Brunch spots by the Bay
As a child, Jonathan Kinsella, executive chef at Daniel Boulud’s db Bistro & Oyster Bar, remembers his father making breakfast for the whole family every day. “My father is a chef and he was rarely home for dinner as he was running a restaurant so he always made sure to cook us breakfast,” Kinsella recalls.
“He would make spiced apple pancakes, soft scrambled eggs with roasted sausages and whole button mushrooms cooked in butter. When we were very young he used to make us soft boiled eggs with toast soldiers and cinnamon raisin oatmeal, which is still one of my favourite things to eat today.”
No wonder then that brunch has become an important part of the db Bistro & Oyster Bar at Marina Bay Sands. Weekend brunch is a popular activity for Singapore residents and as such is a mainstay of many restaurants and hotels in the Lion City. But the restaurants at Marina Bay Sands each offer something a bit special
At db several of Daniel Boulud’s personal favourites are on the menu including oysters and seafood platters, lobster rolls, duck hash, Croque Madame, crepes and French toast. “Our French toast is just to die for,” says Kinsella. “We make a kugelhoff which is a brioche with raisins and apples inside of it that we bake specially for brunch. We caramalise the brioche in acacia honey butter. It really is the ultimate French toast.”
“We have the best Croque Madame in Asia,” Kinsella continues. “We make cure own ham and bake our own bread, we melt a combination of Emmenthal and Gruyere cheeses over the top and inside of it until it has a crispy outside and gooeey inside, then we top it off with a perfectly cooked farm egg. It is absolutely fantastic and it has become a signature of Daniel Boulud’s brunch menus worldwide.”
Next door at Osteria Mozza, co owner Nancy Silverton is known of the Queen of Brunch, so it follows that their Sunday brunch is impressive. Her former restaurant Campanile in Los Angeles was an institution. “Families used to bring their children who would play around the fountain and we would see those children grow up, get married and start bringing their own children to brunch,” says Silverton.
In Singapore, you may not have Stevie Wonder as a fellow diner who once sang Happy Birthday to another customer at Campanile but there are Silverton’s signature pastries. Her lineage as a James Beard Award winning pastry chef are evident in the unique assortment of freshly baked muffins and pastries which kick off the brunch menu.
To follow are made to order dishes including Smoked Sea Trout Eggs Benedict; Burrata with Bacon and Caramelized Shallots; and Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes with Lemon Mascarpone. Most popular of all are Pan Roasted Wagyu Tagliata with olive oil fried egg and salsa verde; and Baked Eggs in Tripe alla Parigiana.
Likewise at Adrift by David Myers in the lobby of Marina Bay Sands hotel, brunch is also an important event. “The weekend is such a precious time for us all,” says Myers who divides his time between LA and Singapore. “It enables us to sit back, relax and recharge with family and friends. A brunch is a great, easy time to connect over food and some great drinks.”
Adrift offers a combination of semi buffet and table service. “I think that being in a hotel, many of our guests prefer having a buffet option,” says Myers. “We’ve decided to take the best of both worlds – a well curated buffet spread complemented by a hot main course ordered from the kitchen.”
Both the food stations and the made to order small plates showcase Adrift’s unique approach of mixing Asian flavours with California style dining. “It is a fresh and innovative rework of traditional brunch dishes,” says Myers. “I wanted to introduce a brunch menu that celebrates modern American cooking inspired by the rich flavours of Asia.” These include a buffet of chilled seafood, light salads, tropical fruits, freshly baked pastries, artisan cheeses and charcuterie.
Made to order mains include Ricotta Pancakes with yuzu honey, vanilla persimmons and azuki bean ice cream; King Crab and Pineto Cheese Omelette with avocado toast, rocket and radish salad; and Adrift Benedict with grilled rice cakes, onsen egg, bacon and hollandaise.
Bread Street Kitchen by Gordon Ramsay has also introduced a weekend brunch menu. The restaurant has the advantage of being on ground level with views of Marina Bay itself. “Walking by the Bay on a lovely Saturday or Sunday with your family and friends, stopping by Bread Street Kitchen for a great brunch while enjoying the great view, who wouldn’t?” says executive chef Sabrina Stillhart.
With Gordon Ramsay’s British roots there is of course a “full English” cooked breakfast on the menu. “In [the original] Bread Street Kitchen London we sat down at 10.30am for staff breakfast,” says Stillhart. “I loved the bacon on toasted bread with scrambled eggs, roasted mushrooms and tomato Ketchup.”
Similarly, the English Breakfast at BSK in Singapore comprises eggs, bacon, sausage, mushrooms and baked beans. Other classics include Eggs Benedict with a choice of smoked salmon, honey roasted ham or spinach and Buttermilk Pancakes with honeycomb butter and banana. Starters and salads incude favourites from the regular menu including Tamarind Spiced Chicken Wings and Spicy Tuna Tartare. Not forgetting desserts such as Chocolate Fondant and Banana Sticky Toffee Pudding.
There are some healthy choices too, inspired in part by the cyclists and runners who enjoy the Marina Bay waterfront at the weekends. Ramsay himself has been known to join them when he’s in town. A Post Workout Menu includes Avocado on Toast and Yoghurt with Homemade Granola and Berries as well as a Detox Juice made of apple, spinach, kale, ginger, cucumber, green bell pepper and lemon.
As with every good brunch, drinks play an important part at the Marina Bay Sands restaurants. Bread Street Kitchen offers a range of freshly pressed juices and smoothies. The classic brunch staple, Bloody Mary, is served at both db and Adrift but with a twist. “It’s spicy with fresh grated horseradish, black pepper and Tabasco. The Bloody Mary is garnished with house made ham, pickles, prawns, tomatoes and peppers. It’s like a meal in itself,” says Kinsella of the db version.
“The most loved cocktail on the brunch menu has to be the Bloody Mary. Of course we have reworked the traditional recipe,” says Myers at Adrift where the bar programme is overseen by renowned New York mixologist Sam Ross. “What gives it its edge is the house smoked salt – it’s delicious. For big groups we can create a punchbowl of the cocktail which seems to go down very well.”
At Osteria Mozza, the Bellini is the signature brunch cocktail in keeping with the Italian cuisine. The fresh white peach juice topped with prosecco is apparently Mario Batali’s favourite brunch time beverage and is available free flow. “The Bellini is a classic cocktail created in Venice at the famous Harry’s Bar by Giuseppe Cipriani,” says Silverton. “With its refreshing spumante and subtle stone fruit, we think it is the perfect day time tipple to combat the Singapore heat and the perfect pairing for any of our brunch dishes.”