Friday, May 8, 2009
Sunday Champagne Brunch at MELT - The World Café
It's an international spread, probably more than a hundred different items. It's near impossible to show you everything at the buffet, so here are just the highlights (and even these are plentiful).
Look at that gorgeous hunk of maple-glazed ham and prime rib of beef (it's better than Lawry's!). Served with Yorkshire pudding and fruity salad. The ham can be a bit fatty, so ask for a leaner cut, if you prefer.
I had the pleasure of meeting Executive Chef Eric Teo himself at the brunch. He and his team devised this international smorgasbord with special thought. They saw that many buffets tended to put out vast quantities of each dish in order to impress customers. But the team here decided to go contrary to that. Put out small amounts, but keep replenishing them. That way the food is always fresh. So what you will see are small but elegant portions.
Free-flow of Moet & Chandon champagne. What more can I say? There's also an option for Dom Perignon if you so prefer.
Eggs Benedict with crab, salmon, avocado or ham. I had one with crab in it. Lovely.
It might seem counter-intuitive to start with a burger but that's what I did. Put it down to cravings. Choose your own toppings - I went with avocado and tomato relish, coarse grain mustard and bacon. Hubby had his with sliced cheese and pickles. The patty is still pink within and not heavily seasoned. We liked the nicely butttered and grilled burger buns. The burger is Mr Teo's favourite thing for lunch, apparently.
The sausages in the background are pretty good too.
Pan-fried foie gras. Gently seared on the outside, but so smooth and tender within. The goose liver melts like butter in your mouth, and it's not gamey at all.
And then by Jove! I hit on the capital idea of adding this to my burger - instant foie gras burger! With foie gras you can actually see and taste!
Here's the raw foie gras platter next to the live pasta station. Entire lobes of liver, cut into thick slices, ready to be pan-fried upon request. The chef will even bring it to your table.
Oh, I didn't try the pasta station but there are some interesting sauces beyond bolognaise like chili crab, black pepper and cepe.
Sushi and sashimi is plentiful at this buffet. I've had quite a few of these in previous visits. Generally the fish is fresh although the sushi rice can suffer from slight dryness (from past experience).
Chilled somen and soba. I remember these were quite good in previous visits too.
Canadian lobsters, tiger prawns, and snow crabs. These looked fantastic.
Freshly shucked oysters, green lip mussels and sweet clams. All you can eat! The oysters disappear fast but are also replenished quickly.
There are so many gourmet salads and appetisers there, both Asian and Western.
Trio of smoked, cured and homemade gravlax. Enjoy these with pre-sliced bagels accompanied by capers, cream cheese (some with chives), sliced onions, lemons and so on.
A grand selection of French farm house cheeses. I particularly enjoyed the Reblochon. The Camembert is quite mild. This cheese board is a cheese lover's dream.
Mr Teo says normally they have the saffron cheese fountain, but too bad the machine was not operational that day. You can see what it looks like on Aromacookery. It pretty much works like a chocolate fountain, except it's molten cheese flowing. Like a giant multi-tiered fondue! It'd be so fun to dip breadsticks in that.
Dried fruits and nuts to accompany your cheese. I could just keep eating the hazelnuts, they were so fresh and delicious.
There's also an assortment of Italian cold cuts and dried meats. Items containing pork are thoughtfully indicated.
Beautifully baked artisanal bread to go with your cheeses, dried meats, cold cuts, and spreads. There's also a platter of herbed foccacia (not pictured).
The Chinese station has items from Cherry Garden upstairs. The Crispy Roasted Pork Belly is delicious. The delicate seasoning has permeated evenly through the meat. The fruit and corn salsa spread on top is a novel way of dealing with dryness that can come from the intense warming light.
The Cherry-wood Roasted Duck is moist and robust in flavour. I hear there's BBQ-glazed kurobuta pork on some days.
Freshly grilled tandoori and kebabs at the Indian Station. They also have curries and naans, which I remember are always fabulous.
There were many main dishes on induction warmers. Osso bucco stew, lamb T-bone, roasted duck breast on orange, seafood stew, freshly grilled snapper and barramundi, prawns and asparagus, mushroom and vegetable stirfries, roma tomatoes, grilled potatoes, shepherd's pie and a thick, creamy mash potato. Just to name a few.
All of which looked good, but I didn't have room for everything. Oh, I have to confess to liking their spicy prawn crackers (Asian station) just a bit too much!
The champagne isn't the only luxury at the brunch. MELT has an entire page of red and white house wines you can choose. They also make you feel very pampered by plying you with cocktails - we got a Bloody Mary, Strawberry Margarita, and Singapore Sling for our duration. You can also request specific cocktails and martinis (called MO'tinis here) if you like.
Hubby (who loves beer) could not believe the bucket of beer bottles in ice represented the many brands of free-flow beer you can have.
He went for a Petrus Blond - a lovely Belgian brew, soft and full-flavoured. We both loved it! This pale ale pretty much is my favourite now.
One of MELT's biggest draws is its desserts. There are two chefs who will make you waffles and crepes suzette upon demand. They also bake Mexican wedding cookies on the spot. And as with the other live stations, you don't even have to wait for your food to be ready. The chef will deliver it to your table. There are no table numbers so it's amazing how they remember orders and faces.
Their ice creams are a delight. I love the vanilla one, and always have it when I come. This time round, the waffle is a bit different. It used to be a thick square, now a thin triangle. But still good.
Hubby took the chocolate fondant with vanilla sauce, which was also excellent. Served in cups (not pictured).
They have many cakes and tarts as well as desserts in shooter glasses, but you absolutely have to try the Manjari chocolate cake. Made with some of the best dark chocolate ever, it's decadence embodied in a dessert. And I always adore those crispy chocolate beads! I believe some of the cakes and macarons are also available for takeaway orders.
Lots of fresh fruit (this is just part of the selection) as a healthy option for dessert. In terms of freshly squeezed juices - take your pick from carrot, celery, grapefruit, green apple, red apple, honeydew melon, pear, orange, pineapple, rock melon, starfruit and watermelon!
Assorted Nonya/Peranakan kuehs and Thai desserts. There's also local stuff like ice kachang, chendol and red rubies but I didn't see them.
My dessert platter with macarons, strawberry shortcake, manjari chocolate cake, apricot tart, rose ispahan and Thai jellies. You *must* try the white macaron - it's a piece of vanilla heaven. The shot glasses in the background are mango cream cheese and tiramisu. Both incredibly rich!
If you have young kids, bring them along! There are two brightly decorated playrooms called "Little Fan Land" (reference to the hotel's logo of the Chinese fan, I presume). Nannies will take care of your children while you enjoy your brunch.
They screen two different cartoon movies and have lots of toys and activities there. Your kids won't miss out on food - there's so much laid out here specially for them, from cute confections to savoury treats. And ice cream with toppings! The kids' food looks really fun and tempting. Made me wish I was a kid again.
The Sunday Brunch at MELT ~ The World Café is available from 11.30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
There are several pricing tiers for this luxurious meal:
- S$88++ per person inclusive of free flow juices and soft drinks
- S$118++ per person inclusive of free flow champagne, wine, martinis, beer, juices and soft drinks
- S$288++ per person for free flow Dom Perignon champagne, wine, beer, martinis, juices and soft drinks.
- S$48++ per child (aged 4-12). Children under 4 dine free at the playroom! Lucky buggers!
Hubby and I are certainly coming back for more, and this time, I'll be leaving the camera at home! I spent so much time on photos, I didn't get to try a lot of the stuff!
Do take a look at Aromacookery's post on this same brunch for absolutely yummy photos. She ate things quite different from what I chose, so you have more pictures to see.
Major thanks to Kelly Tan of Mandarin Oriental for making this visit possible. Also to Executive Chef Eric Teo, Restaurant Manager Christophe Delabarre, and Assistant Manager Sabrina Lim who saw to us with most meticulous attention.
Happy Vesak Day and Happy Mother's Day in advance to all readers.
MELT - THE WORLD CAFE
4th floor, The Oriental Singapore
5 Raffles Avenue, Marina Square
Posted 4:28 PM