If Pan Pacific Singapore’s Edge makes brunch a wholesome, super-long afternoon indulgence, Manhattan at the Regent Hotel makes it super sexy, and all you’ll want to do at the end of it is crawl home in an alcohol-infused haze and nap the afternoon away. Brunch at a bar? Yes, complete with all the booze and oysters to make you totally forget the imminent onslaught of Monday. If you’re from out of town, make this a ‘must-do’ on your itinerary.
The menu isn’t huge, but this is a different kind of brunch. Focused, boozy and sublime, the main act here is the heady cocktails by Ricky Paiva, Manhattan’s celebrated, resplendently mustachioed bartender who’s all about his rick house and barrel ageing.
For $150++, the drinks that flow are eight cocktails, including a dedicated Bloody Mary counter (more about that later), wines and beer. You could top up S$45 for a Billecart-Salmon Champagne option but why bother when there’s already a perfectly decent Bellini (with ‘fresh pressed seasonal juice’) for the asking?
Cocooned in the darkened, decidedly grown up interiors of generous leather sofas and dark wood accents, you’re first welcomed with a drink of Sipsmith Summer Bowl, a refreshing tipple of fresh berries, Ford’s Gin and East Imperial Mombasa Ginger Beer — drippingly exotic names that sets the tone for bespoke drinking on a Sunday morning.
Take your time, drink in hand, and survey the spread – the better to strategise your eating. If you’re a Bloody Mary sort of person, check out the dedicated Bloody Mary stand with a choice of spirits – gin, tequila or vodka – with which to base your drink. Just beside it is the rickhouse with a splendid display of vegetables, spices and sauces — not a salad bar, but the garnishes and additions which you can pick to augment your Bloody Mary or Maria. Now that’s making a big deal out of a small drink.
The food menu isn’t massive, but it’s more than adequate. Pick at freshly shucked oysters, Maine lobster and prawns, a selection of ceviches and the classic prawn cocktail. The Alaskan crab salad was good by the way. Then move on to the ‘breakfast’ a la minute offerings: lovely small pancakes with sweet braised apples and maple syrup and ‘bacon & egg’. Here, the egg is done sous vide so the yolk is drippingly creamy and the whites are wobbly tender, then it is breaded and deep fried. Crisp then creamy — a gustatory contrast made in heaven. Don’t miss the smoked foie gras, served with cherries, a risotto of barley and smokey onion rings, and the juicy pork sliders.
Skip the NY Strip and the necessary salad bar, and make my way to the bagel station. It’s a bit of a playground here – pick your own mini bagel, a range of homemade cream cheeses and the various cold cuts and things that you want to stuff it with. There’s often a queue, so make your order and come back later to pick it up. The bagels were soft and chewy – really nice, even for someone who’s not a fan of bagels in general. The cheese section in Manhattan’s Ingredients Room is also great – lots of unusual, mainly American cheeses like the Nicasio Washed-Rind Cheese and Point Reyes Blue Cheese.
Make room for desserts, which were very prettily laid out. Lots of delicate little morsels — I loved the oreo cheesecake (which looks like the actual oreo cookie but don’t be fooled) and the chocolate cupcake. Look out for the little hamburgers as well.
And of course, don’t forget to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Manhattan’s potions are all pretty potent and nicely balanced. To refresh, get the Bellini with fresh pressed juice, La Bon Vie, a gin and citrus cocktail, and the Sunday Spritz with Mancino Bianco Ambrato Vermouth and house-made grenadine. Leave the heavier, smokier tipples, Ward Eight and Old Cuban, to later.
Strictly adults only, Sunday Brunch at Manhattan takes food and tipples to another level. Very heady, pretty hedonistic – an all on an early Sunday morning! Do your long run before brunch, for you’ll surely not be able to run straight after that.
1 Cuscaden Road, Level 2, Singapore 249715
Tel: +65 6720 8000