Of all the champagne brunches in Singapore, mezza9’s weekly gastronomic affair has made its mark with a wide variety of cuisines on offer, excellent hospitality, and a convivial – boisterous even, sometimes – setting with kitchen theatrics in full view. That’s how we found Grand Hyatt Singapore’s signature restaurant when we returned recently to check out the refreshed selection for its award-winning brunch experience in the heart of Orchard Road.
A look around the sprawling restaurant showed most of the patrons indulging in the free-flow champagne. And we don’t see why not, since they’ve amped up the alcohol package experience since the last time we visited. Priced at $158++ per adult ($118++ per adult for food and soft beverages), diners not only get unlimited pours of Perrier Jouët Grand Brut, sustainable red and white wines by the bottle, and beer – there’s also handcrafted gin and tonics, a selection of martinis from the martini bar, and wine by the glass at the new wine pairing stations.
The wine-by-the-glass stations are easy enough to spot, set up prominently beside key counters and kitchens where diners can help themselves. For instance, the cold, fresh, and sustainable seafood (certified by the Chain of Custody awarded by the Marine Stewardship Council) was flanked by a 2012 Pascal Jolivet Pouilly-Fume from the Loire Valley in France. Made with sauvignon blanc grapes, the light acidity and slight mineral inclination combined with a subtle nose of green apples made it a great match for the French fine de claire oysters, juicy Spencer Gulf wild king prawns, and crustacean-sweet Maine lobsters.
On the other side of the cold food area is the Nippon repertoire of maki rolls and sashimi, including the likes of Vietnamese yellow fin tuna, Norwegian Atlantic salmon, and New Zealand yellowtail king fish (also sustainable!). To cut through the oiliness of the raw fish, a dry junmai sake is available for pairing. We applaud their bravery in putting something as capricious as an onsen egg on the buffet line; alas, the cha soba it topped was also a chilled dish, which left the egg yolk somewhat stiff by the time you eat it.
Another main draw of mezza9’s Sunday champagne brunch is the grill, where chefs deftly prepare meats perfect for a Sunday roast. In fact, we’d recommend the buffet just by the slow-roasted Cape Grim bone-in rib eye alone. With good marbling and offering the right amount of beefy flavours, the ribeye was a perfect medium rare we rarely see on buffet lines (though we also had a good one last month at Tea Lounge). The best part? One can request for the bone with one’s serve of beef too. Accompanying the meats – including slow-cooked lamb shoulder with orange gremolata and spit roasted free range pork leg – is a rich and full-bodied cabernet sauvignon and syrah blend from Frankland River, Western Australia.
As we wandered past the Chinese kitchen (try the stir-fried beef if it’s on, as the menu here rotates weekly) and the Thai street-food kitchen, we stumbled upon the gin bar in the party room, which the hotel opened up to increase seating capacity for brunch. Out of the nine signature gin & tonics, where each gin is paired with a specific tonic and garnishes, the Iron Balls gin and tonic garnished with pineapple stick and basil is good for refreshing your palate. The St George Botanivore gin with grapefruit tonic and an orange twist, on the other hand, will suit those looking for something heavier on the botanicals.
To round up the belly-bursting brunch session, look to the dessert counter groaning under the combined weight of cakes, puddings, a chocolate fondue, and an array of cheeses. We weren’t up for blue cheese but we can recommend the lemon meringue and the dark chocolate tarts.
It’s not surprising to see that after being around for so many years, the Sunday champagne brunch at mezza9 has become a quintessential dining experience in Singapore. By constant reinvention (and a great roving magician), the restaurant might have you leave with a heavier step, perhaps, but with a lighter heart too.
Images by Sylvester Fedor.