Situated at Hilton Singapore, Checkers Brasserie has always pride itself on the quality (over the quantity) of its offerings. The culinary team at the buffet restaurant actually spends considerable time observing the preferences and interests of their diners, all to take note of what their customers are most fond of. This has given rise to a new concept for their Sunday buffet brunch- ala- carte style.
The culinary team at Checkers Brasserie has come up with an extensive menu of ala- carte dishes that are freshly prepared upon order; this on top of the wide spread one can find on the buffet tables. A selection of Egg Specialities and Gourmet Bites that all customers can order as many rounds as they want (that is if they have ample stomach space), all so that they can spend more time mingling with their family and friends and just wait to be served.
A rather limited variety of Fresh Seafood as compared to the selection found in the other hotel restaurants, but the ones here are certainly more than good enough given their quality. The Sashimi spread was very well visited by many of the patrons (like always) and I did took much pleasure in them myself.
The plate of Smoked Salmon, thick and smooth slivers that were not overly salted, was one that I helped myself to subsequent servings. I was pleased with the Smoked Marlin too, slightly more firm to the bite while it was certainly less salty.
The Parma Ham with Rock- melon was one of the more memorable highlights from the buffet spread, both were impressionable given the freshness of the Rock- melon and the remarkable taste and texture of the Parma Ham, the contrast between the natural sweetness of the fruit and the gratifying saltiness of the meat was soul- satisfying. The Honey Ham and the Air Dried Beef were both relatively easier eats, I would say.
A very wide range of meat for the carnivores out there, meat- lovers can get to savour the Chorizo Aberico Bellota Vacio, Roast Pork and Pork Salami as well- it is simply a feast one can never get enough of. The Pork Liver Terrine and the Foie Gras de Canard Et Aux Pomme boasted rich savoury profiles that had a home- made feel to them. The French Duck Rillette would make a great spread for the toasted baguette if only it was a tad more smooth, though it was intensely flavoured.
An assortment of cheese is available, probably a wider range that can be seen than elsewhere. Bonde de Gatine, La Marotte and Petit Chaource AOP were some of the numbers present during the visit.
The antipasti section of Checkers Brasserie is an area not to be ignored; the range of appetisers available will do more than just whet your appetite. On the milder side of the menu, the bright, juicy, sweet- tangy of the Baked Vine Tomatoes was utterly refreshing while the Roasted Pumpkin was cooked just right, easy to please. The Baked Mushroom was just as delicious, even when had alone that is in contrary to what many would think that it might be too plain on its own.
Another couple of appetisers more than worthy of being mentioned here. The Crabmeat Salad was one of my favourites for the day, the crustacean meat was extremely fresh and delectable to the bite, something I can really have all day. The Marinated Prawn Salad was left mainly to the key ingredient of the dish to shine, the succulence of the prawns. Another noteworthy plate would be the Mussel Salad that would be able to easily strike a chord with diners, the juices of the flesh was definitely the highlight here.
Like almost any other buffet spread found in hotel buffet restaurants, one can look forward to the Roast Beef and the Roast Ham. The former was technically good, fork- tender with a pink centre while I concurred with my fellow diners that the Roast Ham was quite delish.
Venturing beyond the simplistic preparations of old- time egg favourites- scrambled, sunny side- up and so on, Checkers Brasserie is introducing a range of Egg specialties for their new ala- carte Sunday Brunch in accordance to a variety of international influences. Many of us were fond of the English: Eggs with Wagyu Corned Beef Hash, a comforting delicacy in which the rich flavours complemented one another beautifully. The spicy notes from the Poached Eggs in Devil Tomato Sauce were a little overwhelming for me, though some might enjoy having the concoction all together. Done the American way, the Sizzling Eggs on a Hot Plate with Double Apple- wood Smoked Bacon was simple yet satisfying enough.
The two Egg specialities that made a stronger impression, were namely the Poached Eggs and Foie Gras laced with Truffle Hollandaise and the Slow Cooked Soft Boiled Egg with Unagi and Rice. One of us actually ordered two servings of the latter and I would have probably done the same if I was not so bloated; the Japanese Eel was very well- marinated and the rice was gratifyingly paired with the deliciously runny yolk. Like how one would put it, the other French specialty comprise two of the most favourite dishes around- a wobbly perfectly done Poached egg settled on a meltingly pleasurable piece of Foie Gras, made even better with the Truffle Hollandaise sauce as a finishing touch.
Even more exquisite delicacies prepared ala- minute, there are a total of eight different Gourmet Bites to select from. The Lamb Loin served with Baba Ghanoush and Mint Sauce was cooked to tender perfection, while the slight gaminess was accented with the delightful flavours of the accompanying elements. On the other hand, the Dim Sum East West, Foie Gras with Pork Char Siew was rather lacking since I could only distinguish most of the pork; almost akin to the ordinary Siew Mai one could get elsewhere. Many of us nodded our heads in agreement when we tucked into the Lobster served with Chilli- flavoured Rice and Coriander, the sauce was packed with a sweet- spicy punch that did take me by surprise.
The key ingredients of the Foie Gras Dumplings with Shimeji Mushrooms and Asparagus were flawlessly cooked, the aromatic fragrance of the Foie Gras and the Shimeji Mushrooms (both infused together) was very distinct. The Wagyu Beef Tongue Burger with Coulommiers Cheese was just show- stopping and in my opinion, won every other dish and dessert hands- down. Squished between grilled golden- brown buns, the beef patty squirted with its meaty juices with every bite and it was further elevated by the tender well- marbled Wagyu Beef Tongue. The Braised Beef Cheeks in Red Wine served with Truffle Polenta, Bacon, Mushrooms and Onions was another item of cutting edge, a myriad of flavours from the varying elements that came out stunningly with every mouthful.
A wide assortment of Macarons that would most certainly grab the attention of any customer with a sweet tooth, I found it a real pity that the Macarons could have fared a tad better in the textural department though the couple I tried, were decent taste- wise. Hilton Hotel has always been famous for their Cheesecakes and the petite ones here surely did not disappoint. The Mango Strawberry Mousse, with its rather mild and delicately sweet flavours, should be a hit with the fairer crowd.
While I could not exactly discern how the Variations of Tiramisu came about, I preferred the Chocolate Trio, devilishly rich in more of a dark chocolatey way. The Mille Feuille with its feathery pastry and luscious cream sandwiched within, was certainly a delight to have.
One can opt to have his or her Crepes with a selection of fruits, mascarpone, nuts or chocolate. Those who like theirs done crisp, will definitely like the ones served here. The Pancakes, served with blueberries and maple syrup, were done just the way one would like it, though it might be a tad heavy after finishing all the appetisers and mains. I was most fond of the Belgian Waffles and from judging by the response, it was a crowd pleaser for the day. One can choose to have their Belgian Waffles served with strawberries, panna cotta gelato, chocolate, banana and pecans.
There are many more offerings not mentioned here, in addition to a range of smoothies, juices, wines and champagne that is made available too. Prices are set at $80.00++ (inclusive of smoothies, juices, coffee and tea) and at an additional $18.00++ for free flow of wines and Bloody Mary and at an additional $48.00++ for free flow of champagne. For children, prices are set at $40.00++.
Coupled by the excellent service during our visit, I must say that Checkers Brasserie has it all- the recipe to win the hearts of its diner. The new ala- carte Sunday brunch (from 12.00pm till 3.00pm) at the Hilton buffet restaurant is worthy of a visit, it does certainly get my vote for a place to go to for a family meal together or a gathering with friends.
Many thanks to the Ms Stephanie Lee from Hilton Singapore for the kind invitation.
Lobby, Hilton Singapore
581 Orchard Road
Tel: +65 6730 3390
Mondays to Sundays, 6.00am till 11.00pm