A Long Brunch at St Regis

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My brother treated us to brunch at the St Regis and what a champagne brunch it was! It was well-priced compared to other hotel brunches at $170++ with champagne and $138++ without. What I didn’t like was that there wasn’t an option with just one glass of champagne, that I would’ve gone for. They offered a la carte glasses of champagne for $40, which made it more expensive than the option with free-flow champagne. Pfft.

No less, the spread was excellent. While not quite as extensive as other places, there were very few filler dishes. I liked also that the quality of the ingredients was excellent. Case in point were the oyster and ham selections. There were three types of oysters from various regions – all were good, and the memorable ones were the fine de claire from France. I love their briny, minerally flavour. The ham selection was more impressive, with four or five different types. I remember the parma and some of the air dried beef types, but everything was blown away by the entire leg of bellota ham carved out in tempting slivers. The flavour of the fat from acorn fed pig blew everything else out of the water. You have a choice: either eat the other hams first or go straight for the bellota. No other way.

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What made this buffet special was that the food wasn’t all from the buffet table where we helped ourselves. The waiters regularly came round with small bites, such as this sampler platter of (L-R) tomato gazpacho, tuna tartare, foie gras in the style of creme brulee, deep-fried silver bait, and marinated olives. I enjoyed the gazpacho and tuna tartare a lot – so refreshing, while my mum and aunt adored the foie gras. There were plenty of other yummy bites brought round, including cubes of braised beef cheek, deep-fried prawn in a pastry net, pan-fried foie gras and truffle risotto. All very good.

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There was plenty more in the buffet spread, including an inventive quinoa salad, heirloom tomatoes and a good assortment of salads, from seafood to pure vegetarian ones.

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The mains were a la carte and each person could order only one dish. After the incredible spread from the buffet line and the bites brought to the table, I think one would be hard pressed to even contemplate finishing two mains anyway. I had the beef tartare (this dish seems to feature regularly on this blog) with truffles, which was a good rendition, though the flavour of the beef could have shone through more strongly. Perhaps my palate had been jaded by then. Perhaps the best options would be either the beef tenderloin or the Hokkaido scallops, if they don’t change the menu every week.

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We were stuffed by now, but had to press on. There were desserts aplenty for us to get through. It all seemed to pass in a blur, but the standout was the giant raspberry macaron. Here was one of the few places that did macaron well and accompanied it nicely with good produce. The raspberries were tart and on the verge of sweet, a good foil to the sugary macaron. The rest of the desserts were decent, the only grouse being that the fresh fruit selection wasn’t very good.

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Brasserie Les Saveurs
St Regis Hotel, 29 Tanglin Road
Tel: +65 6506 6866

Holiday from the Holiday: Stop-over in Kota Kinabalu

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After six days of doing nothing but diving, eating and sleeping, it was time to take a break from the stresses of it all and unwind at a nice resort. We checked in at the Shangri-la Tanjung Aru Resort to relax and wash our gear. Yes, you saw it right, we like to unwind in a place where we can wash and dry our gear in peace so that we don’t have to deal with it when we get home. It’s nice to really chill out and do nothing while waiting for our wet suits to dry. Here’s the lovely view of the bay from our room.

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We had very decent weather the whole time, with hot, clear days (ideal for drying our stuff) and clouds rolling in only in the evenings. It was lovely how a rainbow hovered over the resort just as we were strolling round checking out places to eat.

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There were two casual dining places at the resort, one was al fresco and only served barbecues, and the other was the cafe where the sumptuous buffet breakfast was served. Lunch here was pretty decent too, with a good selection of western and local favourites. My Sarawak laksa was very decent. Not having been to Sarawak, I wouldn’t know whether it was authentic or not, but I enjoyed what tasted like a cross between curry and mee soto. A winner in my books!

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Sunset here was very beautiful. The resort was built on a shallow bay and the curves dotted with coconut trees looked lovely silhouetted against the evening sun…

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… as did this wader looking out for fish.

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We sat under some coconut trees for happy hour drinks, waiting for sunset to arrive.

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It was lovely to put up our feet and sip our cocktails.

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Post-cocktail shishas and more drinks didn’t hurt either! It was fun messing about blowing out vanilla-scented smoke through our nostrils. No incriminating pictures here though, sorry!

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What a lovely end to our holiday.