Sunday brunch is a Singaporean institution, and the mouthwatering buffets at most of the city’s hotels make you wish you hadn’t strapped a belt round your trousers. The quality of food is high but often, so too are the prices. So, when brunching with young children, the questions have to be: ‘Will I be able to enjoy it?’ and ‘Will it be a complete waste of money?’
The demands of multitasking – ordering, feeding, wiping, cleaning and eating – can be incredibly taxing on even the most patient of parents and can turn what is supposed to be an enjoyable, leisurely meal into a recipe for heartburn. With my brood of three I have tried and tested several of the best brunches in town. Based on quality of food and facilities to keep the children entertained – so the parents can actually eat – here’s our top five most child-friendly brunch spots.
The Barnacles Restaurant
Kids will love: The kiddie shows
Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa Resort reopened in early 2011 after an S$80 million makeover. Its Sunday Garden Party by the Sea, overlooking the South China Sea, is the perfect setting for a weekend family gathering. Tuck into a delectable buffet spread featuring oysters, Alaskan and Asian crabs, and barbecued meats. Children have their own dedicated buffet section placed at their height, and parents can enjoy their meals while magic shows and balloon-twisting acts entertain kids. Diners enjoy free use of the resort's natural water swimming pool, children's slides and splash pad and parking on a first come, first served basis. 1/L Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa Resort (6275 0100). Noon-3pm. Adults $138++; one child under 12 with one paying adult, free; additional child $38++.
Kids will love: The bouncy castles offer a different theme every weekend
Italian food is usually a good option when dining out with children. Unless gluten is an issue, pasta and pizza are easy meal choices for kids. La Villa’s buffet spread includes Italian appetisers (classic cold cuts, freshly baked breads), eggs, salads and desserts (tiramisu, pannacotta, cheese). They’ve added a machine to serve fruit-flavoured slushies, a sure hit with the kids.
Besides a kid-friendly menu, there’s also a bouncy castle with a different theme every weekend and a playground in an open field to keep the kids entertained; bring a change of clothes and mosquito repellent. They also have seasonal programmes for kids, including an egg hunt on Easter Sunday. 341 River Valley Rd #01-03 (known to cabbies as the old River Valley Primary School) (6836 5286). Noon-2.30pm. Adults $65 with a free-flow of drinks (prosecco, mimosas, draught beer, orange/lime, coffee or tea); teenagers $48; children $20 with a free-flow of orange/lime, slushies and milk.
Melt – The World Café
Kids will love: The Little Fan Room with its candyfloss machine
The Weekend Champagne Brunch is a luxurious way to end the week, featuring an extensive buffet of fresh seafood on ice, international and Asian favourites, live cooking stations as well as an alfresco grill area. The sensational food is really more of a treat for the adults than the kids, but the restaurant has a special programme for the younger diner. The Little Fan Room is especially set up for 3- to 12-year-olds, with its own special children’s buffet spread that consists of mini beefburgers, chicken wings, chicken nuggets, finger sandwiches, popcorn, assorted ice cream and even a candyfloss machine. There are also cartoon movie screenings, drawing materials, storybooks and storytelling sessions. Staff are on hand to supervise and assist our junior guests. 4/L Mandarin Oriental Singapore, 5 Raffles Ave (6338 0066). Noon-3pm. Adults $138-$348, with free-flow of drinks; children $48, with free-flow of soft drinks and juices.
Privé Bakery Café
Kids will love: Gazing at boats moored in the Marina
If you aren’t up for a marathon eating session but still want your yummy breakfast of all your favourite comfort foods, Privé is a great option for à la carte brunch with its all-day breakfast, burgers, sandwiches, pastas, bakery items and desserts. While you are tucking into your fry-up of eggs, sausage and bacon, the kids can colour or look at the beautiful boats moored in the Marina. Child-sized portions are available for several items including fluffy pancakes, fish and chips, and spaghetti with meatballs. A mini playground is in the pipeline as well. Marina at Keppel Bay, No 2 Keppel Bay Vista (6776 0777). 10.30am-5pm. Adults $11-$28; children $9.50-$12.50
Boomarang Bistro & Bar
Kids will love: Running around the quay on their scooter
Another great option if you are not in the mood for a big buffet spread, this Robertson Quay restaurant has an all-day breakfast and exudes a very relaxed Aussie vibe. While you’re munching on fabulous sourdough toast, the kids can get colouring or scooter up and down the quay. When it comes to their turn, kids have a special menu, and as an added bonus, dogs are welcome. After devouring your full English breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausage, beans, tomatoes and mushrooms, take a stroll along the river or jump on a water taxi down to the Esplanade or Clarke Quay. #01-15 The Quayside Singapore, 60 Robertson Quay (6738 1077). 8am-6pm. Adult $6-$24++, child $9++.