdoor play options.
The verdict? La Barca is hidden away in the centre of Goodman Arts Centre, but it’s worth finding for the food and family-friendly welcome!
This story first appeared in Expat Living’s April 2015 issue.