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Brunchin'

Brunchin'

If there's anything worth dragging yourself out of bed for....
Christabel Tan
Christabel Tan
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Do I know anything about African cuisine, let alone their curries? Not at all.

Despite being relatively unfamiliar with most of the curries and stews under "From Mama Africa", the one that caught my eye was the Swahili Fish Curry ($29). Red snapper features in what appears to be the priciest dish on the menu.

The concoction of tamarind, coconut milk, home curry paste and habanero yields a curry that's sour and spicy, without being overbearingly rich. Savouring this with some of that refreshing tomato salsa (served on the side) is non-negotiable; let those contrasting temperatures collide.

Maybe it's just me but there was a certain idyllic quality to this dish: doesn't it look like an island of fragrant coconut rice surrounded by a "sea" of curry?

4 Likes

The Shabsouka & Soft-Boiled Egg Toast ($11) won't give you the same pleasure as dipping crusty bread in a skillet of shakshouka, but it'll do.

Spiced beef in a tomato-based sauce, feta cheese (lacking), green chilli, cherry tomatoes and shiso sprout on toasted rye - could it possibly pass off as spicy spag bol on toast, minus the pasta? The portion size was just right, and with it being hearty, I was filled up rather quickly.

The eggs, though, were a sight to behold. All it took was a soft prod, and out came oozing a stream of liquid gold.

1 Like

I was welcoming towards the addition of crabmeat to the (some might say) already perfect trio of English muffin, poached eggs and hollandaise in FOCR’s Crab Benedict ($21). As much as I enjoyed the golden-brown soft-shell crab with mentaiko sauce, although it being deep-fried didn’t help, this dish was just way too creamy and cloying.

It got jelak and a little “one-dimensional” halfway through. The crab meat was sweet and fresh, but that was that. Even the ebiko did little to liven things up (ikura would’ve been a better but also pricier alternative). There simply wasn’t much going on. My taste buds were craving for something more, waiting to be perked up.

Don’t have this all to yourself; your best bet would be to order a bunch of other dishes to share. That’s what I’ll be doing on my next visit – I already have my eye on the Beef Tartare and Baked Eggs.

1 Like

It may not be the most cohesive dish out there, but having just returned from my favourite city Melbourne, the Eggstraordinary eggs & snags ($24) certainly took me back.

I've never cared much for asparagus, roasted or not, which I mainly eat out of obligation. For me, it was all about the spicy chicken harissa sausage, and crumbed crispy soft boiled eggs (the vegetarian equivalent of scotch eggs), with oozy yolks the colour of sunshine.

Both were balanced out by the sweet and zingy freshness of rocket leaves with balsamic and Parmesan shavings, tomato and beetroot purée.

1 Like

Customizing your plate at FlagWhite is not as dangerous as you might expect, unless you go overboard while ordering, as every food item under "Flag Your Brunch" is $4 or less.

Having yet to recover from my excessive holiday feasting, I decided to start my day on a more wholesome note, opting for sourdough ($4) with a side of butter, poached eggs ($4), sauteed mushrooms ($3), smoked salmon ($4), roasted pumpkin ($3), and a side of salad greens. Every component delivered, making for a hearty and satisfying brunch I thoroughly relished.

This alone served as a reflection of the honest-to-goodness comfort food you can find here - a laid-back spot to while away a lazy afternoon, book in hand.

2 Likes

Standardised breakfast plates are a dime a dozen nowadays. You may not give much thought to the Gastrosmiths Breakfast Plate ($22), amidst the other attractive menu offerings available, but hey, don't knock it till you try it.

I must commend the silky scrambled eggs, that almost outshone the other elements: crispy bacon, grilled tomatoes, mushrooms and a Nürnberger sausage. Each plate also comes with a slice of toast, which I believe is made in-house, and a little saucer of currant compote (a refreshing change from the usual berry jam). Ask for a side of butter.

2 Likes

I know next to nothing about Goan cuisine, and so cannot vouch for the authenticity of this dish, but a quick Google search proved to be useful in describing Goan-style curries as "intense" and "tangy". Sounds about right.

Gastrosmiths' Fresh Prawn & Wolf Fish Curry, Prata ($20) may not sit so well with those who insist on SPICY curry, but you ought to give it a chance. It tasted as vibrant as it looked, being tangy, robust and piquant, which can be attributed to a base of tomatoes, tamarind, and white wine.

I was more than happy to shamelessly wipe the entire plate clean with the accompanying crispy, charred, non-oily prata.

2 Likes

WEEKEND BRUNCH MENU
This long overdue first visit of mine called for an order of the Mezze Platter ($23), a selection of three mezze adorned with fresh herbs, vegetables, nuts, seeds, falafel and olive oil. Being a total noob when it comes to Middle Eastern cuisine (fusion or not), I didn't know where to start.

The three mezze I got to enjoy:
Burnt Miso Hummus (tahini, walnuts, blackcurrants)
Muhammara (red pepper, walnut, vine leaf)
Babaganoush (pomegranate, teriyaki, sesame)
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I particularly liked the first two, especially the hummus. Safe to say, I mopped every smooth, creamy and smoky bit up with the accompanying Turkish bread.

The 60°C Chicken Breast ($17.90) may not be the feistiest or the most sensational item on the menu, but let me tell you why it is no plain Jane.

You're not wrong to think of this as a healthy dose of protein and carbs. Remarkably tender chicken breast (having been sous vide and lightly grilled) sit atop silky mashed potato and shio konbu foam. The addition of grilled corn and roasted hazelnuts add a nutty, buttery and overall decadent touch.

While the olive oil could've been left out, that alone doesn't warrant a complaint.

The lack of big and bold flavours is clearly not a weakness here, as this unassuming dish is a "Wheeler's Recommendation" in its own right.

1 Like

This is a starter one wouldn't commonly find on café menus - crispy whole shishamo ($10.90) with homemade mentaiko sauce for dipping.

The cloying richness of the mentaiko sauce did get to me after a while, but I'll admit I had fun incorporating it into my main dish (specifically the mashed potato from the 60°C Chicken Breast).

A slightly more unconventional alternative to, say, truffle fries or calamari, and it's an opportunity for older kids or extremely picky eaters to step out of their comfort zones and into the "aquatic realm".

2 Likes

The Chilli Scram ($18) is unlike some of the insipid and uninspiring eggs-on-toast offerings I've seen elsewhere.

It is a prime example of a classic brunch plate: a generous portion of chilli-infused scrambled eggs (fluffy AND creamy) on crisp pepita toast, citrusy salad greens and a grilled tomato w/ panko crumbs.

The chilli itself isn't the most prominent, but the mild spice is accentuated by the onions, sesame seeds, feta cheese, and most notably, the wild mushrooms with aged balsamic. Every mouthful was rich, tangy, mellow and savoury - all at the same time.

Let us take a moment or two to appreciate brioche - this rich, buttery and mildly sweet French bread isn't known to possess terrific health benefits but boy is it delicious. It's also extremely ideal for Merci Marcel's French toasts ($17).

Some like their French toast eggy and soft, but this is on the other side of the spectrum (arguably the right side but let's not go there). Fluffy yet dense, with a cake-like texture, topped with berries, honey, toasted almonds and a dollop of cream. I didn't feel jelak at all, and in fact enjoyed every mouthful.

If you're the kind who opts for a sweet breakfast/came with kids, I sincerely urge you to order this.

1 Like

Make food not friends

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