It is not often that I leave a meal satisfied and with a longing to make a return visit with friends or family. Oftentimes when I search for a place that caters to groups, the places of choice can widely swing from cafes to the more prim and proper fine-dining establishment. And usually, when the meal is over, there is always the awkward pressure to vacate the place with little chance for banter. Yet, this is not the case when one considers the communal Sunday Brunch at Audace Bar & Restaurant at the Wanderlust Hotel along Dickson Road.
It is in the spirit of groups, familial fun, playfulness, and a relaxed atmosphere that makes up Audace’s Sunday dining experience. Get together meals around a big table is an idea that is certainly heartwarming and an idea not commonly embraced with European fine-dining cuisine!
Priced at $68++ or $98++ (for a 2-hour free flow of sparkling wine), the Sunday Brunch dishes are set to give you a glimpse and taste of Executive Chef Jérémy Gillon’s creative genius and deftness in cooking, and especially his skilled use of vegetables and herbs. The Sunday Brunch menu changes according to Chef Gillon’s interpretation of the day, and one is almost promised something new if a second visit occurs. Aptly put, the menu invites all diners to “Join us on a gastronomical journey by exploring your palate…”
Brunch is served from 11.30am to 4pm, and with 16 dishes to both individually enjoy, but mostly to share, it is, as such, almost definite that the meal will be an extensive and durable affair.
6 dishes were served up for the Starter. There was the Focaccia with Cooked Ham & Mascarpone Black Pepper that is always a delight to indulge in. The Pickles served with the Duck Terrine stood out boldly for their zesty bite and crunch, and the Sauteed Squid served with Eggplant and a Curry sauce carried a brilliant, wholesome flavour.
Yet what stood out distinctly for me was the innocent looking Pumpkin Soup. A bright golden orange hue is almost too inviting and hard to resist. I especially loved the decadent sweet savoury creaminess, the crunchy croutons and the textures provided by the scattering of pumpkin seeds.
The Arugula Salad, Paremsan, Lemon and Olive Oil Dressing, simple as it is, was delightfully flavourful. I thoroughly enjoyed the salt crystals from the Parmesan Reggiano providing both salty flavours and textures to the softer, bitter sweet Arugula.
And the playful use of Carvi (cumin seeds) together with Leeks and Chorizo Iberico was a savoury, meaty surprise.
Five mains were served to share, together with 5 sides that were either plated with the mains or served separately to indulge in. The French Duck Leg Confit was delicious, sometimes a little fatty, sometimes a little dry, yet all with a bold depth of savoury umami.
I was taken aback with the Sea Bass, Lemon Paste, Black Olives served with Broccoli Mash. Indulge in tender flavours of bass contrasting with the zesty lemon paste, and then leave impressed with the sweet, meaty broccoli mash hidden beneath. It was becoming clear at this point that chef had remarkable skill with his use of vegetables and herbs – bringing out the flavours from the accompanying ingredients well!
Sides of Creamy Polenta and Risotto were oh so divine.
Alas, not all the mains left a good impression. The Braised Pork Belly, while it look absolutely delectable and mouthwatering, was surprisingly meaty and dry. I was half-expecting melt-in-the-mouth fat when the dish was served. The Salmon Asperule Odorante was pretty decent, but nothing to shout about. It was, however, the shavings of Baked Carrot that stood out for all its intense sweetness. Delicious!
I was also suitably delighted with the exceptionally tender Pan Seared Flank Beef served with Dry Anchovy. Tender, meaty in flavour, and with a sauce that brightened the overall flavours!
The desserts, however, were a mixed bag for me. While I thoroughly enjoyed the Lemon Cream Tartelette & Candied Berce, and the Macaroon Speculoos were simply delightful, I found the Orange & Ginseng Sorbet quite innovative and acquired. The thought of bitter herbal ginseng with the citrus freshness of orange is not a blend easily appreciated. The Dark Chocolate Mousse with Salted Caramel was overly decadent, with the Salted Caramel obliterating all the charm from the cacao bean. Cookies were ordinary.
Cava if you order the Sparkling Sunday Brunch!
Despite some misses in the mains and the dessert, I was still delighted with what I was served during the 16 course communal Sunday brunch. It is clear that there is constant creativity at play, and the dishes seem to represent the contemporary, innovative, traditional, and sometimes outrageous. For that, and for the very comfortable setting at Audace, and the thought of being surprised by Chef in his culinary choices, this is one Sunday Brunch that I would heartily recommend. Now, if there was something like a Saturday Brunch so that I could have it on an alternate day in the week, and that would be perfect…
Thank you Audace for the invitation.
Audace Bar & Restaurant
2 Dickson Road
Reservations: 6298 1188
Sunday Brunch Menu
11.30am to 4pm
Regular Brunch – Adult: $68++ / Child (12 years and below): $34++
Brunch with Free Flow Sparkling for 2 hours – Adult: $98++
Tue to Sat
Lunch: 11.30am to 2pm
Afternoon Tea: 2pm to 6pm
Dinner: 6.30pm to Midnight (last order 10pm)