The wildly popular Vintage Champagne brunch at Colony is the most spectacular Sunday champagne brunch in town.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel
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The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore, S(039799) T 6434-5288

The wildly popular Vintage Champagne brunch at Colony is the most spectacular Sunday champagne brunch in town, and it is usually packed with both expats and locals. Before diving into the buffet, take a walk around the different stations – you’ll wish you didn’t have dinner the night before.

One of the most popular stations is the ice bar, laden with an oceanic feast of Alaskan king crab, lobster, langoustine, yabby and prawn. Just next to these crustaceans, there are at least five types of oysters from France, Ireland and Canada to tuck into. Have these freshly shucked bivalves with shallot vinaigrette, cocktail sauce, cognac sauce, or a simple squeeze of lemon.

Beckoning diners is the assortment of sushi, sashimi and homemade gravlax. A host of cold cuts like air-dried wagyu beef, black forest ham, salami, mortadella, Iberico ham, chorizo, veal pastrami and pancetta is displayed on a glass shelf – along with appetisers like foie gras parfait with red wine jelly, and fig with manchego and Iberico ham.

The live stations are the showstoppers here. Check out the eggs Benedict (with lobster) and foie gras stations if you want to indulge, but do save room for the stellar cast of Chinese roasts such as crackling pork belly, soya sauce chicken, roast duck and char siew – all perfectly executed and as good as those served at high-end Cantonese restaurants. There are also Western roasts, such as beef tomahawk and pork knuckle, to sink your teeth into.

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The Indian spread showcases robust flavours of dum biryani, masala fried fish, butter chicken and rogan josh that go well with warm naan. Just a few steps away is the noodle station, which dishes out heart-warming wonton noodles, beef brisket noodles and boldly flavoured Colony laksa with lobster. The wok section fires up lip-smacking local flavours like salted egg yolk prawns, steamed fish with assam nonya sauce, and braised vermicelli with crustaceans.

The mind-boggling range of hard and soft cheeses from Europe – including rare ones from Provence, Cantal and Touraine in France – are all attractively presented, and clearly labelled so you won’t get confused. For sweet treats, there’s a dazzling range of desserts including cakes, tarts, pastries, miniature desserts in jars, ice cream, chocolate truffles, local kueh and macarons. Plus a live station dishing out crepe suzette and churros.

Faultless, highly efficient service makes our experience here memorable. And of course, what is a brunch without bubbly? The meal includes unlimited servings of Moet & Chandon Grand Vintage Blanc 2008, Moet & Chandon Grand Vintage Rose 2008,  as well as selected cocktails.

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21 Keong Siak Road, S(089128) T 6221-2189

Chef-owner Andrew Walsh calls this 40-seater a “fine-dining bistro”, but it is a lot more than that. The space might be plain but is properly renovated – no cost-cutting exposed ceiling masquerading as “industrial chic” here. There might not be linen on the tables, but dishes are served on bespoke plates. The waiters might not be wearing jackets, but if you look closely, they are all carrying identical pens, under Walsh’s orders. Walsh is clearly one with a fierce attention to detail, and we like to think that he has cherry-picked the most essential details that contribute to an exceptional dining experience and focused on perfecting them at this first solo venture, opened in 2015. 

Similarly, his dishes present the essence of the best seasonal produce he can get his hands on. The tasting menu changes monthly, while the a la carte menu gets updated every three months. When we visited in March for lunch, a starter of tender sous vide squid “noodles”, marinated with lemon peel, olive oil and thyme, and served in a clear apple consomme dotted with nettle-and-oyster emulsion, bowled us over with its intense, refreshing flavours. A grilled fillet of mackerel sitting atop a bed of taramasalata, and blanketed by a potato ribbon dusted with dehydrated pea and cucumber powder, presented a supremely well-calibrated mix of a variation of delicate textures. 

For its haute-cuisine quality, Cure’s items are extremely well-priced, with a five course lunch menu at just $69. The sharp-eyed will notice a $1 donation per diner included in the bill – this goes to helping to supply the needy with essential food items, through a collaboration with The Food Bank Singapore. The donation is optional, and Walsh puts in the money if any diner declines to donate – very classy. 

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#B1-71, Galleria Level, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, S(018956) T 6688-8517

For steak connoisseurs who want to take time to relish a night out, Cut by Wolfgang Puck is the celebrity steakhouse of choice. You could start your evening at the bar with a hand-crafted cocktail or a fine whisky (the whisky selection takes up four pages in the extensive wine list). Otherwise, proceed to the dining room, ease yourself into one of the leather armchairs, and look forward to your meal.

Signature starters include Alaskan king crab and shrimp “Louis” cocktail with tomato-horseradish, and the lightly spicy big eye tuna tartare served with wasabi aioli and togarashi crisps. Portions are substantial, so try to pace yourself. After all, beef is the star here. Steaks are grilled over hard wood and charcoal. You can jazz them up with steak sauce, yuzu kosho butter or Argentinian chimichurri. The list ranges from corn-fed USDA Prime steaks, grain-fed Australian Angus steaks and American wagyu steaks, to Japanese wagyu from regions such as Kobe and Miyazaki.

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Service staff are approachable and attentive, and know their menu well enough to suggest cuts according to your preferences: be it a full-flavoured grass-fed Porterhouse steak, a tender wagyu New York sirloin, or the exceptional Hokkaido Snow Beef farmed at a private reserve in Hokkaido. This prized melt-in-the-mouth beef is so named as the marbling is so fine that it resembles snowflakes. Accompany these meats with a rich “Mac and Cheese” made with cavatappi pasta and white cheddar. And for dessert, try Cut’s version of kaya “baked Alaska” composed of coconut cake, pandan ice cream, coconut sorbet and coffee crumble.

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#B1-48, Galleria Level, The Shoppes at  Marina Bay Sands, S(018956) T 6688-8525

When chef-restaurateur Daniel Boulud drops in on his outpost at Marina Bay Sands, its social media accounts come alive with levity. Either Boulud’s in the kitchen, having a blast with the crew, or he’s holding up a selfie stick as two dozen staff contort to get in frame. Even in his absence and under executive chef Jonathan Kinsella, the same cheerfulness and down-to-earth attitude permeate the swank and convivial DB Bistro.

Here you’ll find hearty food in generous portions – none of that bite-sized business that leaves you unfulfilled. If a two inch-thick beef patty stuffed with decadent foie gras and a side of butter-drenched escargot is your idea of a good night out, look no further. Don’t leave out the lobster sliders: turgid to the touch and succulent at the bite, the lobster meat yields sweet juices that are sponged up promptly by the fragrant, toasty brioche. Chase it down with a bottle of your choosing from the bistro’s veritable wine compendium, or leave it to the jovial (and very convincing) sommelier who has his pairings down to a tee.

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Of course, many come for the myriad of oysters, of which we had a dozen to sample. Touch an oyster’s mantle with the tine of a lemon-dipped fork, and watch it shrink away in reflex. The more vehement the recoil, the more recent the shucking. Ours pulled in at a remarkable rate. Majority of the platter was so clean-tasting that neither tabasco nor lemon was needed; the minerality and brackishness of the brine was sufficient seasoning. 

Dining at DB Bistro is a boisterous affair, with loud banter over upbeat tunes, even as noise from the shopping arcade wafts in through tall window panels that are thrown wide open. The mood is infectious, the staff are chirpy and helpful, and the food gratifying, so table this one for a delicious night out.

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Level 3, Pan Pacific Singapore, S(039595) Tel: 6826-8240

Even before Edge opened on the Sunday we dropped by, a queue had already formed for Singapore’s longest hotel brunch where one could get in at noon and not have to leave till 4pm. For the our meal, we could choose unlimited Veuve Clicquot brut yellow label or rose champagne, wine, beer, mojito and rum cocktails, or non-alcoholic beverages.

We were glad to receive wooden sticks with our table number on them so we could check out the interactive live stations, give our order, hand over the table-number stick and then wait for the food to be delivered.

The seafood on ice station, with chefs shucking French and Canadian oysters to keep up with demand, as well as prawns, Alaskan king crab legs, Sri Lankan mud crab claws, halved Boston lobsters, mussels and clams, had the longest queue. The seafood was decidedly fresh and, with the assortment of dipping sauces, its popularity is undeniable.

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We dropped by the live grill station for the Ohmi wagyu from Kansai prefecture in Japan, where we put our wooden stick to good use – they delivered it later. Nearby was an unusual sight – a half-wheel raclette cheese being melted and scraped off onto a plate with boiled baby potatoes and gherkins. We left another table-number stick there. Cheese lovers will be over the moon when they catch sight of the Cheeseboard with more than 30 types of artisanal cheese – if that table could talk, it would be groaning under the weight of all that pressed curd.

Good things come to those who wait as well. Near the end of the brunch session, a member of the bar staff offered mojitos table to table, while a chef pushes a trolley through Edge, trying to interest guests in a slice of a whole fish served table-side. We left Edge satisfied after a relaxed brunch; it would have been perfect if not for the live band playing songs on repeat.

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16 Jiak Chuan Road, S(089267) T 6222-1616

It’s a sign of the sheer depth of Singapore’s dining scene that you can eat tapas that’s as good as anything you might find anywhere in Spain. The fact that you’re eating it in the city’s old red-light district of Keong Saik makes the experience all the more surreal.

At the corner of the narrow Jiak Chuan Road is the ever popular Esquina. There are tables on the five-foot way outside and a 24-seater on the second floor, but the best seats in the house are at the high stools by the bar of the open kitchen, where you can watch head chef Carlos Montobbio and his young brigade cook up your meal.

After the more freewheeling style of his predecessor, Andy Walsh (who now runs Cure), Montobbio returns the kitchen closer to its roots as a Spanish tapas bar. The menu is compactly divided into snacks, soil (aka vegetables), sea and land. For the most part, the courses are bite-sized but they’re smartly executed with a touch of creativity.

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Munch on irresistible cubes of crispy potato “gratin” paired with black truffle shavings, iberico ham, a rich onion sauce, and organic egg yolk. And then move on to the signature suckling pig, which is a real stunner. Its skin roasted to the thinness and crispness of fresh parchment, both it and the underlying tender flesh yield to a gentle stab of the fork with a satisfying crackle. It’s all gone in three bites. Then comes an earthern bowl of sunshine – the signature saffron scented paella with sweet morsels of sea urchin and lobster along with crunchy snow peas, and golden dollops of saffron aioli.

Even if you’re full, order one of the desserts to round off on a sweet note. The BBC is a bravura mess of banana pudding, beer ice cream, and warm caramel sauce drizzled table-side. You will get spoonfuls of textures, cold and warm, yeasty bitters and smoked sweetness.

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 #01-01/02, Camden Medical Centre, S(248649) T 6735-0308

Fat Cow remains a stalwart among beef speciality restaurants here, managing to check all the right boxes for a good night out.

Conversation flows easily as the counter seats are well spaced, so diners don’t end up jostling for elbow space or unintentionally listening in on someone else’s conversation. If talking shop is in order, there are two private rooms that offer a more intimate space to do so.

At this Japanese-inspired steakhouse, food remains of top quality, served by knowledgeable staff who easily rattle off recommendations on what cuts of beef to have. Lunch sets offer good value, such as The Fat Cow Donburi bowl featuring tender slices of charcoal-grilled beef with onsen egg and shredded leeks over perfectly cooked rice. Or, if you want even more indulgence, enjoy the rice bowl with cubes of wagyu and glazed foie gras. Dinner is a more formal affair. The half cuts of Tochigi Grade A5 Ribeye and Miyazaki Grade A4 Striploin are grilled over binchotan and served with salt and a yuzu pepper dipping sauce – simple but wholly satisfying. If you like, you can also have beef prepared as shabu-shabu and sukiyaki.

 At Fat Cow, it’s not only about the beef. The tai no kuro-toryufu is a medley of fresh sweetness from slices of raw sea bream and earthiness from shavings of black truffle.

The wine list is not extensive, but carries popular labels such as Cape Mentelle from Margaret River, and Beringer Private Reserve from Napa Valley, which pair well with the food. Fat Cow also offers sake, umeshu and sake by the bottle. Our recommendation is to order a bottle and settle in to enjoy the beef with some good conversation.

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Goodwood Park Hotel, S(228221) Tel: 6730-1744

One of the last of Singapore’s golden era of hotel fine-dining rooms, Gordon Grill may not be hip or be a place that people go to see and be seen, but it’s still a stalwart establishment that punches well in its age class – at over 50 years old. The latest refurbishment of the restaurant has seen it take on a pastel palette, which just means that the food, service and dinner conversation will have to take centre stage. 

Gordon Grill is not one of those restaurants where the entire dining party has to order the dinner degustation menu, which is a good thing. We supplemented that with other dishes from the a la carte. 

The trio du soupe was a firm favourite, three little cups bearing a classic consomme, lobster bisque and tomato soup on the day we went, all classically executed with the requisite potency and fragrance. The first course of the degustation was a cold capellini pasta – a dish that has achieved a cult following with its appearance on quite a few restaurant menus and usually served with uni and truffle oil – here served with green lip abalone, farm caviar and white truffle vinaigrette. A side sprinkle of hae bi hiam (dried shrimp sambal) was like an insider nod to where we were at, and it provided a spicy kick and textural contrast.

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Many people who come to Gordon Grill do so because of its meat trolley – a European grill room-style presentation where various grades of beef are presented, selected, sliced and cooked to guests’ preferences. Although we had already selected the US Angus beef tenderloin from the degustation menu and ordered lamb chops from the a la carte, restaurant executive Krishna presented the trolley to us anyway – “for your next visit”, he said.

A must-order dessert is the crepes suzette – we think it’s the best table-side preparation we’ve ever seen. Krishna did it with such flair and care, while making sure that the Grand Marnier-spiked orange-caramel sauce was reduced to the right consistency. It was presented with a flourish – a balanced dish that was neither too sweet nor too tart. That, in essence, is what Gordon Grill is: a solid restaurant with a good classical foundation and occasional flashes of brilliance.

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Level 70, Swissotel The Stamford, Equinox Complex, S(178882) T 6837-3322

Jaan, with its spectacular view of Singapore’s Marina Bay area, remains one of the top dining destinations in town. There is always a sense of anticipation when you visit the fine restaurant, and step into the elevator that takes you up to the 70th floor of the Equinox Complex at Swissotel The Stamford.

In late 2015, chef de cuisine Kirk Westaway took over the kitchen from his predecessor, chef Julien Royer (now chef-owner at Odette), and slowly but surely, we have seen him coming into his own as a chef to note. Fresh, clean flavours shine through, and every plate is as pleasing to the eye as to the palate, thanks to Westaway’s precise hand and passion in finding the best produce. Think: ‘Majestic’ Irish oyster with artichoke foam and oscietra caviar, which is a luscious bite of briny goodness rounded out by the light flavour of artichoke.

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While we relish signature creations such as the dish of rosemary smoked organic egg with chorizo iberico and celeriac puree, and applaud Westaway’s exquisite heirloom tomato dish of French tomato cooked sous vide in tomato consomme stuffed with a variety of vegetables and Oxheart tomatoes, served with basil sorbet and burrata, we are also heartened to see additions to his repertoire.

Canapes such as crunchy rabbit spring rolls dotted with coriander yogurt, and smoked mackerel with capsicum puree and a savoury and crunchy multi-grain tuile, are lovely. The Alaskan king crab with pea panna cotta, caviar and sea urchin is a brilliant symphony of delicate sweetness.

The impressive wine list with some 500 labels has gone electronic and is presented on a tablet. We appreciate the detailed presentation of each dish and attentiveness of the wine service; though a touch more finesse and it would be impeccable. A vegetarian menu is available, and for that very special occasion, do consider the special menu paired with the finest Krug champagne.