Humour me, if you will. I will be shamelessly drawing from pop culture references as a visual aide for this review.
“Hold your breath, make a wish, count to three, come with me and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination…” Let me start with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Remember poor, scrawny Charlie Bucket’s face when Willy Wonka opened the doors to the Oompa Loompa factory floor? The sheer disbelief; the wonderment at the display of colour; delight in the prospect of greedily filling his belly with incredible confectionary items, and all the busy-ness that the spectacular Wonka Factory offered. That was me, walking into the Greenhouse of Singapore’s Ritz Carlton; my initiation to the institution that is the ex-pat Sunday brunch, Singers Style. It’s the day the maids don’t work and families are left defenceless, to fend for themselves.
Let’s get this straight. Brunch here is not a leisurely Skinny Café Latte and Eggs Benedict, flicking through the paper. Sunday brunch is a sport. It is not for the faint hearted and many fail in their attempt at the dining decathlon. This, my friends, is a marathon, not a sprint. There are food stations for just about every food group you can imagine and all must be sampled with vigour and strategy. It’s a buffet affair and it is nothing short of spectacular.
Let me walk you through the room in clockwise order. You enter at 6 o’clock, in awe of the variety of food buffets around the room. Do your eyes deceive you? Absolutely not! It is real, very real and all ready for consuming in whatever order you choose. In front of you is the dessert display, the centrepiece is the chocolate fountain, flanked on either side by a cascade of individual desserts, layered with colour, sugar, spice and all things nice. Floral arrangements are replaced with Donut Bouquets. I swear I could even hear the sounds of Gene Wilder singing.
Turning left, to 7 o’clock you find the refreshment stand, where you can order individual cocktails or if you are being considerate, jugs of cocktails for your dining companions. It is happy hour gone mad. Crystallised sugar stick swirlers, and top shelf spirits. The only thing missing is a Mixologist with live fire, a Bryan Brown Cocktail juggling act and Kokomo blaring through the speakers. A note on the refreshments: the price of the brunch also includes free-flowing vintage Moët & Chandon – Terrific value.
What follows here, I will run through quickly, so, in the words of Wonka, ‘if you don’t mind, please keep up’.
- Carb-loading at the bread station. Someone clearly robbed a boulangerie and delivered it here. Thank goodness.
- Hot Asian food – wok assortments of stir fries, rices and deep fried whole tender fish, plus sweet, sweet pork.
- Salads are next, and then
- BOOM….hit 12 o’clock and you hit the crustacean jackpot. At least four types of oysters from around the world are shucked especially for you. King prawns, Crab, Mussels, Scallops – the works. This is the altar of seafood and I was ready to worship
- Back on our clockwise journey, at 1 o’clock you’ll find the sushi stand, followed by iced confectionary and then a dazzling display of cheese. I can literally envisage the heart attack I may very likely have due to the assortment of cheeses that I absolutely must try, because, let’s face it, it would be a gluttonous waste to not sample them.
By now, you may be thinking, how thoughtless to not include the humble roast, three veg, gravy and pudding on the internationally renowned Day of the Roast (Sunday). Fear not! The Piest de Resistance of the room is the carvery station. Housed right in the centre of the restaurant, there are an assortment of baked vegetables and roasted meats. Today, thankfully, the roast of the day is Wagyu beef. This is serious carnivore territory. The Wagyu beef quarter stands out like nothing else. There is no other way to describe this other than to say it looks like a Fred Flinstone special order of a side of Brontosaurus, in the words of my mate Shane. For the beef lovers amongst us, this is the real deal. Tender, delicious and don’t ask me how they manage it, but this beast is perfectly cooked. Yabba Dabba Doo!
Service can be a sticking point in Singapore. However, on both my visits to the Greenhouse buffet spectacular-spectacular, the service has been excellent.
Having frequented the South East Asian hub that is Singapore a few times now, I’ve learnt that this city-state is not just a stop for plane refuelling. It is a destination. Singapore is all about quality and style, a shopping Mecca and importantly, a foodie delight.
Did you know?
- The philosophy behind the timing of brunch is that it is too late for breakfast and too early for lunch. The concept of ‘Brunch’ originated in the late 1800s as an “after-church” Sunday meal. The term itself is British slang, a combination of the terms breakfast & lunch, much like the term”Brangelina”.
- The famous Singapore Sling is a cocktail and was first served in 1915 at the Long Bar of the Raffles Hotel. The ingredients are Gin, Cointreau, cherry brandy, Dom Benedictine, pineapple juice, Grenadine, Angoustura bitters and limes.