Bar and Billiard Room @ Raffles Hotel: Sunday Champagne Brunch

This one tops it all.

I've had the good fortune of patronising a couple of Sunday champagne brunches over the past year, mildly impressed by some, chuffed that I couldn't stomach any more at others; BUT, it is my most recent endeavor at Bar and Billiard Room that takes the cake.

There's just something about dining in the age-old institution complete with grand chandeliers hanging down from high ceilings and navigating your way around a stand alone saloon-style bar right smack in the middle of the dining room,  that makes the experience so charming. Despite the buzz in the room generated from the the popping of champagne bottles, the Bar and Billiard room feels like a quiet harbor away from the eddies and currents of commuters outside. Almost like stepping into a time portal that transports you to experience the hospitality of the colonial period.

Start your journey off at the North side, the entire room cordoned off to exhibit colorful displays of bread, cheeses, cold cuts, desserts and antipasti of all forms. 

Take your pick from an astonishing array of cold cuts, antipasti and composed salads ; but remember, the rule of the game is to pace yourself. I'm particularly fond of the Cured Salmon with dill and the classic Tomato and Mozzarella Olive dip with rocket salad. Egg nerds can also fill in on the variations on offer here, the Egg Mimosa with Avocado and Golden Crouton goes down perfectly well with the bubbly whilst Poached Egg with chorizo and mini ratatouille makes you contemplate picking up a slice of crusty bread which of course you resist wildly, only to fill the rest of your plate's real estate with Vitello Tomato (a Piedmontese dish of cold veal covered in tuna flavored cream sauce).

What sets the Bar and Billiard Room's line-up apart from the other more successful champagne brunch spots such as Colony @The Ritz Carlton, The Knolls @ Capella and Edge @ Pan Pacific are its live stations - main courses with much finesse exhibited and a strong tinge of European flair replace the run-off-the-mill local food kiosks touting Laksa and Roast pork or chicken rice. Here, you'll wait eagerly in line for Baby Spinach and Ricotta Cheese Tortellini with Vine tomatoes, neat rows of perfectly stuffed and pinched tortellini lie on lightly floured work benches, cooked a la minute and served lightly doused in vine tomato jus. 

Outside, the tropical air is pungent with the smell of smoke duck fats. the Foie Gras with morel and green pea emulsion is set to rock your world. Huge slabs lauding thickness that puts some stingy ala-carte orders from established restaurants to shame; these are cooked till crispy on both sides and edges before being placed on a bed of creamy morel mushrooms and then topped with green pea emulsion. An unbeatable combination that highlights the chef's attention to flavor combination and portion control to achieve the best results. 

Another lux entry is the Scrambled eggs with sea urchin and crab served with dipsticks of bread fingers slathered with seaweed butter. The Crab espuma warmed to a certain temperature before being frothed up periodically to sustain its lightweight consistency. Gratification paves its way in the form of resolved sighs around the table as this is devoured.

Before you think about attacking the dessert table; make a detour for the carving stations. Bar and Billiard room seem to be more serious about their meats than I am. The Australian Grain fed Prime Rib on bone is as impressive as it looks, crowd your plate with mustard and choice selection of sides ranging from the diet devastating Macroni au Gratin as well as the Eggplant Parmiagiano. If you're there when the Challan Duck Breast makes its presence, order it. The red-heat-lamp district also comprises other carnivorous treats sch as Omaha Beef Tenderloin, Welsh Lamb and BBQ Iberico Ribs. Honest to God, with such care taken to ensure that its meat does not dry out under the heat lamps, you're be assured to get your moneys' worth just by loading up at this arena alone.

The buffet ramps up the complexity where desserts are concerned. Here, delicate fruit balls perched in jelly lie in champagne flutes, pralines of all shapes and forms containing mysterious contents beckon to be snatched off their wooden pedestals while the gentle arches of tempered chocolate glisten off the tops of intensely rich chocolate mousse set on crispy praline bases. You'll be spoilt for choice for sure!!! Be bold and daring, why, even the quizzical Quark Cheesecake with Mixed Berries might take you by surprise.

The Bar and Billiard Room's Sunday Champagne brunch is priced at $218++ for free flow of Champagne Billecard Salmon Rose and $198++ for Billecart Salmon Brut. The drinks program also include an excellent G&T, featuring a homemade spiced gin bent on chasing away the sniffles (relating to the personal experience of my beau who was sporting a terrible cold during the tasting), Pimm's Cup, Singapore Sling and Tiger Beer.

Comparable to most other Champagne Brunches where monetary value is concerned, the Bar and Billiard room has managed to charm my socks off solely based on its ambiance, vibes and quality of food put out. If you're not one for the usual local fare at buffets, the assortment at this line-up will prove refreshing and yet synonymously representative of its old-world charms. Enough for me to proclaim it to be my favourite Champagne brunch there is in Singapore.

Bar and Billiard Room
Raffles Hotel Singapore
1 Beach Road
t: 6412 1816

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