Adults only champagne brunch in Singapore – Manhattan Bar, Regent
The prospect of an adults only champagne brunch in Singapore is seductive. Heading to the Regent Hotel, just behind the famed Orchard Road, all the planets aligned.
We attempted to book this online but the hotel has recently undergone an ownership change, resulting in the email address our confirmation was supposed to go to is still being buffeted around in cyberspace somewhere. A quick phone call sorted our reservation.
The menu reads well and the free-flow Billecart Salmon champagne is one of our favourites. Sold.
Starting promptly at 12 noon, you’re given an orange-flavoured cocktail on arrival. As you can see from the picture above, Manhattan is a dark and moody spot – a bar/nightclub. A champagne brunch is a great idea to fill the space during the day.
And so we settled in. Apart from the champagne, there’s a Bloody Mary station, a small cocktail list, red and white wines and another station making Manhattan’s signature ‘boozy cocktails’.
There is a handful of food stations. One has seafood, the other a carvery, while upstairs, either side of the bar, are a range of savouries, including salad, and the dessert selection. Near the entrance, in a small anteroom, Crepes Suzette are prepared to order.
The menu dishes, divided into small plates and hot plates are delivered to your table on request.
While gluttonous husband immediately attacked the seafood station, Greedy Girl was a little disappointed to find no sushi – her mainstay at champagne brunches.
So here are our first selections.
Greedy Girl took some sliced chorizo, which was quite mild, along with excellent smoked salmon topped with a very light hollandaise and caviar, plus a small dish of seared Ahi tuna. The tuna was probably the least enjoyable of these, not having any huge flavour hit.
Gluttonous husband chose the Fine de Claire oysters, and a mussel. The oysters were superb, but the mussel a bit dry.
Then we shared the crab legs, with a dollop of ‘Bloody Mary’ sauce and horseradish. These were very substantial but the sauces didn’t add much.
Our first dish from the menu was a 62 degree-cooked egg with shavings of black truffle, brown butter and asparagus.
It was OK, although the egg just disintegrated, so the dish was quite sloppy. It needed bread to mop up but the flavour wasn’t compelling enough to occupy precious space in our bellies, so we left behind a fair amount of this.
Gluttonous husband spied what looked like a yabby on the seafood station.
It was, perhaps, a cross between a yabby and what we’d term here in Australia as a Moreton Bay bug. Is it something worth writing home about? Err, no … it had a very muddy taste and was otherwise unremarkable.
Next we tried the salmon confit with anchovies, olive soil crust, haricot beans and an avocado mousse.
This was acceptable, but Greedy Girl prefers her salmon smoked, cured, or raw. The taste of the oil used to confit the salmon was a bit strong.
Heading back to the food stations, unusually we got some items from what they term the ‘Cutting Board’ – some particularly plump-looking lamb cutlets.
Definitely the dish of the day. These were succulent, soft and full of flavour. So often the carvery stations at brunches have very overcooked and dry meats, so this was a revelation. We went back for more. The chef seemed pretty chuffed when gluttonous husband complimented him on the lamb.
On the ‘delicatessen’ counter, gluttonous husband spied a ceviche.
Presented perhaps not as appealingly as on our recent travels in South America, it was a decent dish. The sea bass had a nice flavour.
It was time for the dish Greedy Girl had been imagining in her mind ever since she saw the menu – a foie gras chocolate bar.
So this is listed under the ‘hot plates’. Greedy Girl assumed that meant the foie gras would be pan seared. It was cold.
It was supposed to be served with chocolate, brioche toast, apricot gel and pistachio powder. A dish that reads extremely well. But, here it is …
The menu said nothing about raspberry, which as you can see from the picture above, is drizzled over. There was no appreciable chocolate or apricot flavour – even though it looks like there’s a dot of the gel on top. The brioche toast is the cracker you can see sticking up.
Normally when foie gras is available at a brunch, we more than live up to our noms de plume and have multiple plates. Not this time. It was acutely disappointing.
Another dish on the hot plates list is BBQ pork belly, pictured at the top of this post.
This is something we did take multiples of. Along with the lamb chops, the pork was the pick of the offerings. Soft belly with lovely crispy skin it was served with a pear compote, pomegranate and sour cabbage. Delish.
The final hot plate was free-range chicken thigh. The chicken was coated in a crunchy polenta, served with mushroom pate.
It was perfectly edible and not at all greasy. Greedy Girl thought we were over and out …
Gluttonous husband took another trip to the carvery for the lamb and came back with delectable slices of roast beef.
For so late in the service, this was remarkably pink, moist and tender. A lovely way to finish.
But of course Greedy Girl couldn’t help herself. She headed for the extensive dessert station and brought back a selection of chocolate treats.
Here we have a ‘Snickers’ cake, a chocolate tart and a cookie. All very actually quite good.
Ordering a double espresso to finish and draining the last of the champagne, we were quite content. The food was slightly hit-and-miss, but we were told by the friendly staff as we filed out that the menu is about to change.
The vibe here is definitely ‘nightclub’ but it was a fun space and the music was generally pretty good. The service is, for the most part, excellent although they didn’t really understand our disappointment regarding the foie gras.
Still, would we give it another go? Absolutely. It was a fun spot. The rules re: no children are enforced and families have another restaurant to enjoy brunch, so all good.
Level 2, Regent Hotel
1 Cuscaden Road, Singapore