Ash & Elm, the main restaurant at the Intercontinental Singapore, seems to have settled down nicely after its recent transformation from the old Olive Tree, and is now rolling out its bagful of goodies. Most recently launched is its Sunday brunch, where at $98++ per person, you get the full buffet spread which includes a special five-variety caviar station, juices and free flow vodka-rich Bloody Mary’s (you mix them yourself). At $138++ person, you get flowing rivers of Perrier Jouet champagne included as well. A very well valued proposition, indeed. What we love also is the absence of hot dishes stewing and drying out on chafing dishes. Instead, most of the hot options, all free flow, are presented on a small menu at your table, and done a la minute as you order.
It was rather quiet when we went for brunch, owing no doubt to how new it is. So we’re spreading the love. Start with charcuterie and cheeses and the freshly made flatbreads from the wood-fired oven, and the beef tartare to line the stomach. Have a glass of Champagne to go with it, simply because its Sunday. Then move on to the caviar station. While the tobiko and salmon eggs are quite common, the Avruga caviar is lovely, and of course the must-have and the star of the station, the Kaluga Queen Caviar — sturgeon caviar that costs over $1,000 per kilogram. You’ll definitely want to savour this slowly, and I think the best way to do so is with a glass of vodka on ice. The trick is to pour yourself some from the Bloody Mary station. 😉
For brunch, Ash & Elm has 11 a la minute offerings which you can order on a free flow basis, served in dinky little Staub cocotte dishes. We tried a number of them, and the one that stood out were the lobster risotto, all rich in lobster flavour, creamy and nicely a dente.
The beef cheek with red wine sauce and mashed potato was also very more-ish: soft and tender beef which has soaked in all the braising flavours, and the pairing with mashed potatoes is just comfort food through and through. Get the red wine to go with that.
I liked the baked cod very much, with its paper-crisp skin, moistly flaking sweet flesh in a frothy lightly creamy saffron sauce, and lifted with fennel and dill.
The other hot dishes I tried included the duck confit, iberico pork with celeriac puree and seafood linguine. All were good, but nothing to really write home about. All this while, don’t forget to wash your brunch down with copious amounts of Champagne, or their white wine, which is an unusual mix of grapes which gave a delightful, floral nose yet crisp and dry on the palate. Not being a wine writer, I’m afraid I forgot what the wine is called, but it was lovely.
For dessert, make a beeline for the crepe station. The freshly made crepes are delicate and well made. I asked the chef at the station to decide on a good combination of filling for me. Her choice did not disappoint. The sponge based cakes there were a little dry, but the mousses were all quite pleasant.
For little people tagging along, Ash & Elm offers a kiddie section where they can decorate their own cupcake. With its high ceiling and skylight, the restaurant is nicely airy and flooded with natural light, which makes it a cheerful spot for the weekend. Service is prompt and friendly here, too.
Good to know: Ash & Elm is a family friendly restaurant with enough space for well behaved kids to walk around and stretch their legs. The level ground from the restaurant through to the lobby and the loos, and the wide passageways make it wheelchair friendly restaurant, too.
80 Middle Rd, Singapore 188966
Tel: +65 6825 1008