Sundays are made of vicious cycles. When the sun shines on Sunday, you feel like napping. When it rains, you feel like napping. Nobody goes out on Sunday, therefore many restaurants close. Many restaurants close on Sunday therefore nobody goes out. And not wanting to go to a hotel for high tea, the only new restaurant that we want to visit and opens on a Sunday is Spathe (pronounced as “Spayth”), for its weekend brunch menu only.
Before we review the restaurant, let us emphasize that this review is solely based on its brunch menu, and not the dinner menu which we hear is pretty good. Another disclaimer we have to make: we have a love-hate relationship with brunches. We love the food but hate that restaurants just want to make a quick buck out of brunches: a 20-cent egg at a supermarket once poached costs $20 at restaurants. Why does it cost so much when there is little skill in poaching an egg? (Because of our relationship with brunch, our review may be a little harsh.)
Little skill needed for brunches means that the head chef usually takes the day off and leaves the kitchen to other cooks. As it was, when we were at Spathe, the charismatic chef-owner Claudio Sandri, whom we have a not-so-secret crush on and met twice, once at Savour 2012 and at the defunct Brasserie Wolf, wasn’t around.
Unless you’re an alcoholic, the only acceptable time you can drink during the day is brunch. And we kicked off with three cocktails, kiwi mojito ($16), watermelon lemonade (vodka-based, $16) and an extremely sour village twist (lemon, raspberry, egg white, $16) reminiscent of whiskey sour. The fruits were freshly squeezed, lots of pulp. Drinks were generally vibrant but weak, even I a teetotaler could down a cocktail within minutes. That’s paying a lot of money for juice. We wanted to order more, such as a very delicious sounding Boracay ($18) with chocolate and espresso as its ingredients, or Spathe Special ($18) but they were both unavailable. How can a special be unavailable? A grouse we had was that they were not ready: most cocktails and many food items were unavailable.
For the food, the sides fared much better than the mains. The garlic french fries ($6) came in a substantial portion and were kickass salty in a delectable manner. The beef lasagne ($12) was tiny, palm-sized, but piping hot and very cheesy. The pasta within was overcooked and too soft but we liked soggy pasta.
The mains, however, weren’t very good. The mushroom omelette ($13) was slightly overcooked and dry and the accompanying salad was browning at the edges of leaves. I had to send my eggs royale (poached eggs and salmon on muffins, doused in hollandaise sauce, $16) back to the kitchen because the eggs were hardboiled. When they returned, the eggs were perfectly poached but hideous to look at. And there was too much hollandaise sauce–their version was tart–destroying any sense of balance between the yolk, sauce, fish and bread.
The dessert, toffee pudding (pictured below, $12), came with peppermint ice cream, instead of the rum-and-raisin ice cream stated on the menu, something the server didn’t warn me about. When I asked, the server said the peppermint ice cream was homemade and I’ll take her word for it. The combination, seemingly strange, worked very well. The pudding itself was a light sponge cake drenched in toffee sauce. Not too bad.
The service, we thought, was another issue. They seemed to be very busy although the restaurant was empty. It was hard getting their attention. Although when we did get their attention, they were nice and friendly.
We paid $118 for two, or about $60 for one, too expensive for brunch. Will we return? Well, the decor was awesome, rustic meets ghetto, raw, destroyed brick walls and naked bulbs, wooden benches that can be found at countryside. And we love Chef Sandri. So if we return, we will return for the dinner menu, which looks promising, but not for the stodgy brunch.
8 Mohammed Sultan Road
T: 6735 1035
Rating: 2.813/5 stars
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.