Champagne with your Sunday brunch! (A prelude)

Now for something a little bit more snooty.

Since Joe arrived in Singapore in March, we have been to three different champagne brunch feasts with friends. While this is undeniably indulgent (both for stomach and wallet) it’s important only because it now makes us experts on which are the best. This is gluttonous necessary as we have two more opportunities in the next few months to do this all over again – first, when Kieran (Jacqui’s other half) shimmies on over from NZ this weekend, and secondly when Joseph’s mum and stepdad come a-calling in November.

For those of you who don’t know, a champagne brunch is something offered by most upmarket hotels in Singapore, where you pay a flat fee for some seriously devine all-you-can-eat food AND free flow champagne. Yes. Free. Flow. They usually run from 11am-4pm and you arrive sober and dressed to the nines… but inevitably leave looking more trashy than flashy after far too much of this:

 So far, we have been to the brunch at the St Regis (roughly $180++ per head), the Sentosa Resort & Spa Hotel on Sentosa Island ($146++ per head) and the Hyatt (roughly $160++ per head). Holy **** I just added that up and that is roughly $1000 on three meals. Shite.

Well then, I guess this blog is suddenly more of an appreciation of the brunch food we have devoured, and less of a prelude to the champagne brunches that will be. Oh alright, I suppose I can do ONE more… all in the name of research. Watch this space.

mezza9, Grand Hyatt Singapore (10 Scotts Rd, +65 6738 1234): HUGE room. Incredible sushi and dumpling spread. Also a fantastic array of cheeses, cold cuts and bread. The chocolate fountain was a nice touch and the strawberries were spot on. Totally devoured everything imaginable, so everything has blurred into one. Champagne: Can’t remember (whoops). Bubbles top-up rating: 7/10. They were busy, so we had to ask them a few times for refills. It all got messy, but it was all something like this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brasserie Les Saveurs, St Regis (29 Tanglin Rd, +65 650 66888): Book early, the brunch area is smaller than the others and fills up quick. Less appropriate for children. Different in that you can pick a main meal from the menu in addition to your 390857924629576 oysters and lobster tails (Joseph….). Unlimited numbers of various cocktails (lychee martinis spring to mind) are also included in the cost. Waiters bring around bite-sized delights at your beck and call. Champage: Moet & Chandon. Bubbles top-up rating: 9/10 (as in, they topped up our drinks after one sip). Food delights such as this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Terrace, Sentosa Resort & Spa Hotel (2 Bukit Manis Rd, Sentosa) +65 6371 1414: Make sure you get a good seat. We were on a big table quite far away from the buffet. This meant a wibbly wobbly walk for those of us in heels to get to the food, but also that the waiters took a while to make it to us to top up our drinks. We’re fast drinkers. We rated the Japanese spread here, as well as the lush roast meats section. Drool. Champagne: Duval Leroy. Bubbles top-up rate: 5/10.

No photos of this one (sorry) but here’s an image from the interwebs so it doesn’t feel left out:

Can you say, OM NOM NOM?

Blog readers: Any tips on where to go next, if our budget will allow it?

Pulau Ubin-ites

Last week there was a public holiday (hurrah!) for Hari Raya Puasa. Like many people, we (Jacqui, Joe, Lauren and myself) thought we should find something “fun”, “awesome” and “oh-so-cool” to do… unfortunately, everyone else had the same idea. Despite the crowds everywhere, we decided to jump on a bumboat (for $2.50) and ride over to Pulau Ubin, just off mainland Singapore, for a bike ride, some foods and a giggle or two. ‘Pulau’ means island in Malay, while ‘ubin’ means granite. This isn’t really relevant to the blog, it just makes me look smart.

So! Off we went, chugging along on our bumboat for 10 minutes to get to the island. See? 

 Ubin was TEEMING with people. There were bicycles everywhere, with children darting between them – most of whom I’m sure had never ridden a bike before in their lives. Upon arrival, we managed to find a spare seat at one of the little food stores on the island (one of only a few) and were delighted to find they sold big giant coconuts!  A feast before the biking begins? Of course! Lauren bought herself two-minute noodles to take home (she was very excited to find a flavour she had failed to locate on the mainland), Jacs and I bought three packets of ‘gems’ – animal cracker-tasting biscuit things with a dollop of dried, hard and colourful icing on the top – and we all, Joe included, devoured the best coconuts we have ever had. I nearly broke my spoon scooping out every bit of coconutty flesh I could.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Post-coconut feast went something like this: hire bikes, ride for five minutes, Joe’s bike breaks, change bikes, Becca’s gears decide to get stuck, she struggles up hills, we hang out with mangy dogs, we park bikes to walk along the boardwalk at Chek Jawa in the pouring rain, eat more gems and Twisties along the boardwalk, leave because of screaming child, get back to bikes, ride some more, Becca and Joe give up to eat another coconut, Jacs and Lauren carry on for 15 more minutes, take some funny photos then come back for more coconuts. It rains again, we leave during a storm (my genius idea to make sure we got a seat on the 12-seater boats; it worked!) get back to mainland Singapore……and decide to go and eat FISH AND CHIPS.

I didn’t know real, proper, battered ‘fush n chups’ existed in Singapore, but it turns out the Brits have got it oh-so-right over here. Smith’s Authentic British Fish and Chips in Tanjong Katong tastes just like the battery goodness back in NZ… complete with perfect chips, white bread to make chip butties and a, er, scotch fish egg. They also do mushy peas! It’s safe to say we were in heaven after a good four hours of trapsing around an island (although we were wonderfully hydrated, thanks to all the coconut).

 

 

The trip to Ubin is completely worth it, and there is more to eat there at the seafood hawkers, but we didn’t bother. Smith’s Fish and Chips is at 230 Tanjong Katong Road, with two new venues opening soon. Go to http://www.smithsfishandchips.com/

Craving of the day: Din Tai Fung

Chances are, if you’re my (Rebecca’s) friend, you like dumplings. And by like I mean love. And by love I mean would die for.

Last night was an unexpected affair, which resulted in one too many Jagerbombs (one is really too many) in Boat Quay and so now, Joe, Jacs and I are feeling a bit seedy. This ultimately leads to a discussion as to which hangover food is best. Right now I could slay some nacho cheese Doritos (Q: What did the Mexican say to the cheese thief? A: That’s nacho cheese!), while Jacs is craving pretty much anything to snack on (you should have seen the Ryvita cracker she just caked in Marmite) and Joe is probably keen to get on the Pimms about now to bring the last 24 hours around full circle.

But, if Din Tai Fung were a wee bit closer to our apartment. We would be there. Devouring these like there is no tomorrow:

The ones on the left are pork dumplings, filled with a hot soupy liquid at the bottom, which oozes out when you chomp into it. The ones on the right are also pork, but topped with one perfect shrimp, like a ripe cherry perched on pursed lips. Soak them in soya sauce and vinegar, and top it with finely sliced ginger and you’re good to go.

Ohm nom nom. Perhaps we could fit in a trip to Din Tai Fung before the Jagerbombs begin again this evening?

Every day is a purple kind of day

Just when we thought Singapore’s amazing hawker centres couldn’t get any better, along came something so delicious, so perfect and so unbelievably refreshing that when Joe or Jacqui asks me the following question, I can physically feel my tastebuds hugging each other in anticipation: “So, do you guys feel like getting a purple juice?”   

This question is normally met with a resounding and desperate “YES!”. Once you have had the pleasure of ingesting the almighty Purple Juice (yes, it deserves capitals) you will understand the crazed looks in our eyes when we know it’s juice time. It’s kind of like our (very Singaporean and not at all illegal) version of crack. 

Purple Juice is actually the delightful and surprising combination of red dragonfruit and soursop. For those of you yet to experience the taste of either, red dragonfruit is the brightly purple-coloured sibling to regular (rather tasteless) white dragonfruit. Soursop (which, I’ll admit, doesn’t have the most appealing name) is from the same family as the pawpaw and kind of looks like colourless, syrupy snot with black lumps (seeds) in it when it’s chopped up. I may not be selling this to you very well, but wait for it: when you put these two unassuming fruits together, in a blender, blended by a little old man (who now doesn’t even have to ask “wha you wan?” when we visit him) you are transported into JUICE HEAVEN. Dramatic? Yes. An exaggeration? Absolutely not.

Now, I may have to tell you here that we cannot take credit for the Purple Juice discovery. I’m not even sure locals know about it – in fact, judging by the confused and stupified looks I’ve received from other (less awesome) juice vendors when I’ve requested it, I’d put money on the fact that most locals won’t have tried this concoction. So, as much as I’d like to claim it as my own discovery, it was actually our dear friend and fellow Kiwi export, Lauren, who is responsible for spreading the purple joy throughout the lives of all my friends/visitors/random people I talk to. The juice vendor is probably pretty happy about it, too. I’m sure Fruit Juice #848 at Maxwell Food Centre in Chinatown has noticed a significant jump in his profits since the Kiwis came to town.

So, that’s the purple juice story. Or what I’m now calling The Purple Juice Phenomenon. You heard it here first!

Warning: Do not ever think that any other juice will do when Purple Juice is around. Today, Jacs (stupidly) decided to go for an avocado smoothie, which she had been craving since her arrival 10 days ago. You can see how well that went by looking at the attached photo.

Also, I should probably warn you, purple juice can lead to some other purple, er, things. Or, as our friend Lex dubbed it, Purple Rain. You have been warned (we’re responsible people here at Kai Ora; don’t ever say we don’t care about your health).