When a third of the Boozy bunch found ourselves in Singapore on Christmas Day what else was there to do but brunch? (granted it was dinner in local time but in UK time it was the morning so we decided it still counted). Luckily for us we had someone living in Singapore to help us choose- the wonderful Jane sent us a number of menus to choose from. It was really tough deciding where to go but for me the fact that I actually couldn’t go past the 3rd page of our chosen menu without getting so hungry I had to eat something was what swung my vote. We went to Pan Pacific Singapore and the offer was $108 Singapore dollars (which at the time of writing is about £55) for unlimited food for 4 hours plus unlimited soft drinks, fresh juices, tea and coffee and $158 Singapore dollars (which was around £80 at the time) for all of the above plus Veuve Clicquot brut yellow label, wine, beer and cocktails. For four hours. On Christmas Day. Did I mention the four hours?
I am not going to lie I feel like I let myself (and you) down a bit, I read and reread the menu but when it came down to it my eyes were bigger than my stomach and I didn’t manage to try all the things I wanted, but I gave it a really good try as we can surely all agree that it’s not really Christmas if you could manage another wafer thin mint. And I think between us we covered a lot of what was on offer, I will leave it to the others fill you in on the booze offering.
Daniel: Bella is not wrong, that menu was 1) extensive, 2) delectable and most importantly 3) more than a little bit mouth-watering. But as a self-confessed drinker, I noticed the champagne on offer – given the price how could we refuse the alcoholic option?! But wait, there’s more! Not only was there champagne on offer but a selection of cocktails as well. Now the cocktail bar was strategically placed a good 45 seconds walk from our table in a little corner of the restaurant – it’s as if they knew to put us so far away! But once our learned friend & fellow bunch member Robyn spotted the waiter conjuring up all manner of mojitos, we both made a bee line for that counter. In an almost frantic dash, we raced over to sample a passion fruit mojito – refreshing and light with passion fruit seeds for an added zingy kick. Delicious. Of course we made sure to make it back to the table in time for an unlimited champagne top-up, it would have been foolish to miss such a thing. Excellent service in topping us up by the way, especially since our friend Jane decided to befriend the waiter and invite him out to karaoke with us afterwards. He was more than happy to keep us stocked up after that point.
Robyn: You’re not wrong Daniel, those mojitos were an excellent addition. Plus, being the classy bird that I am, I’ll happily admit that the best part was that it meant we could double-park without recrimination. You know how at some boozy brunches, they won’t let you have a Bucks Fizz until you’ve finished your cava? THOSE HEATHENS. None of that here, though; I was perfectly content with my passion fruit mojito in one hand and (actual proper) champagne in the other. It’s good to be ambidextrous.
So basically everything that you can think of was available and in these situations it is wise to have a plan, now usually mine involves less carbs to allow you to eat more and not get filled up on bread- but even ruling out the carbs (until puds – come on now people remember that it was both Christmas and also a Boozy Bunchers Birthday so there was obviously going to be cake) there were still so many offerings I still needed a system. So my next poa (plan of action for those less informed) was go for the pricey stuff, cover the cost with your first plate and everything else is a bonus. And so I started with Boston lobster and Alaskan King Crab, sashimi (Pink tuna, Salmon, tako and swordfish) and half shell scallops. They were all amazing, super fresh and tasty- my only complaint was that they didn’t provide us with any utensils specific to eating lobster and crab and so things got a little messy but I was amongst friends so I just went for it. The sashimi was cut to order so was super fresh and you could taste the benefit of this. In order to balance out the exercise that the shell breaking needed (although I usually cook any other energy exertion is frowned upon in my version of Christmas traditions) I went immediately for some chilli crab and Tandoori lobster, both things that I have never tried before. The tandoori lobster was a bit of a gimmick- the lobster lost some of its defining texture and became almost indistinguishable from white meat – but still tasty enough. The chilli crab was delicious even though there is the word chilli in its name I wasn’t expecting it to be quite as hot as it was – and so that was a pleasant (if abrupt) surprise. I mean I liked it so much I was tempted to go back for more, however I wanted to do that with the sashimi too, and the lobster and so I honourably decided instead to try one more plate of savoury with new items- I was of course only thinking of the blog post and making it more interesting.
In any case this was all to no avail as when I got up I managed one satay stick and half a bowl of stir fry and I was done for savoury. Oh the shame. I was tempted to write this post as a guest blogger to hide my identity. Luckily my one saving grace in this situation is that after a 45 minute break I was able to locate that separate part of the stomach devoted to sweet things and summon the energy to hit the puddings, hard. This was good because a lot of my dining companions ended up filling up on mains and not having space or running out of time. In fact not a one of them thought about creating a chocolate soup* – now who is embarrassed??
Daniel: I will hold up my hands, I was the fool that filled up on fantastic savoury food. Apart from the seafood that Bella has extensively covered (it was that good, trust me) I also sampled some more international cuisines. I think at one point I covered 4 countries in curry on my plate – you have to taste everything, it would be rude not to! Being a 20-something northerner, I was also brought up on the tradition of turkey at Christmas and dammit, if I wasn’t going to sample some turkey again this year! Forget it being Singapore, forget it being about 28 C even in the evening, this was Christmas and tradition had to be kept. On reflection that was my mistake. It was never going to taste the same and I wasted valuable stomach space on disappointing meats and spuds. Lesson well and truly learned.
Robyn: I love how we all had our own plans and stuck to them. As the aforementioned birthday buncher (yes, my birthday is on Christmas Day!), I had been looking forward to this meal so much that I actually didn’t eat a morsel all day in case I wasted valuable space. Despite arriving famished and seriously over-excited, I too managed to choose wisely and avoid carbs (unnecessary filler) and stick to my personal approach: take it slow. In fact I took this a bit too literally and spent the first 45 minutes catching up with Jane whilst idly sampling a plate piled with sushi but it meant that by the time I eventually reached the bottom, I was totally ready for my next course. I don’t think I encountered a single dud beyond the cranberry sauce but I am comparing that to my mother’s, so I’ll cut them a break. I thought I’d managed to try everything I wanted but when I reread the menu afterwards, I couldn’t believe how many dishes I’d failed to sample. The selection was vast.
So there was a full sized gingerbread house, I don’t know if the photos do any of it justice but in person it was really hard not to just start eating the walls. Luckily there was pre cut gingerbread available. Basically I avoided anything durian flavoured and the Ferrero rocher (seemed an odd choice to me but when those living locally got very excited I gathered they weren’t as abundant in Singapore- I guess they don’t get invited to as many ambassadors receptions as us) but managed to try a good amount of the rest of what you see in the photos. Stand out favourites for me were the hand made matcha chocolates, which were very soft and a lovely mix of bitter, sweet and creamy. Also the cherry whisky chocolate tart – I mean of course with those components it was going to be good but again they managed to make it not overly sweet and balanced all flavours really well and the pastry was extra crisp.
Surprisingly the pink cupcakes (red velvet snow ale topped with redcurrant) were actually delicious, I only picked one up because it complimented my glasses so well (it looked a bit mass produced and novelty) but actually was light and moist and fluffy and moreish. Everything I dipped in the chocolate soup was great too but that is to be expected, it’s chocolate soup!
Robyn: The puddings for me were easily the stand-out event. Considering they were relegated to a single (admittedly large) corner, I still can’t believe how many options there were (and I don’t mean “options” like “Choose one option” – hahaha no). The mini cups of various desserts were fantastic. The chocolate Father Christmases were more than just decoration, as we learnt after snaffling two for the table and giving one a cautious nibble. The biscuits were, I imagine, something German or Swiss or whatever, I have no idea; they looked like something you might give the dog but if in doubt, do what I did and dip everything in the chocolate fountain. Prime results are guaranteed. I wasn’t sure whether the giant gingerbread fountain was edible until I saw someone pull a marshmallow off the wall and eat it right before my eyes but I avoided this cheap distraction and instead stuck to my divide-and-conquer method. I decided to avoid the ice cream and waffle stations since you can get that anywhere, and instead focussed on the quality chocolate, which is hard to find in Asia, and traditional Christmas puds of which I’d been deprived having spent the festive build-up in Indonesia. On my third visit to the pudding station, I met a woman who told me I should try the stollen which a) I already had, and b) Doesn’t she know that there is a strategy to unlimited puddings?? In my drunken birthday haze I almost said “This ain’t my first rodeo, lady, now stop hogging the caramel sauce” but managed to keep it to “Thanks, Merry Christmas!” – very restrained. I must be getting more mature.
So in conclusion I would very much like to go back, it was great value for what it included and the quality of food was incredibly high particularly for a buffet style serving. There were stations where you could order your own specially made items if you wanted something made fresh- I had neither the patience nor the stomach room for this but if you were that way inclined you could have things made exactly how you like them. A really stand out brunch for me. Competing with hawker centres in Singapore is no easy feat but somehow Pan Pacific managed.
Pan Pacific Singapore
6 Raffles Boulevard,
*When we were at the Landmark Boozy brunch last year most of the table became too full to move, and were resigned to throwing down their utensils when someone mentioned a chocolate fountain that had escaped us. It was quite a pickle to be in but luckily Tom saved us all by mustering the strength to get up and go to the fountain and fill a cup with chocolate – allowing us all to dip to our hearts desire without the pesky bother of moving. While this level of eating must be reserved only for special occasions I was inspired by this memory and so with a small tweak to the recipe (I added some of the handmade chocolate to the chocolate from the fountain and used a bowl not a cup) there was chocolate soup for all.
Daniel: Thank God for Tom last year and for Bella this year, I could not have moved another inch, but passing up the opportunity for liquid chocolate if a heathen sin in my book.
Robyn: When nobody was looking I dipped a chocolate in the chocolate and it made my birthday very happy indeed.