There are brunches, and there are brunches. They’re calling it Singapore’s longest brunch, and at Monti’s, the food starts from noon and the party goes till midnight.
Monti takes over the Fullerton pavilion from the celebrated Catalunya, where it glimmers like an inset jewel on the waterfront. Inside, the ground to ceiling glass facade gives it a soaring, spacious aesthetic that presents the marina Bayfront in its full glory. The trade-off with so much glass though, is the occasional heatwave from Singapore’s characteristic sunny days. But it seems like a worthwhile trade, for the views are stunning — sunlight glistens across the water and flits flatteringly across your dining table; it is an instagrammer’s dream. Inside, the aesthetic is elegant and uplifting, with bright hues of blues and yellows adorning the room.
Singapore’s longest brunch is served a la carte, which means you get to choose what you want, and exactly when you want it. This makes for food that’s always prepared fresh and brought to the table piping hot or nicely chilled, instead of sitting around looking hopeful on an open counter top.
The Seafood Platter
The first thing you notice when you sit down is the massive seafood platter that greets you. It’s a visually-dramatic starter and fitting centrepiece that arrives with a bit of theatrics and smoking dried ice, but nothing too over the top that it distracts from the royal display of king crab, oysters, shellfish, sashimi and prawns. It comes highly recommended that you take a moment here to misdirect your dining companions with gorgeous bayfront views, or by flinging empty clam shells at them, and by doing so buy yourself some more time alone with the fresh, succulent-sweet crab.
One of the many joys at Monti is the tableside chef service. Brunch is peppered with personal touches–our grilled octopus salad is assembled in front of our eyes, with the chef regaling us with origin stories of Sicilian lemons. The salad is bright and zesty, with octopus in abundance; we’re quickly working up at appetite by this point.
Pasta Galore and oh, that Truffle Risotto
The brunch menu is suitably lengthy, and the range of options you could consider are near limitless–you could probably rack up a hundred pasta combinations alone. With an infinite number of possibilities but a finite appetite, it’s important that we introduce some highlights to maximize your dining experience. The first of your selections must be the truffle risotto (i.e. Cacio Pepe e Tartufo). The warm risotto is finished tableside in a giant wheel of parmesan, where the cheese melts gently into the mix with each fold. A generous portion of truffle is shaved delicately over the risotto and served steaming with umami. It almost makes you wonder why all risottos aren’t similarly made in chunks of cheese.
Foie Gras, Iberico Pork Jowl and More!
Other favourites include the Foie Gras — rich, creamy and balanced perfectly with a tart wine jelly that’s made in-house. One item that you shouldn’t overlook is the French Toast from the egg selection. Don’t be fooled by its simple name and humble associations (relative to say, the king crab). It’s perfectly done, and incredibly addictive. I could wake up to this every morning.
The other must-tries include the Charcoal Grilled Iberico Pork Jowl – crunchy on the outside from an excellent char and juicy on the inside. You can tell the quality of meats partly by how the fat tastes — meats of poor origin often have a distinct chewiness and a strong, off-putting odour; on the other hand, the best fats have a luscious quality and a slight sweetness. It is here that the iberico park jowl shines. You may want to get a couple more of these for the table, they’re going to go quickly. The lamb chop and ribeye were tasty enough, but could have been grilled on a higher heat for better char. I’d happily dig into more pork jowl instead.
Along the way, don’t forget to try out the drink-making stations with your friends, where you get the chance to be your own bartender. Hit up a couple of mojitos and bloody marys, all in the name of a bit of good fun (and refreshing boozy beverages, of course). Here’s a hot tip we picked up from the friendly staff: clap your mint leaves, and don’t muddle them — a light pressure releases its fragrance, while abrasive force extracts the bitter compounds.
Stuffed as you may be, there’s always room for dessert. The dessert table at Monti is not one you want to miss. Don’t be fooled by their petite, unassuming stature; each little morsel packs a powerful punch of flavour. Look out for the Peanut Cream Tartlets and the Torta Caprese (chocolate tortes) and their deep, rich chocolate interiors. Try also the Stuffoli with Honey & Nutella, little fried cheese balls which you top with honey and Nutella — it’s like a moreish, chewy, cheesy churro.
Monti has all sorts of good things going for it at its Sunday brunch. And it certain earns its longest brunch title with the DJ sets and live jazz that take over towards the late afternoon and into the night. What I’m actually more curious about are the postmodern jukebox-styled sets that I hear Monti hosts on Thursday nights. Now, if only they served brunch in the evening…
Thank you Monti for the invitation.