The rousing melody of a familiar upbeat song played by the resident band on string instruments got me smiling and humming to myself as I abandoned my next mouthful from a plate of fresh seafood and looked up. The distinctive tune of “Quando, Quando, Quando”, a Bossa Nova song I’d heard countless times over the years since my teens, caught my attention immediately. I adjusted my napkin and sat up.
To my surprise, Executive Chef Sandro Falbo, with his glasses sitting firmly (and adorably) on his forehead, had picked up a plate and some cutlery and had joined in the cheeky number, grooving to the rhythm with incredible ease and confidence. It was downright infectious and I found myself clapping, swaying, laughing and singing along. The mood during brunch was so perfect and carefree that gorgeous Sunday afternoon.
Chef Sandro Falbo and the Trio on Strings at Town Restaurant, The Fullerton Hotel
They could have even played “Baby, Hit Me One More Time” and it would probably have been awesome
Chef Falbo and the band received resounding applause, hoots and cheers and as the band started on yet another infectious piece, this time a jovial Hokkien “classic”, “Jipaban” (or 一百万 meaning One Million Dollars), Chef Falbo slipped away to once again oversee his team of chefs.
My Sundays are usually spent lazing around in bed and “vegetating” until late afternoon, but that day I was up for something new and I made plans to visit The Fullerton Hotel’s Town Restaurant for their Sunday Champagne Brunch, which boasted a special Italian-themed epicurean experience just for that weekend, and thereafter, for one weekend every quarter.
A truly relaxing ambience is to be expected at the light-filled Town Restaurant
A comforting traditional favourite: Trippa Alla Romana
Touted as a “Journey Through The Flavours of Italy”, the spread of authentic and traditional Italian fare alongside unique Italian-inspired creations by Chef Sandro Falbo, Chef Carlo Marengoni and Chef Benedet Paolo, did not disappoint. The sheer variety alone had me reeling with excitement.
Who doesn’t love a bubbly or prosecco for brunch?
Of course, the abundance of bubbly, prosecco and wines also played a part in the “reeling” since I could have as much as I wanted. The only thing holding me back was my desire to retain my “decorum”. That said, I indulged in plenty of prosecco. No regrets.
It wasn’t just a wide spread of hot Italian dishes and free-flow of bubbly, which really impressed me, but the diversity of everything from the selection cheeses to the types of salads. While I usually skip the cheese during buffets, they looked too divine to not have even a tiny taste.
Breathtaking selection of delicious cheeses
More than a handful of cheese varieties to choose from – there were almost 60 types
The Smoked Burrata is on the top right hand side of my plate
My favourite was by far the burrata. I had never tried burrata before and I was instantly fascinated by the fresh taste and creamy, stringy texture of this cheese that originates from Southern Italy. Burrata is a curious cheese made of Mozzarella, cream and butter, encased in a Mozzarella outer shell. In particular, the Smoked Burrata made me wish I had room for seconds, but I knew I had to resist the temptation if I were to attempt a little taste of everything that afternoon. The Truffled Burrata is also a true indulgence.
Chef Benedet Paolo carving up slices of ham and serving burrata from the Salumeria
Throughout Sunday Brunch, I found myself wondering to myself, “What should I have first?” and then “What should I have next?” and with each question I spent time deliberating, taking a stroll around the restaurant and its many stations before settling on my next helping.
Italian cuisine is characterised by its focus on fresh ingredients and uncomplicated, simple recipes, allowing the natural flavours of the ingredients, herbs and sauces to shine. I absolutely loved the meats and had a real field day walking from my table to the buffet line countless times trying to get servings for each dish.
Offal in the form of beef liver and tongue are also available
Whats really different about the spread at Town Restaurant (which I totally appreciate) was the inclusion of offal dishes, which truth be told, aren’t always readily available at most buffets.
Consumption of offal is pretty common in Italy, so it’s nice to have the opportunity to try out some authentic dishes. The buffet spread has such variety that even diners who don’t take offal will still find plenty of other delicious dishes to indulge in. They even served stewed rabbit!
Tender beef ribs and pudding
That small slice of beef short ribs was so good
A truly memorable dish I had was the beef ribs and pudding. I was about to give it a miss because I was bursting from everything I’d tasted, but a friendly chef convinced me to just try a tiny piece. She insisted that it was so tender, I’d love it. True enough, it was love at first bite. It was so flavourful and just sort of melted in my mouth. Just unbelievable!
Cheerful and helpful recommendations by all chefs at their stations
By the way, the chefs are so on point when it comes to service here. I have been to my fair share of restaurants and it is not everyday that chefs really take the time to interact with diners with sincerity and warmth and this was something I also loved about the experience at Town Restaurant. It was always a friendly recommendation or a cheerful smile to have another helping.
The photos speak for themselves. I caught the chefs secretly on camera while they were speaking to diners or hard at work and they were always so smiley and ready to serve.
If you’re getting a bit overwhelmed by the meat feast, there’s still a lot that Town Restaurant has to offer. Take for instance the salad bar or insalate station.
Insalate, where my eyes popped out of the socket from the many types of greens
So. Much. Salad.
The number of types of salad offered had my eyes popping out of their sockets. I’m not a huge fan of veggies, but it was still super thrilling to have my choice of greens. Olives, yellow tomatoes, niçoise salad, just to name a few. There were just so, so many varieties to choose from.
No way am I missing the salads here
The fresh seafood is also just mind-blowing. I spotted a plethora of shellfish like spiny lobsters, boston lobsters, mussels, clams and oysters (more than one kind too).
Boston lobsters on ice
Selection of seafood
There was a lot more seafood than I expected, even carpaccios (couldn’t resist scooping some sweet scallop carpaccio). I had no trouble filling up my plate (again). I believe there was not a single section where I left without a little something! Conquering the seafood section definitely took multiple rounds.
A light bite between meaty indulgences – deep fried calamari
There were also light bites like the lightly salted deep fried calamari served in little paper cones kept under a heating lamp.
Along with all the rich Italian dishes, Town Restaurant also offers a few different eggs.
Eggs Benedict to complete the brunch experience
There’s the brunch staples like scrambled eggs and Eggs Benedict, as well as, an eggs station where you can have your eggs done in any style. It’s still brunch after all!
As if that’s not enough, there’s also a section featuring Japanese dishes, maki, sushi and sashimi.
Tempura selection from the Japanese counter
Ultra fresh sashimi – so fresh I expected them to dance on my plate
I was also sure to have some pasta, ravioli, risoni and mouthwatering handmade meatballs from the pasta station. I was sure to leave this (pasta has got to be my favourite food of all time) for last.
Pasta station for fresh servings of pasta
Pick up some truffle risoni, ravioli, meatballs or pasta done your way
Well, almost last anyway! I haven’t got a sweet tooth (other than Bingsu and Milk Cow, I’m not like crazy over my desserts). Even so, no one should step into Town Restaurant without having something from the decadent dessert counters spread across the foyer dining area outside the restaurant.
Chocolate fondue fountain with beautifully presented strawberries and marshmallows
Adorable cookies in the shape of the iconic Fullerton Bear dressed for the occasion in “I love Italy” shirts!
Multitude of chocolate pralines (even green tea flavoured) and mint chocolate lollies
Apart from the many different kinds of chocolate in all forms, I found some classic Italian desserts like Tiramisu and Italian Almond Cheesecake.
All I can say is, Town Restaurant’s Sunday Champagne Brunch is not for the faint-hearted or for dainty eaters with small stomachs. The buffet spread is remarkably wide and will tempt you with each helping to have more.
I hadn’t even imagined just how many different dishes they could fit into a single themed buffet like this. It took determination to avoid stuffing myself silly and to allow myself a comfortable pace of eating a little bit of everything.
Being able to have flutes of free-flow Veuve Clicquot Champagne Brut NV, sparkling and house pour wines made the experience even more light-hearted (or did I mean, light-headed) and luxurious.
Have your fill of fluffy polenta , selection of sausages and slices of pork
The Journey Through the Flavours of Italy Sunday Champagne Brunch is S$178++ per adult (with alcohol) and S$130++ per adult (no alcohol, chilled juices and soft drinks).
Great ambience at Town Restaurant
If you’re wowed by the spread, you’ll have to wait in anticipation for next quarter when the Italian-themed spread returns to grace the buffet line at Town Restaurant for just one weekend every month from 12:30pm to 3:30pm.
Keep a look out for the next Journey Through the Flavours of Italy Sunday Champagne Brunch available every quarter starting 28 February 2016 and ending on 31 July 2016.
Town Restaurant @ The Fullerton Hotel
1 Fullerton Square, Singapore 049178