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Grand Vintage Champagne Sunday Brunch

Spring Weekend Afternoon Tea

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Hotel Reviews
- The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore

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Grand Vintage Champagne Sunday Brunch

Spring Weekend Afternoon Tea

The Ritz Singapore Spring Weekend Afternoon Tea

with Executive Chef Massimo Pasquarelli and Executive Pastry Chef Terence Pang

Asian restaurant review The Ritz-Carlton Singapore is one of my favourite comfort destinations. It’s a delight to stay there but also to visit and enjoy on Sundays when work is over, or when one needs a civilised sit-down garnished with stunningly delicious food. They are famed for their Sunday Brunch, which must be on every traveller’s Bucket List, but they also present a seasonal Sunday Afternoon Tea.

Spring Weekends Afternoon Tea is held in the striking Chihuly Lounge (named after the artist whose impressive glass sculpture graces the wall), and those seasonal teatimes are destined to become as famed as the aforementioned copious brunch. The Ritz-Carlton does whatever it does well, with flair, innovation and good taste.

Asian restaurant review Executive Chef Massimo Pasquarelli works with talented Executive Pastry Chef Terence Pang to present this Cheese-themed Tea. That might conjure images of a menu comprising a hefty selection of cheese sandwiches, cheddar as main ingredient for cheese on toast, an individual macaroni cheese, and perhaps a traditional cheesecake to follow. Yes, it’s difficult to see how cheese can be incorporated into sweet confections in any quantity. But I was expecting something special – this is The Ritz-Carlton, after all.

This menu is evidently a melding of mind and skill. Both Chef Terence and Chef Massimo have respect for ingredients, and an afternoon tea allows them to show those foods to delicious advantage, introducing a little culinary whimsy to the proceedings. They have devised thirteen desserts that contain cheeses, such as Baked Vanilla Camembert Cheese Cake, Cheddar Raisin Scones, Citrus Cream Cheese Rolls (tangy and fruity and unmissable), and Coffee and Soft Guanaja Mascarpone Cheese Cream (guanaja gives the final product a more intense chocolate flavour).

But one does need savoury to act as a warm-up for those memorable lactic sweets, and there were plenty of canapés on offer, all of them laced with Chef Terence Pang’s evident Asian influence. Cucumber and Cream Cheese Sandwiches started that cheesy homage, but there was plenty more on those non-dessert tables: Beef Pastrami with Pickled Gherkin in a Mini Croissant; Salmon Confit with XO Sauce and Salmon Roe was a triumph; and Scallop Sushi topped with Japanese Mayonnaise and Tobiko was luxurious. That shellfish made a second appearance with Steamed Scallop Siew Mai. These and a host of other ‘starters’ would have been sufficient to fill even the most practised of post-meridian grazers but we had strolled by those desserts at the entrance and it would have been rude not to try a few.

I asked Chef Massimo how he devised the theme for this unique Spring Afternoon Tea. ‘We change the theme four times a year, which follow the seasons. For Spring, it was based on the life of the cow, sheep and goat. In the Winter the animals stay indoors and are fed on just dry grass. In the Spring they are let out and they start to eat fresh grass again. I have a childhood memory of the first 15 days of March when the flavour of the milk was totally different. I remember two desserts: one was bread with sugar, and the second was milk – my grandmother collected the milk in a cast-iron pan and scooped the mousse from the top, and added sugar.’

Asian restaurant review Cheese is a traditionally European ingredient: how does Massimo reconcile that with working with such a talented Asian pastry chef as Terence Pang?

‘We started work on the menu in November. Terence is someone who is very passionate and it’s been very easy to get ideas together. Before we are able to offer this menu to the guests we need to have it clear in our own minds. If we see that there is excitement about the theme then it means that it makes sense.’

At the Ritz-Carlton Singapore the Sunday Brunch and the Tea have an Asian accent. I wondered if that was a difficult step for this very European chef. ‘I went back to basics. At the end of the day it’s all about passion, whether the chef is French or Chinese, and even if he doesn’t speak English, you can see it in his eyes, you can see how much of himself he puts into his food. That’s how I got into Chinese cuisine – I followed those Chinese master chefs, looked at their benchmarks, and came back to the kitchen to see how we could improve what we were doing here.’

Asian restaurant review Having planned this Spring Afternoon Tea late last year, Massimo and Terence must now be planning the next season’s theme. ‘Yes, first of all we have to define Summer, and come up with a new concept. After the Cheese theme, the next one I want to present is a sunny Summer landscape, perhaps with a corner of blue sky ...something with coconut, maybe. Every quarter I want to come up with something different, with the theme coming first and then the recipes.’

These two executive chefs have formed an enviable culinary partnership. They creatively and comfortably straddle both Europe and Asia in a fashion that transcends that rather hackneyed description ‘fusion’. They combine the best of ingredients from across the globe and offer their guests plates of extraordinary culinary artistry and imagination, and the results are harmonious and memorable. Their handiwork is almost too delightful to eat. Almost.

This cheese-themed Spring Weekend Afternoon Tea can be enjoyed between 2.30pm and 5pm on Saturdays and Sundays from 2 March to 26 May 2013.
Priced at $52 for adults
and $26 for children (six to twelve years).

asian restaurant review
The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore
7 Raffles Avenue
Singapore 039799
Phone:  +65 6337 8888

For dining reservations:
Phone Restaurant Reservations
at +65 6434 5288

Visit The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore here

International hotel reviews

The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore - 

Grand Vintage Champagne Sunday Brunch

Asian restaurant review
Singapore is special in so many ways. It’s many-faceted and presents the food lover with temptations at every turn. Opportunities for vibrant casual eating abound but there are also those restaurants that present the visitor with delicious memories along with unadulterated gastronomic pampering.  The Vintage Champagne Sunday Brunch at Greenhouse in The Ritz-Carlton is iconic and unmissable.

asian restaurant review Sunday brunch is now available in every city across the globe. One can expect a brace of egg dishes and a couple of roasts and a fish option. There might be a nod in the direction of vegetarians with roasted vegetables in a sauce, and there is bound to be a dessert or two. But then there is The Ritz Vintage Champagne Sunday Brunch at Greenhouse and that puts the gilding on brunch, and those other meagre impostors in the shade.

It’s Sunday and we want to relax with friends and family. Perhaps it’s a celebration, although every Sunday brunch here seems festive. Folks arrive in their Sunday best with ladies sporting floral finery, and every shoe and child is polished. The guests bring their own touch of charm to the occasion and they will be rewarded for their trouble from the moment they arrive in the high-ceilinged, light and airy salon. Sunday Brunch at The Ritz must surely rate as one of the finest of its genre. The smart-casual event is famed. It’s not stuffy and muted. The staff are friendly and helpful. There is a buzz of conversation from groups of guests enjoying good company along with that unbeatable food. It offers an excuse to dress up a little and to indulge a lot.

Younger members of the party will be eyeing the ice-cream station by the entrance, while more mature grandparents are drawn to another ice display which offers seafood.  There are eight types of oysters and all shucked to order and served with red wine vinaigrette or lemon. It might be a couple of years before the kids appreciate those but they will surely be tempted by some prawns.asian restaurant review

Moët & Chandon vintage Champagne fills the flutes of all those who haven’t chosen an expertly muddled Mojito or shaken exotic cocktail from the bar. The champagne is unlimited and marvellously complements the aforementioned chilled crustacea – every class of shellfish seems to put in an appearance at this brunch. One might consider moving on to a more robust red to pair with a traditional roast with all the trimmings. It is Sunday, after all …but a more exciting one than usual.

Yes, it’s Sunday but this is Asia so the bill of fare here offers a wider tapestry of taste than one might find in a European or North American restaurant. Diners are free to mix Mediterranean tapas with Japanese sushi, cooling leaves with spiced pork ribs. The Ritz-Carlton Sunday Brunch contrives to represent the very best of all that Singapore food has to offer, and that is the best available from every continent. Diners can travel the world by stepping from one counter to the next, from nigiri garnished with delicate green wasabi and shreds of pink ginger (there are trays of various sushis), to slices of traditionally roast meat with glazed orange carrots (there’s always a choice of several roasts).

A cheese board is very much a part of any self-respecting Sunday brunch but I confess I had not expected to find one in Asia and more to the point, I hadn’t expected a restaurant in Singapore to have the best selection of cheese I have ever come across on one table!asian restaurant review Yes, it’s true that I have found equally magnificent arrays of artisanal lactic goods in Europe but only in specialist shops. The striking international cheese selection features over 50 different cheeses from Australia, England, France, Italy, New Zealand and Switzerland and there is even Port available at the bar. That’s a marriage made in heaven.

The kids may well have grazed on desserts all through brunch, but those sweets are sophisticated enough for the most discerning palates. The beautiful confections are created by Executive Pastry Chef Terence Pang and they range from Kuih - a broad term which includes Chinese cakes, dumplings, puddings and biscuits - to European pastries. There is plenty of choice for those chocoholics as well. If cheesecake or crème brûlée is your passion then you won’t be disappointed. There is also fresh fruit to help you feel noble, and ice cream if the kids haven’t finished it!

asian restaurant review The Vintage Champagne Sunday Brunch is served from 12 noon to 3 pm in a single sitting and is priced at S$168 per adult, S$84 per child (6-12 years) or S$42 per child (3-5 years). It includes unlimited Moët & Chandon vintage Champagne, house red and white wines, selected cocktails, chilled juices and sparkling mineral water.  Prices are subject to 10% service charge and prevailing government taxes.

For dining reservations
Call Restaurant Reservations on 6434 5288

The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore
7 Raffles Avenue
Singapore 039799

Phone: +65 6337-8888
Fax: +65 6338-0001
Visit The Ritz here

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