In a city where brunch places have become a dime a dozen, the new Manhattan Bar at Regent Singapore launches its own version of the leisurely Sunday meal but moves away from the norm by cleverly positioning its offering as being for adults only.
Manhattan Bar is certainly not your typical brunch place and this is evident from the first time I entered. I was greeted by the sleek and dark interiors of what would normally make a fantastic hangout spot at night. The ambiance alone offered a peek at what’s to come.
I was handed my welcome drinks before being led to my seat, where the staff member carefully explained to me the various buffet stations and made-to-order items. Stripping away the dazzling visuals and cohesive branding elements, even the food here is pretty unique thanks to the creative direction of Head Chef Nick Trosien who hails from a Four Seasons resort in Florida. You won’t see your typical eggs benedict here. While the food is undeniably Sunday brunch fare, Manhattan Bar’s interpretation is truly like no other.
On top of that list is the bagel station. In my almost 7 years in Singapore, I have not encountered bagels anywhere! The last time I had some was almost a decade ago when I lived in San Francisco so it was certainly a welcome sight for me to see it on display!
Apart from my favorite plain bagel with cream cheese, there is a fine selection of toppings available including multiple types of ham, vegetables and cream cheese.
The seafood selection here is another highlight, with at least two types of oysters, fresh scallops and Maine lobsters all flown in from America. There are various sauces that go along with it but a personal favorite of mine is the Bloody Mary Sauce which gives that extra kick to fresh seafood.
While the buffet selection features some carefully curated dishes, I had to make a conscious effort not to get too carried away with it. The food menu here also has quite a prominent lineup of ala-carte items which I made space for as the brunch progressed.
There are two parts to the made-to-order selection. The first consists of brunch food. I had a small serving of the Silver Dollar Pancakes, a lighter dish made for those genuinely seeking for something truer to the brunch cause. This was quickly followed by Bacon and Egg, a soft-boiled egg hidden beneath a crispy layer with two small pieces of bacon beside it. I particularly loved their crackly interpretation of this dish, a creative twist to what is otherwise an overlooked staple.
Hot dishes fill the other side of the made-to-order selection. Of the three dishes on the menu, I had a go at the peppercorn-crusted NY Strip, my favorite dish that day. I ordered mine medium-rare, and it came juicy and tantalizing in a serving small enough to form a good but lasting impression of the dish. It would be helpful to note as well that most servings in the made-to-order selection are on the small side, which is totally fine as it allowed me to focus and order more of my favorites.
There’s a whole slew of desserts that the menu describes as “the finest selection of American favorites.” While I did see traditional items like Apple Crumble, Cupcakes and Chocolate Chip Cookies in the dessert station, I reckoned that Manhattan Bar added their own twist into the typical dessert menu by offering some unique pastries such as some small burgers with chocolate “patty”, bits and pieces of chocolate chip sitting on a cookie shaped like some caviar-based hors d’oeuvres – you get the drift.
As Manhattan’s Sunday affair is positioned as a cocktail brunch, the drinks selection places in prominently and at the center of that is the Bloody Mary station helmed by Head Bartender Ricky Paiva who mixed a mean glass of the cocktail for me. Guests have the option of customizing their Bloody Mary cocktails and for mine, Ricky suggested that I include some offbeat items such as bak kwa – yes, the Chinese-style pork jerky!
My glass packed a mean punch, with the varied and rich flavors of celery, tomato juice and my gin base swirling with the herbs, bak kwa and olives that I added into the drink.
Other than Bloody Mary, the bar serves up a couple of other interesting cocktails such as the Bartender’s Breakfast and Old Cuban. I opted to go with their champagne, a Billecart-Salmon Brut Réserve (additional charge of $45).
Manhattan Bar’s cocktail brunch is a fine example of a concept seamlessly executed, from branding, ambiance to the most important part – the food and drinks. This is the place to witness a fine deconstruction of American food so leave all your misconceptions about the cuisine at the door before you come! I would hope to be back soon, where I hope to try the ala carte items.
$150++, includes free-flow of craft cocktails, beers and wines
$195++, includes all the above plus free-flow of Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve Champagne
Value for money: 4/5
I was invited for the cocktail brunch at Manhattan Bar. However, all opinions are my own.
Weekend Cocktail Brunch: 11.30am – 3.30pm, Sun
Otherwise, the bar is open daily from 5pm – 1am
The Regent Singapore
1 Cuscaden Rd