Gerard Ward tries out a brunch with bite-sized delights in Bugis.
It could be the selection of desserts, or perhaps the various ways to cook mussels, but brunches seem to need something special to stand out. With the high expectations that come from forking out the cash to go to one, you’d be hard pressed to find a disappointing brunch.
Nestled inside InterContinental in Bugis, the kid-friendly Ash & Elm has a semi-buffet setup with a separate menu of small plates of freshly made dishes to try – as many times as you want.
The first thing you come across as you walk into the naturally-lit restaurant is the charcuterie and cheese room to the left. Air-conditioned in its own glass room, there are slices of mortadella, bresaola, pastrami and a smoky beef – as well as soft duck rillettes. The cheese platter beside the meat has crumbly aged cheddars, brie and camembert.
The Bloody Mary station, complete with celery, pickled onions, olives, crispy bacon, pickled gherkin and various salts, comes with the package. The DIY drink station is designed to alleviate the agony that causes one to order a Bloody Mary. Want some paprika or truffle salt with your drink? You’re taken care of here.
The menu on the table has a list of dishes you can order as many times as you wish – the serving size is small, and served in tiny cocotte pots and pans.
The meaty grilled prawns had a dark colour coat to them from thyme, garlic and fennel. The French duck leg confit, sitting atop mashed potatoes, was tender with a bit of sweetness. The beef cheek sat on truffle oil-infused mashed potatoes, with a soft, very fatty softness.
The tiramisu ice-cream had pieces of the soft coffee cake lodged in, with the strength being subtle enough to not feel like you’ve taken a swig of rum or a shot of coffee.
Different staff were eager to ensure everything was alright, from one waiter’s interest in the food quality as time went on to another’s persistence to ensure we were happy with drinks – and even executive chef Eric Neo asking whether I’d tried any of the caviar on offer, to which he put a baby plate of five types of caviar to try.
$98++ per adult, with free-flowing juices, soft drinks, and Bloody Mary cocktails. $38++ per child (from 5 to 12 years). $138++ per adult, with free-flowing Perrier-Jouet Grand Brut, wines and beers.Ash & Elm 80 Middle Road Lvl 1 InterContinental Tel 6825 1008