Tag Archives: Sunday brunch

Brunch @ the Greenhouse @ the Ritz Carlton

Caprioskas waiting to be mixed

I’m going to attempt writing this post while trying to sober up from a food and cocktail coma from 3 hours of indulgence at the Ritz Carlton Hotel. There for a friend’s birthday, the festive atmosphere was surely enhanced with freeflow champagne and a choice of mojitos, caipirinhas, Bloody Marys and caprioskas (most of which were doubles). Aside from the drinks, the choice of food we had available was impressive.

“Buffet hack” – chawanmushi with caviar

The best thing about buffets is that you can have a little bit of a lot.  The ability to sample as many dishes as you can want appeals to someone like me who has difficulty making her mind up on what to order and often ends up with food envy for my friends and their choices.  The birthday girl added more choice with her “buffet hacks”, my favourite was her topping chawanmushi (Japanese steamed egg) with some caviar from one of the cold starters – perfect.

We all started with cold seafood.  I was focused on oysters, trying the eight varieties of freshly shucked oysters from France and New Zealand and then I spotted a tray of jamon de iberico, of which a small pile made an appearance on every plate I brought back to the table the entire meal.

The awesome roast pork with crackling

My favourite little things at the buffet were a four cheese tart with fig and walnut, the wagyu roast with the best Yorkshire puddings and gravy, the roast pork (mainly for the super good crackling I have to admit) and the very tart lemon meringue dessert.

Four cheese tart with fig and walnut

The four cheese tart came in a pastry shell that was just firm enough to not crumble and was a terrific contrast to the creamy cheese filling, which was the perfect partner to the sweet fresh fig on top.

Yorkshire pudding with wagyu roast

The wagyu roast was so tender – no matter if you sampled a more well done slice from the edge, or an almost blue slice from the middle – and the Yorkshire puddings were the perfect “mop” for the puddles of gravy that were generously ladled over them.

We finished the meal with a generous sample of the 50 cheeses on offer.  I have to admit, after a good camembert and brie, and a wonderfully tangy roquefort, the rest of the cheeses on my plate were there more for the fact that I could actually have that many varieties on one plate.

Lemon meringue

For a five-star establishment, the design and decor of the Greenhouse gives it a slight feel of a buffet in a cheap Caribbean resort – not helped by the live band playing songs like “Guantanamera” – and I think that detracts from the appeal of the whole experience, which is a slight shame, because the food is really very very good.  Perhaps I’m spoiled by the Raffles Hotel Bar & Billiard Room’s more personal serving of their food, along with the more sedate ambiance, but after all those cocktails, I’m sure no-one cared much, and also, for our boisterous birthday table, perhaps it was the best place to celebrate after all.  Happy birthday Chrissy !

The Greenhouse @ the Ritz Carlton Hotel
7 Raffles Ave
Tel: 6337 8888

Sunday brunch: 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m

Everybody loves a Sunday brunch

And everybody misses them after they’ve left Singapore.  Raffles Hotel’s Bar & Billiard Room was where we ended up last Sunday with a visiting ex-Singaporean resident, who now lives in Tokyo.  D and I had been there once before and were keen to go back again.  Although it lacks the ambiance Mezza9, which still remains a firm favourite with friends, but for food, I think Bar & Billiard Room at Raffles beats Mezza9 hands down.  You have a dizzying choice of incredible European cuisine to choose from –  it is a buffet but everything is so delicately laid out that you don’t feel it.  Small dishes are prepared freshly for you, for example the risotto, where a chef cooks a portion of risotto and then pours that in to a wheel of parmesan cheese, and then scrapes that all onto a plate for you.  You get to sample delicate scallops on freshly made rosti, and shavings of Iberican ham (which D and I went up for more than once !).  A chef will warm up a small cup of lobster bisque with crab meat.  Desserts are all delicate single servings.  You just don’t get the impression of hungry people descending en mass to the food.  If you fancy a wider selection of cuisine, then Raffles is not for you.  And at $200 per head, it’s a bit steep, but with freeflowing Billecart Salmon, it’s such a lovely indulgence on a Sunday.

Raffles Hotel Singapore
1 Beach Road
Tel: +65 6337 1886

Sensational Senso

I can’t believe there’s an Italian restaurant that’s been around for ten years (Senso was established in 2000) that I’ve heard good things about, and that I haven’t been to.

A late attempt to make a reservation at Oso, one of our favourite Italian restaurants, failed (unsurprisingly, all tables were already busy at 9pm), and we decided to go to Senso instead.  D had gone there for his work Christmas dinner last year and could not say enough good things about it.  He waxed lyrical about their slow roasted wild boar in red wine pappardelle, and a white truffle ravioli which he had had.

We were seated in the courtyard set in the middle of the restaurant and I think that’s where the charm of this restaurant begins.  I think because you’re surrounded by the air-conditioned part of the restaurant, you forget you’re in Singapore, and with the breeze of the night, you really are transported into the feeling that you’re sitting in a courtyard in the middle of the Italian countryside.

Add the friendly and attentive waitstaff and the so-helpful sommelier, Mr Najib and the experience gets better still.

I was quite in the mood for a good pasta and scanned the menu for the much anticipated wild boar pasta, which I wanted to pit against the same dish at Oso.  To D’s disappointment, the entire menu had been seasonally updated, and there was a distinct lack of any meat-based pasta dishes.

We started off with pan-fried buffalo mozzarella wrapped in parma ham and served with an olive tapenade.  The mozzarella came wrapped tightly in a blanket of parma ham which was pan-fried till crispy, leaving the mozzarella inside slightly soft and gooey and reminding us a lot of the texture of pan-fried haloumi.  The olive tapenade was almost unnecessary but it did add a soft salty flavour to every other mouthful.

I followed this with an open ravioli with pan-seared scallops and lobster with ostrecia caviar.  D had tagliolini with lobster, tomatoes and basil.

My pasta came to me looking like a soft pillow – the top sheet of ravioli covered two perfectly cooked scallops and a lobster claw – so sweet – with a light cream sauce.  It was so light I pretty much inhaled it.  D’s was a good solid pasta where the sweetness of the lobster brought out the sweetness of the tomatoes.  Absolutely wonderful.

The wine which we had to accompany our meal was recommended by the sommelier – apparently one of the few wines left over after they had a Christie’s wine auction on-site during the F1 season.  It was a Podore Castorani 2006 trebbiano d’abruzzo.  I’ve never even heard of this variety but it matched our pasta perfectly.  Straw coloured, the aroma was full of fruit and berries, with a strong sweet first taste that evolved to a crisp dry wine in the mouth.

I’m thrilled to find out that Senso do a Sunday brunch – all the Italian you can eat with freeflow prosecco – what more could you ask for ?  Is going to the same restaurant twice in the space of four days too soon ?  I don’t think so.  Not when it’s this good.

Senso Ristorante & Bar
21 Club Street
Singapore 069410
Tel : 6224 3534