As I worked most Sundays when I lived in Singapore, I didn’t get to do all that many of the famous champagne brunches that the city has to offer. In fact I made it to only 4 places-Melt the world at the Mandarin Oriental, Prego, Senso and Mezza9 at the Grand Hyatt. Almost the whole gang made it for the brunch with only my friend who is admirably partaking in “dry January” and his wife abstaining – an imminently sensible idea as whilst he had very kindly made it through the night at Merchants with us, a boozy Sunday brunch is altogether a different thing and the cost is near impossible to justify if you are not drinking as we all were. I had requested that we try somewhere new and two options were put forward – Checkers at the Hilton and Lime at the Park Royal on Pickering which we eventually settled on owing to their UOB discount at the moment (we are so Singaporean now la!) The newly opened hotel is a real design triumph, it has already won several awards. Notably it is also one of Singapore’s “greenest” hotels which in this day and age is an important consideration. We arrived about 10 minutes early and took the opportunity to have a look at all the dishes on offer (and take photos naturally! Mine are as poor as usual but do check out D’s blog http://www.mylifeinsin.com/ for some more of her beautiful photos.
We were slightly suffering from the night before and so decided it would be best to get stuck into the champagne straight away – purely for medicinal purposes you understand! Their pouring brand is Piper Heidseck which I have not drunk in a very long time, it was served beautifully chilled and slipped down very easily indeed.
As for the food… well, where to start! They have a wide selection of chilled shellfish available as well as some very good looking sushi, plenty of salads; both Western and Asian roast meats, wok stations, laksa, bak kut teh, European cheeses, desserts and so much more!
I started with some duck rillettes and tabbouleh which was so good I went back for a second round of each! I then made it over to the wok station where I had a beautiful dish of stir fried pea shoots, asparagus, bok choi and mushrooms in a garlic and black bean sauce. This was SO SO SO good. The sauce was incredibly tasty and I was interested to note that he blanched the veggies ever so quickly in boiling water before stir frying them. Seriously, do not eat there without having a portion of this!
My friend M had spotted the Pata Negra Jamon leg and aksed for a few slices, only to be refused with the chef explaining that it was only a garnish for their mushroom risotto. Naturally this was like a challenge to us and we took it in turns to head up to the buffet and ask for some of this prized ham. Randomly we were given some (maybe he just didn’t like the look of M?!) and happily shared it with him on our return.
I had my small plate with some Manchego, baby gem, walnuts and grapes. At this point I became very nervous that the vacherin Mont D’or we had seen on our arrival would run out and so my next stop was for some cheese. Vacherin, if you are not familiar with it is a type of cheese made in both France and Switzerland. It is only made in the winter months when the farmers bring their cows down to a lower level on the mountains and hillsides to graze and is usually only on sale between the end of September and the end of March. The cheese flavour varies from month to month and whilst it always used to be exciting getting hold of one of the first Vacherin, it generally does not reach its peak until late November through December and early January (in my humble opinion) and so this is when I always keep an eye out for it at this time of year.
As it happened I was perfectly timed and managed to get a good teaspoon scoop of Vacherin along with some Reblochon that was so ripe we thought it might be planning an escape mission! Dessert is never my favourite part of brunch but the crème brulee and macaroons I had were very delicious and my friends went back for a second round of macaroons so we could try all the different flavours (salt caramel was my favourite!)
The guys who did try the shellfish and meat stations were all full of praise too, the pork belly looked excellent as did the prime rib of beef although there was also plenty of choice for those of us that eat very little meat. Of course a big part of why I enjoyed brunch so much was that I was with my lovely friends but I would definitely recommend Lime. The restaurant is so new and shiny, everything looks stunning and the service was excellent (apart from the initial jamon debacle and a strange horse radish related issue) All of the dishes I tried were fantastic and I cannot thank my friends enough for their suggestion and of course for coming with me!