The Brunch Bunch

The Brunch Bunch

If you are going to get out of bed on weekends, then the brunch has to be worth it. Here is my compilation of the brilliant and the acceptable.
Veronica Phua
Veronica Phua

For those who gravitate towards pastas with a tomato-based sauce, you can try this as the shredded crabmeat is cooked in a tangy marinara sauce.

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A rare sight in Singapore cafes, this was real heartiness as it comprised of a 150gms piece of juicy ribeye, wilted baby spinach (lI ove!), a poached egg smothered in hollandaise sauce, grilled potatoes and half a tomato. If you are after a protein-rich breakfast/brunch that’s value-for-money, this ticks the box for sure.

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@twentyeightcafe sits at the base of Mount Sophia on its namesake of Wilkie Road, in a gorgeous heritage building. The white, high-ceilinged casual eatery is quite understandably, a favourite of nearby residents and is always buzzing whenever I’ve dropped by.
They have a wonderfully wide menu which means it is easy for everyone to find something to enjoy, and in all honesty, in terms of taste, quality and presentation, the food at #twentyeightcafe is better than most.
I already foresee a headache on my future visits because it won’t be easy deciding which of these four favourites of mine to have again:

1. B.L.T. ($15+) - It’s done EXACTLY if I were to make it myself. Ratio is everything when it comes to this sandwich and theirs score 10/10 in my opinion for the proportion of bacon (it’s fried-in-butter and is crispy but not hard) to crisp lettuce to juicy tomatoes to sourdough. They only add a smidgen of mayo to their BLT which I agree works best.
2. Sakura Ebi with Kombu Angel Hair Pasta ($18+) - Not sure how I missed seeing this on the menu before but oh boy, is it a blast of umami shiokness! There’s so much of the lightly crispy, tiny yet potent Japanese shrimp, plus the pasta has the perfect bite.
3. Avocado Smash on Sourdough ($18) - Far from basic as the avocado is joined by two poached eggs, feta cheese, guacamole, roasted baby tomatoes, pomegranate, sunflower seeds, sprouts and some lemon vinaigrette. Totes tasty.
4. Fluffy Pancakes ($16+) - As you can tell from my video, this dish lived up to its name. But besides the visually appealing wobbliness, the airy-light pancakes have a rich eggy taste. I tried the sweet version that day as we had shared it for dessert. So it came dressed in mixed berries compote, honey yogurt and walnuts. But there is a tempting savoury option with the fluffy pancakes decked out in smoked salmon and a sour cream and onion sauce.

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Sure to fill the famished, this is a huge serving of two eggs (I recommend the scramble as they do it exceedingly well here), two tender slabs of more-sweet-than-smoky thick-cut maple bacon (Head Chef Sebastian told me they make it in-house daily), one chicken cheese sausage, a much-better-than-average hash brown, very fragrant spinach sautéed in garlic, sautéed mushrooms and toasted sourdough.
It isn’t just quantity over quality because taste-wise, I think the food is really good too.

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I had misread this as Eggs Benedict and only realised my mistake when it arrived. But no matter because I was very pleased with how the dish turned out. It comprised of two 63-degree-cooked eggs on a heap of garlic-sautéed spinach ringed in roasted cherry tomatoes and topped with a luscious beurre blanc sauce. Since I had opted for the vegetarian version, there were also two kinds of mushrooms loaded on. Toasted sourdough is included on the side as well so this dish is really substantial even without meat. The non-vegetarian option has the mushrooms replaced by tender slabs of more-sweet-than-smoky, thick-cut maple bacon (it’s made in-house daily).

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Because he is a fan of burrata himself, @thebrewingground’s Head Chef @sebastiansjl’s is particularly proud of their “Burrata and Tomatoes Tartine” ($18). Having tried it this morning, I must say I love it too.
Served on a thick slice of sourdough is a generous amount of the creamy cheese. The brilliance is in how it is deliciously balanced by sweetness from caramelised onions and marinated cherry tomatoes, as well as the complex tang of balsamic glaze, fragrance from basil and a fun bit of crunch from toasted almond flakes.
As it is not served hot, there is a heightened sense of freshness and lightness about this open-faced sandwich. Yet, it is really filling. The accompanying mesclun salad isn’t an afterthought either. It tastes exceptionally perky and is no doubt, one of the better ones I’ve had.

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Some time ago, @kevin_the_hiak had mentioned to me that his friend and ex-colleague, Chef @sebastiansjl whom I’ve also met, was starting his own cafe. Then recently, I began seeing via Instagram Stories, @fionatingx frequent this charming cafe near her home that serves tempting looking food. I put two and two together and realised it was one and the same. So yesterday, T.H. and I dropped by there to have a quick lunch.
The cafe is tucked away in “The Yards at Joo Chiat” (it used to be a school many, many years ago if I am not wrong) and has a lovely laidback feel. We chose to sit indoors but there is seating outside as well. Right next to the cafe is a magnificent Kapok Tree said to be more than eighty years old.
It took a while to decide what to order as many items in their menu beckoned. Eventually, the Breakfast Burger ($20) won. Mostly because I saw it contains scrambled eggs and I know for a fact Head Chef Sebastian does a most excellent one. Sealing the deal was the knowledge that the pork sausage patty is also made in-house.
What a winner this Breakfast Burger turned out to be. Bigger than I’d expected, the ratio of all the components was 100% on point. While the signature scrambled eggs was a fat cushion of creamy silkiness (it’s every bit as perfect as I remember!), the pork sausage patty was thick, juicy and tastily-seasoned. Even the amount of caramelised onions, ketchup and mayo in between those toasted brioche buns was perfect - not too much, not too little. I highly recommend ordering this.
We plan to return soon. Not just because it is conveniently located to where we live but honestly, there are many more items on their menu we want to try.

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As pretty as the food appeared, it’s the a-cut-above-the-standard flavours I found most memorable. Everything we ordered, tasted fresh and delicious. For eg. my Avocado Smash ($18) was not basic like in many other places. Instead, they heap their sourdough with pieces of avocado, guacamole, two poached eggs, feta cheese, roasted baby tomatoes, pomegranate, sunflower seeds, sprouts and a drizzle of light lemon vinaigrette. So there was great texture at play in that appealing mix as well.

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( INVITED TASTING )
Thanks to @bydanieleng, we got to check out the brand new Weekend Brunch at @bochinchesg on a Sunday.
You’ll be pleased to know they serve cocktails and wines but being a temporary teetotaller, I had a fresh juice instead - a lovely blend of pineapple, celery, orange, carrot and ginger ($9++).
While we perused the food menu, Head Chef @chef_fabi got us sorted with a quick snack of Chorizo Croquettes. It was one of the items delivered to me during Circuit Breaker and although it tasted nice back then, of course it was even better eaten piping hot.
Since @bochinchesg is an Argentinian restaurant well-known for their meats, my instinctive choice were the Brunch items featuring them. Once I learnt they make their own sausages in-house, it was a done deal that we had to get the “Huevo Rancheros” ($24++) and the “Gran Desayuno” ($42++).
The former featured lamb chorizo cut up into chunky pieces and laid on a very thin, crispy tortilla base spread with spiced yoghurt, and strewn with onions, piquillo peppers and fresh mint. Chef Fabi recommended it be eaten like a pizza, so it was bye-bye cutlery. We were very much taken with the punchy flavours of this, and I thought the lamb chorizo was well seasoned and not gamey at all.
As for the “Gran Desayuno” or “big breakfast”, it certainly lived up to its name. There were two eggs (cooked any way you prefer), Wagyu beef sausage, grilled portobello, bacon, tomatoes, polenta “hash browns” and sourdough. On the side, a refreshing Lime Sambal that added a welcome cut-through to the richness on the plate. This is a dish that’s sure to keep you full for the rest of the day.

For those who drive, you’ll be glad to know parking is a breeze as the CBD is much quieter during the weekend.

Eggporn is at its yummiest when the perfectly poached eggs are smothered in a lip-smacking sauce. Like this delectable version at @allium.sg (thanks Chef Dillon for letting us have a taste). We had gone there for brunch and were busy enjoying our orders of “Muffaletta” Sandwich ($22 nett) and “Hainanese Sweet & Sour Pork Loin” ($26 nett) when we were surprised by a serving of this “Heritage Eggs” ($19 nett). Covered in diced Jamon Serrano, a very appetising pickled shallot beurre blanc, and accompanied by sautéed spinach and finely chopped chives, this was a wonderfully rich, savoury and absolutely delicious dish. On the side was housemade bread to make sure we could mop up every bit of that eggy goodness.

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I assumed it would be the Italian cheese, a savoury version of the mozzarella, that would command this stage but the Shakshuka’s smoked tomato chutney snuck up and stole the show (price: $22). I have to admit though, I wouldn’t mind if it had a bit more body.
The default bread it comes with is housemade rye (pictured above) which is perfectly fine, but since I am not a fan of rye per se, I added on Pane de Campagne, an Italian crusty bread ($5). Also made in-house at @burnclubst, the four slices were deliciously dressed with dried herbs and a drizzle of olive oil. I preferred the texture of this dunked in the Shakshuka.

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We were happily enjoying our spread of brunch items when from out of the blue, Sous Chef Nadine kindly sent over this plate of Chicken Urfa Kebab served with grilled cabbage and orange salad with mango amba, tehina and toum.
I had actually tried it at the hosted media tasting a few weeks ago and liked it but didn’t dare order it this time as I had already picked a number of dishes for us. Nonetheless, once it landed on our table, it was very warmly welcomed.
After just one bite, we were smittened. I swear it was even more delicious than the serving I had at the media tasting. The tender, smoky chicken meat seemed extra juicy and I do love meat that’s executed well.

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