the halia, raffles hotel

still very good food at the halia – a little expensive, a little exclusive, just the right spot of uppity for a dressed-up weekend lunch. it’s been a while since I last came here, and I’m impressed: they still know how to strike the right balance of intrigue and classic, and prices are just high enough to keep the atmosphere classy.

there’s just something about the way they blend their dishes and flavors that feels interesting, but at the same time hits all the right (comforting) spots.

I’m not too impressed with the photos I took this round, so unfortunately what isn’t displayed is the halibut en papillote, of delicious, tender white fish cooked under parchment in this CRAZY delicious soup of incredible savoriness.

served with sushi rice, you’ll need to grab a smear of the truffle aioli (which imparts yet another savory, umami note) and a mouthful of fish and soup to truly get the experience.

then and only then, do you truly get the experience.

what is pictured here is off their weekend brunch menu, three fluffy pancakes topped with bacon, maple butter, strawberries and what seems like crispy iberico. that last component makes a lot of difference to the dish, bringing quite a bit of sweet pork goodness to already properly-fluffy, well-cooked pancakes.

good food, but definitely on the pricey side – although I can’t help but feel that if I had to spend money, this is a good place to do so.

Halia at the Raffles Hotel
1 Beach Road, #01-22/23
Singapore 189673
tel +65 9639 1148
$$.5: 20-40 per person

coq & balls, tiong bahru

so-so brunch at this small cafe-bar-bistro in tiong bahru. this place is kind of meh – the food is just about alright – in that I would visit if I were living just a block away – but otherwise, it’s not entirely worth the trip.

and, such a deliberately provocative, scandal-inciting sort of name. almost definitely thought up by men – if the joy had by my male dining companions were anything to go by.

n.b. that is a photo of literal twiddling thumbs because I had confiscated the coffee to photograph. the camera eats first!

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jewel cafe and bar, rangoon road

pretty darn good brunch food, which is not something to scoff at in this new wave of coffee joints. it’s rather hipsterly located in the cooler part of little india, with a beautiful porch and a rather pretty interior full of whites and wood and metal.

it’s a decent menu by any standard, large for a coffee joint, reasonably priced, and the flavors are more than decent. definitely worth a visit.

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the book cafe, robertson quay

can you believe it’s already the weekend? it’s time for a rest – and almost definitely time to plan for one, if you haven’t already – and this place seems pretty good to cap off this hectic week.

I feel like its name suits this place, as it’s rather fortuitously decked out as a sanctuary to catch up on those eponymous founts of knowledge – or let’s be honest, random laptopping – with the food incidental to the experience.

not that the food is bad, but I just don’t feel like that’s the raison d’etre of this place. to be fair – it’s all pretty decent. my pancakes were just about fluffy enough, with a dash of powdered sugar and sliced fruit; eggs benedict as you’d expect, with flowy yolks and a rather cute addition of a latke; and an unphotographed order of cereal was a rather out-the-box execution of muesli, generic sweetened vanilla yogurt and milk.

so it’s all edible, but not exactly travel-worthy.

the calm of the place is more than worth it though. it’s hidden away in the outskirts of robertson quay (as though our red dot is large enough to quantify for this term), and almost completely rid of any hipsters – money can’t buy that second part these days. it’s not cool so much as cozy, with a smart layout of sofas at the back and traditional table-and-chairs in front, as well as the books and magazines all propped up on shelves everywhere.

get a coffee, and some food – support these people please – and while away your afternoon. it’s like being home, without actually being home.

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paddington house of pancakes, farrer park

surprisingly satisfying pancakes-and-all-that-flap(jack) at this malaysian chain outpost in the rather quiet sprawl of the city square mall. this place jumped right out of the radar because of my love for the eponymous breakfast food – but I resisted going for a while because it seemed rather too good to be true (and I got caught up in the new brunch places): my dream is for IHOP to set up in this tiny island, and this seemed a rather fortuitous manifestation of it.

but suffice to say that we were pleased when we finally came – the selection is huge, our dishes pretty much deftly executed diner-style, and we left with full bellies (and only-slightly lighter wallets).

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boomarang bistro & bar, robertson quay

decentish brunch in the expatriate enclave that is robertson quay. venturing forth on a sunday morning for brunch makes you feel like you’re in europe on a sweltering day, rather than singapore. I have to say that I do sort of enjoy this aspect though – it brings back vaunted memories of being in london on a summer’s day, and expatriates do know how to have a good time on our tiny island (probably more than most of us do). they lug about their strollers, with toddlers in tow scootering about and creating a ruckus – all of which, for me, create a relaxing sort of atmosphere.

boomarang is a huge restaurant, and its size even more impressive in light of the fact that it is a brunch joint, which locally generally means a tiny squashed place with few tables, and though its size meant that service was intermittent, and the food was by no means groundbreaking, it is decent enough to warrant it remaining on my places-to-brunch-list.

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balans, london

great simple brunch place along high street kensington. I used to live not ten minutes from this place, and always wondered what the food was like – I think I didn’t expect it to be impressive seeing as how this was a pretty generic chain (though really my liking for food at ASK and byron really should have advised me better). but this place was fantastic, and really just the thing for a mid-morning brunch with the family. it isn’t spectacular, but it is pretty good, and wholly able to satisfy the craving for some hearty food in the morning.

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barracks @ house, dempsey

I am so excited to share this with you, and have a feeling I might be alone in this immense regard for pancakes, but I shall persist.

really good brunch food in dempsey (though I fancy this might depend on what you order). this post should be short, unless I go into an unintentional but completely heartfelt essay on the beauty of pancakes for breakfast. I have been to barracks a couple of times now, for brunch/lunch/dinner, and I’ve basically always had a good time – with the only complain being price.

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