Brunch in Singapore has a reputation. If you’re at all familiar with our city-state you probably know that it is famous for brunches. I have friends who’ll visit on a 2 night stop over just so they can partake in one of the big hotel brunches that are offered every weekend. For those who’ve been here a little longer, you’ll know that the brunch scene is fraught with danger and difficult decisions. I jest (kind of). The main danger is eating and drinking way too much. The difficult decisions are about what kind of brunch you want to enjoy, something fancy or a more relaxed occasion. As a relative newbie to this wonderful city, and someone who has made more than a few faux pas at brunches (read – ‘been horrendously drunk and embarrassed myself and my friends’) it occurred to me I could share my experiences in order to make yours better. So here goes.
What is Brunch in Singapore?
Before we go any further it’s important to set your expectations about what brunch entails. If you’re an expat in Singapore, perhaps from Sydney then brunch may have been pancakes whilst dressed in swimwear ready to head down to the beach and make the most of the weather. Or if you’re from London then brunch was more likely a gastropub in Bermondsey or Notting Hill, somewhere to warm up when the temperatures plummet. Brunch in Singapore is neither of those things. When people in Singapore talk of brunch, they are most often speaking of a decadent affair, often in a big name hotel and usually involving copious amounts of free flow Champagne alongside a bountiful array of the finest foods shipped in from around the world. When I say decadent I really mean it. We are talking the finest lobster, Moreton Bay bugs, row upon row of freshly shucked oysters, glistening prawns, the freshest sushi and sashimi, roasted meats, succulent skewers of yakitori, spicy curries, dim sum, crispy salads, piping hot vegetables, the finest cheeses from around the world and colourful desserts to suit all palates. And Champagne, did I mention Champagne? My most favourite drink, and free flowing = danger! When you first lay eyes on this visual feast it can be enough to make you hyperventilate.
Now some of you may be thinking, ewww, I hate hotel buffets. And I hear you. Honestly I do. I used to despise a hotel buffet. Couldn’t think of anything worse than eating food that had been left out for goodness knows how long, prepared with a lack of skill or care and encouraging people to gorge ‘all you can eat’ for $50 or whatever. By and large though, the Fancy Brunch Venues I’ve enjoyed in Singapore have all been of a very high standard and I’ve rarely left disappointed (that could have something to do with the constant refilling of my Champagne glass though!)
Different Options for Brunch in Singapore
I’m not saying that brunch in Singapore can’t be a more chilled out affair. Brunch has become such a ‘thing’ now in Singapore that many restaurants and an increasing amount of cafes have also stepped into the action to offer their own version of brunch. So brunch in Singapore these days could involve anything from dressing up to the nines and heading off to a 5* hotel, or wandering down to the river for bacon and eggs whilst sitting on a stool and watching the world go by. For many of the Fancy Brunch Venues and Relaxed Brunch Venues you’ll need to book in advance, especially for a big group or if you intend to visit on a busy day like Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.
Ambience is the key to so many eating experiences in Singapore. As I’ve said before, I’ll always tell you the whole story, including if your dining choice is located in a crappy building on the edge of an industrial state, or worse, in a mall. Brunch changes its meaning entirely depending on your setting; casual by the beach in Sentosa is an entirely different experience to a hoity toity dining room at the St Regis.
How to Dress?
Brunch venues run the gambit from shorts and t-shirts to 4 inch heels and a sparkly frock. Generally you would dress up for the Fancy Brunch Venues I’ve included below. Guys can usually get away with shorts and a decent polo or shirt and girls can go all out or just keep it simple with trousers and a nice top. For the Relaxed Brunch Venues both girls and guys could get away with shorts and a nice top, whilst for Casual Brunch Venues you can just rock up as you are.
Prior Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance
When you show up for a fancy brunch, you pretty much want to be feeling fabulous – and hungry. It’s quite a session that you’re in for, both with the food and the drinking. Make sure you haven’t eaten heavily the night before or you just won’t be able to appreciate all the scrumptious choices on offer. Now, if you fail to do this, never fear. I’ll admit that I’ve shown up to a brunch, still hungover from the night before and feeling revolting. Solution – a bloody Mary. She’ll fix you right up and you’ll be good to go again. And when you arrive, don’t automatically pile your plate with every morsel on offer. Take your time, you have about 2 or 3 hours in which to enjoy the experience, start slow and work your way through. Take small portions so that you can go back for seconds if you really like something. And DON’T fill up on bread or heavy foods, I promise you’ll regret it. There’s way better stuff than bread to eat during brunch.
Bearing all of that in mind, below I’ve chosen some of the better brunch options in three categories: Fancy Brunch Venues; Relaxed Brunch Venues; Casual Brunch Venues. Read up and get planning for your next brunch in Singapore!
Fancy Brunch Venues
*New Listing* The Knolls at Capella
For a first class brunch experience, with the bonus of being in a picture perfect location, The Knolls at Capella is hard to beat. This mediterranean inspired brunch almost edges out Mezza9 primarily due to the gorgeous location among the greenery on Sentosa. It’s a particularly good brunch to take visitors to for the idyllic setting and the slightly higher end offering. The spread is not as extensive as Mezza9, but the carvery is always very good; veal, ribs and roasts will often feature. There’s also usually a drop dead gorgeous risotto that is made as you watch so freshness is guaranteed. The seafood is all of high quality, sushi and sashimi in particular are good. Desserts are beyond tempting and the cheeseboard is served to you and comprises a wonderful international selection (just make sure you ask for extra biscuits, I’ll never understand why restaurants skimp on biscuits with a cheese board).
The Knolls at Capella
1 The Knolls at Sentosa, Singapore, 098297
phone +65 6377 8888
Brunch is 12.30pm until 3.00pm on Sundays and costs $168++ per head including free flow Champagne and wine.
Mezza9 at the Hyatt
If you’re looking for the best all round brunch in Singapore then Mezza9 is hard to go past. It was my first ever boozy brunch and I’ve been back several times and never been disappointed. The only shortcoming is the room which is (as you might have guessed) on the mezzanine level of the hotel and is windowless and therefore quite dark. My description makes it sound worse than it actually is, the seats are superbly comfortable and the private rooms can also be quite a hoot if you’re in a big group. The buffet style brunch provides an excellent selection of high quality food, particularly the fresh seafood. There are also good roasted meats, and a great selection of Japanese and Chinese cuisine. The cheese board is especially notable. Sometimes they have quirky offerings like dry ice gin shots which are pretty freaky (the vapour pours from your nose and mouth when you drink them). Free flow Perrier-Jouët is poured liberally throughout brunch and there are good red and white wines available as well as a couple of cocktails. You can read a full review here.
10 Scotts Road, Singapore, 228211
phone +65 6730 7188
Brunch is from 11.30am to 3.00pm on Sundays and costs $138++ per head
La Dolce Vita at the Mandarin Oriental
La Dolce Vita is located on the fifth floor of Mandarin Oriental and is a bright and airy room looking out to the hotel’s poolside area. If you’re looking for a fine dining location, where people aren’t afraid to dress up and the crowd is quiet and well behaved (can’t say that on my few occasions here that has been the case for the entire brunch!) then this is a great choice. The Italian menu comprises a wide range of vegetarian, seafood and meat options and a great selection of mini desserts. The free flow Ruinnart is one of the best free flow Champagnes on offer and each Sunday a selection of cocktails are also offered, as well as red and white wine.
5 Raffles Avenue, Singapore, 039797
phone +65 6885 3500
Brunch is from 12.00pm to 3.00pm on Saturdays and Sundays and costs $158++ per head
Garibaldi is one of the best value brunch options around. Being a restaurant it’s more on the quiet side, dining rooms are well decorated and you’ll find a mix of smaller tables and large groups. It does get a little chilly in here for my liking though. Garibaldi offers an excellent Italian menu served directly to your table. Additional portions can be ordered as required. The free flow prosecco is a light and dry style and is one of the better ones I’ve had in Singapore.
36 Purvis Street, Singapore, 188613
phone +65 6837 1468
Brunch is from 12.00pm until 2.30pm on Saturdays and Sundays and costs $98++ per head including free flow Prosecco
Relaxed Brunch Venues
*New Listing* Bochinche
Bochinche is an Argentinian restaurant that does an excellent weekend brunch in Singapore, as well as lunch or dinner during the week. What I like about the brunch is that you can sit on the balcony overlooking Martin Road and enjoy alfresco dining with a wide range of choices from ricotta pancakes to braised ox cheeks or burrata and tomato salad. I’ve been here several times now and every time (aside from my initial visit of which you can read more here) has been great on food and service.
Now at 115 Amoy Street, Singapore
phone +65 6235 4990
Open 12pm to 2pm and 6pm to 10.3opm Monday to Friday, 11am to 3pm on weekends and 6pm to 11pm on Saturday night.
Melt at Mandarin
Melt is definitely one of the better brunch options for its combination of ambience, food choices and price. The price for Melt is actually the same as La Dolce Vita, both at the Mandarin Oriental. The big difference is the ambience. Melt is a more relaxed atmosphere, whereas La Dolce Vita is more of a fine dining restaurant. At Melt there do tend to be more families and it’s also a buffet so there’s more action. The big plus is the outdoor BBQ area where you can watch as your fresh meat and fish is cooked before you sit back down to enjoy the alfresco dining. The curries are also a big winner here, although you need to be careful not to fill up on them. Free flow Veuve Clicquot is served throughout the brunch, house red and white wines and a selection of cocktails are also available.
5 Raffles Avenue, Singapore, 039797
phone +65 6885 3500
Brunch is from 12.00pm to 3.00pm on Sundays and costs $158++ per head
Tanjong Beach Club
Sentosa and TBC in particular deserves a mention for a relaxed weekend brunch venue. The indoor dining room is relaxed and quiet, whilst tables by the pool are a bit louder with lots of families making the most of the poolside location. As 4pm looms, you’ll hear the music ramping up ready for the DJ and the evening activities. It’s quite a spectacle to stand around and watch the ‘beautiful people’ mince around in their bathing costumes, and you may even decide to have a few drinks and kick on yourself.
Tanjong Beach Club
120 Tanjong Beach Walk, Sentosa, Singapore, 098942
phone +65 6270 1355
Brunch is from 10.00am to 4.00pm on weekends and will cost around $35++ per head, without booze (Champagne is $150 per bottle)
Artichoke Cafe and Bar
Artichoke is a relaxed venue serving brunch in Singapore with a Middle Eastern twist. Think eggs with sides like haloumi, beetroot or mushrooms or carnivorous options that include lamb with your eggs. There’s also a fabulous bacon chop (pictured top of page) and I love the setting here, alfresco dining in a quiet square right in the heart of Singapore. The food and service are always good, and there’s a wine list if you do fancy a glass or two of vino. You can read more about the fabulous brunch offering at Artichoke here.
161 Middle Road, Singapore, 188978
phone +65 6336 6949
Brunch is from 11.30am until 2.45pm on the weekend and costs around $35++ per head, without booze
Casual Brunch Venues
Common Man Coffee Roasters
Just opened near Robertson Quay by the same owners as 40 Hands in Tiong Bahru, Common Man Coffee Roasters is a huge warehouse like space that has been packed every time I’ve walked past. The organic eggs here were egg-cellent (just couldn’t help myself) and coffees are strong and smooth, it’s like being momentarily transported to Melbourne.
Common Man Coffee Roasters
22 Martin Road, Singapore, 239058
phone +65 6836 4695
Brunch is from 8am to 7pm daily and will cost you around $30++ including breakfast and a coffee
For great toast, crispy bacon and perfectly cooked eggs, drop into Kith for a relaxing bite to eat by the river at Robertson Quay. Plenty of kids playing around and a very chilled out vibe. And the coffee is great too. There’s also a new branch on Sentosa.
7 Rodyk Street, #01-33, Singapore, 238215
Brunch daily from 7am at Rodyk St and will cost you around $20++ including breakfast and a coffee
This strangely named haunt in a residential complex near Buona Vista makes possibly the best coffee in Singapore. The setting is an industrial warehouse look, with a comfy couch and a big sharing table as well as smaller tables. Jimmy is passionate about coffee and they roast their own beans. Food here is very good, their eggs benedict (only available weekends) takes some beating.
9 One-North Gateway, #01-50, Singapore, 138643
phone +65 6777 8470
Brunch is from 8.30am on weekends and will cost you around $25++ including breakfast and a coffee
Tiong Bahru Bakery
A French bakery in little ole’ Singapore, imagine that? This very casual cafe is the kind of place where you stop in for a quick breakfast before heading out. TBB has the best croissants I’ve tasted in Singapore, perfectly crispy and light, just like a Parisienne cafe! Pastries are amazing and coffee is also good, although the cold drinks aren’t much to rave about.
Tiong Bahru Bakery
56 Eng Hoon Street, #01-70, Singapore, 160056
phone +65 6220 3430
Open 8.00am to 8.00pm daily and will cost you around $8 for a croissant and coffee
A great brunch option in the Bugis area, Symmetry offers a varied menu combining interesting breakfast dishes with a great selection of veggie options and more hearty meals. It’s hard to get a table once it hits around 10.30am but we visited at 10am on a Saturday one week and had great food and service. I’m told that the service during busy periods can be quite average.
9 Jalan Kubor, #01-01, Singapore, 199206
phone +65 6291 9901
Brunch is from 10.00am on the weekends and will cost you around $25++ for breakfast and a coffee
Tamarind Hill in Labrador does a Thai style Sunday brunch for $60++ or $120++ including free flow wine. Their food is good for dinner but I haven’t tried brunch.
Open Door Policy, just down the road from Forty Hands, is a little more upscale whilst still being a nice place to chill out for brunch.
Due to the popularity of brunches in Singapore I have a few other posts that may interest you:
So there it is, a comprehensive guide to the art of brunching in Singapore. Any questions? Contact me or leave your comments below. I’m more than happy to answer any food queries you have. There’s plenty of places I haven’t mentioned here for one reason or another so just ask if you want to know.
Note: All prices quoted are in Singapore dollars (SGD). To convert to your local currency click here.
Have you tried any of these brunch venues? What did you think? Leave your comments below.