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Brunch Munch

Brunch Munch

There's no meal more important than breakfast (or brunch if your bed's gravitational pull is too strong), so it's vitally important that you do it right. And these places definitely hit the nail on the head.
Russell Leong
Russell Leong

While my money isn’t thick and stacked (unfortunately), the Hot Pancakes from The Hangar certainly are. Three pancakes, composed out of The Hangar’s homemade batter mix, are drizzled with maple syrup and garnished with poached blueberries, thinly sliced strawberries and bananas.

For $20++, it felt kinda underwhelming. While the pancakes were fabulously fluffy and satisfactorily sized, it felt somewhat dull and monotone. The sweet poached blueberries, bananas and strawberries were nice, but it just wasn’t enough to tie everything together. What the hotcakes are sorely lacking is something to bind all the elements together, like a scoop of ice cream.

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Of course, ‘Straya serves up equally smashing brekkies to go with their sick coffees. Umami Bar’s Umami Divine (A$18.90) sees a three egg scramble jostling for space upon the plate with stellar smoked salmon, sumptuous sautéed mushrooms, lightly wilted baby spinach, smashed avocados, feta cheese and two slices of sourdough baked in house.

When a breakfast this banging is paired with a rippa cuppa, anyone can and will have a G’day, mate.

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The Hood Milk Bar doesn’t just do dairy related dishes, it’s also does what is quite possibly the most unique café brunch dish I’ve seen thus far.

The Beetroot Cured Salmon (A$25) sees one perfectly poached egg seated snugly upon a stellar smoked salmon croquette, and the other poached egg fenced off by a trio of beetroot cured salmon roses. Said salmon roses were flavorful, with an underlying yet unmistakable refreshing zest from the beetroot it was cured in.

The croquette was perfectly fried to a crisp exterior which contrasted the soft, fluffy interior filling of salmon rather exquisitely. The balsamic vinaigrette dressing ringing the plate was a nice shake up from the heavy, savory flavors of the croquette and the richness of the poached eggs. All the elements sitting pretty upon the plate fused together beautifully to produce the dopest brunch dish of 2019.

The food in the Hood is good, homeboy.

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While it might sound stupidly simple, The Oily George’s Salami & Cheese sandwich is simply stellar.

Everything is perfect: from the salami, to the cheese, to the tomato, to the rocket, and to the bread. Oh, and especially the bread. It’s then toasted to perfection, and best enjoyed with an equally perfect dirty chai.

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It's been an obscenely long time since I've parked myself inside The Hangar, so it was high time to right that wrong.

The Short Rib Shaksuka ($23++) has been critically acclaimed by Jayne, Veronica and many others repeatedly. Thus, after some deliberation, I ordered one. I'm not exactly renowned for making good life decisions, but ordering the shaksuka was definitely one of the best choices I've made so far.

A truckload of tremendously tender pulled beef short rib goes for a swim in a mildly spicy, tantalizingly tangy and utterly umami tomato paste. The bubbling, sensationally savory stew is then blanketed generously with a layer of cheese before the cast iron pot is baked to perfection to melt all that cheese into a magnificent, molten mess.

One egg is then cracked atop the boiling hot shaksuka as the crowning glory before it gets served with a few slices of Hangar's hearty baked in-house sourdough bread. Get all your photos in as fast as you can though, because that egg is gonna go from lava-like and runny to cooked through before you can grunt in pleasure.

With this short rib shaksuka, you definitely ain't getting shortchanged.

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Besides sweet Danishes and croissants, AM Bakery also bakes up loaves of majestic multigrain bread ($3.20 a loaf, if memory doesn't fail me) that's simply peerless. When consumed on the day of purchase, the exterior is satisfyingly crusty without being so hard to the point that biting into it may cause trauma to the more fleshy, vulnerable interior parts of your mouth, while the insides are sensationally soft and fluffy. It's also pretty damn delicious thanks to the fermentation process used by AM Bakery as well as the assorted seeds strewn all over the crust.

However, if you decide to keep it in the fridge to maximize its five day storage life, all you need to do is slice it up and toast 'em. The multigrain loaf magically gets even better when toasted, believe me. The crust is just as crusty as before, but the doughy innards just get so indulgently soft and light that I can't quite articulate just how wonderful it is.

Lads, if you want to make your missus happy, all you gotta do in the AM is whip up some of Gordon Ramsay's scrambled eggs, toast a couple of slices of AM Bakery's multigrain bread and give it to her in bed.

Give her the breakfast, not-nevermind.

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I was heavily influenced by fellow Tastemaker Xing Wei's post, and I found myself getting a trio of these char siew sou(s). And good Lord if was sou sou good.

Normally, char siew sous are overly oily with a pastry casing that's far too thick. Dim Sum Haus' rendition, on the other hand, boasts a thin, flaky and surprisingly oil-light pastry casing holding in a savory, satisfying char siew filling that's equally sweet and savory in all the right amounts.

Dim Sum Haus' char siew sous are sou good that if you don't order them when dining at Dim Sum Haus, you're doing the whole thing wrong.

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There ain't nothing like a hot bowl of congee to put some fire into your belly on a cold, clammy day, and Dim Sum Haus' clam congee is one of the best at doing so.

The clam congee ain't no con, as fresh, briny plump clams are suspended in a thick, nourishing sea of porridge alongside some finely chopped ginger and a few bits of you tiao.

Simple, but so damn satisfying.

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I've been seeing VXX Cooperative pop up every now and then on my social media feeds, but I've dismissed them as yet another overpriced hipster café that you could unabashedly whore yourself out to Instagram in. Oh how wrong I was, and VXX's stunning banana French toast set the record straight.

Two thick, fluffy and subtly sweet banana laden slices of French toast are conjoined by a beautiful berry compote that's satisfyingly sweet, yet tastefully tart. Light, airy mascarpone is generously slathered atop the beautiful banana French toast before a smattering of frozen berries are artfully arrayed atop the whole thing.

On its own, it's a satisfying, sweet start to any day of the week, but when that delectable coffee custard sauce rains upon the colorful parade, and when a scoop of VXX's stellar signature coffee ice cream is tacked onto the already amazing affair, it just takes you to a higher level. At no point while consuming this tantalizing toast did I ever feel like I needed an insulin shot.

All the flavors combine to bring you a sweet symphony of delight, and good God do I need to get myself an encore of this palatable performance. When the price of admission is just a modest $12 with an additional $4 for that superb scoop of ice cream, there really isn't much that can dissuade me from returning for more.

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Brunch just wouldn't be complete without waffles. And Atlas' berry compote waffles are some of the best in the land, so you really, really don't have much of an excuse not to order 'em.

A shockingly sour and tart summer Berry compote is generously splashed out all over the internally fluffy, externally crispy waffles before being finished off with an artistic drizzle of honey, and a super sized scoop of vanilla ice cream.

For $13.50, it doesn't sound like value for money, but each individual element is so finely executed to the point where it all comes together like a symphony, believe me.

The fluffy, substantially sized waffle absorbs the tart berry compote and softens up a little for easier ingestion, while the honey and ice cream serve to balance out Atlas' berry compote, which is the most sour and tart rendition I've had thus far with their sweetness. The slowly melting, suitably sweet vanilla frozen dairy treat lubricates everything and gives it a lush richness and a pleasantly icy temperature as it winds its way down into your tummy.

Atlas' buttermilk waffles are so good, you can use 'em to butter up whoever it is you need a favor from.

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I haven't had a lazy Saturday brunch in quite a while, and I could definitely do worse than to get back into the swing of it with Atlas Coffeehouse.

Their low and slow pulled pork consists of a hill of Atlas' 18 hour slow braised pulled pork carefully piled onto two thick slices of sourdough toast followed by a couple of rashers of streaky bacon draped atop Pulled Pork Hill, a generous glob of scrambled eggs on the side, and garnished with a garden of arugula so you get some fiber in.

The pulled pork was tantalizingly tender, but interestingly enough, it wasn't quite as moist as I had expected. Perhaps it was due to the pork being shredded too early, and then sitting out too long before being served and thus losing most of their natural meaty juices. Whatever the reason was, the pulled pork was delicious, but not as juicy as I would've liked.

As for the brown sauce itself, I'm not quite a fan of it. Sure, it was rich and savory, but that was it. Instead of it using the one dimensional brown sauce, I would've much rather Atlas used a North Carolinian style sweet barbecue sauce, as it would've introduced some heat and a sliver of sweetness to the dish. The sourdough wasn't quite up to par as well, due to the crust being more chewy than crusty, which was a bit of a shame.

Fortunately, the scrambled eggs pulled off the carry of the game. They were stunningly velvety, smooth, creamy and so pillowy soft that one could practically inhale the eggs without any chewing. They went well with the artfully greasy and delightfully savory rashers of bacon, and helped to break the monotony of the rich, savory pulled pork. The arugula did well at injecting its natural pepperiness into the dish, but excelled especially when paired with the scrambled eggs.

Protip: come in before 11am if you're not particularly keen on waiting for seats. I arrived at 930 and walked right up to a seat of my choosing, but at 11, the crowd magically appeared as I was sipping Atlas' excellent earl grey tea.

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I have no idea why it's called Homer's Breakfast, but it's a simple, straightforward yet surprisingly enjoyable classic American breakfast. Two chicken chipolata sausages, a large beef frankfurter, a few rashers of turkey bacon and two sunny side ups form the substantial protein formation of Homer's Breakfast. To make it more well rounded, mesclun salad, baked beans and a freshly baked in-house walnut raisin roll is thrown into the flavorsome fray.

While the chicken chipolata was absolutely appetizing but dripping with excess oil, I preferred the heftier beef frank. Juicy, stunningly savory with a little spice to keep it nice, rich in flavor thanks to the beef, and its casing separated with minimal fuss with satisfying snaps.

This great American fry up could've become far too rich and overwhelming with all the rich and savory elements on the plate, but fortunately there was a direct counter in the form of a refreshing glass of iced Dilmah English breakfast tea that had been infused with lemon.

Due to the lemon, it was zesty and tart, cutting straight through all that grease and the heavy, salty flavors on the plate, while the crisp English breakfast tea washed down Homer's Breakfast in style.

This tea trail was organized by @dilmahsg and @foodcultpr, and thanks to @burpple for the invite!

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Alcohol may not be good for my body, but my body is good for alcohol.

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