Boozy brunches are almost a religion in some cities. While KLites are more likely to hit a café or kopitiam on a weekend morning, there are temples around town dedicated to the worship of pancakes and prosecco. What's not to love, after all — wines and champagne pair well with food, the menu covers breakfast and lunch staples and the timing is ideal because it is late enough to let you sleep in but early enough for any potential after-effects (excessive gluttony, hangovers, regret) to fade before Monday.
We may justify pouring a glass of wine too early in the day by assuring ourselves that “it’s 5pm somewhere”, but boozy brunches need no such excuse. They are a terrific way to start Sunday on a celebratory note, whether to bid adios to the week gone by or hail the approaching one. As for any lingering guilt one might have about savouring a Bloody Mary with eggs benedict, we as a society have bought into the belief that productivity is a virtue. Taking time off to linger over a meal is not an act of delinquency, but vital for resetting mind and body.
Above all, this occasional treat is about kicking back with good company and having a great time, so shelve those excuses, round up the troops and reserve a table. Better yet, make a weekend of it and check into any of these hotels for a staycation that could end with an elevated breakfast experience.
W Kuala Lumpur
If detox means abstinence, does Retox hint at overwhelming indulgence? The folks at W Hotel certainly seem to think so with the Retox brunch at sustainable dining restaurant Flock. Talk about a responsible feast.
Cold cuts, seafood on ice, an antipasti assortment and artisanal Milky Whey cheeses beg to be fashioned into a grazing platter: Think freshly shucked oysters alongside sliced hams, tabbouleh and smoked gouda, paired with nuts, dried fruit and crackers. The tantalising aroma of hot dishes such as wagyu beef rendang permeate the air, while the visual spectacle that is the live carving station encourages the satiated diner to find a little more room for beef ribs or snapper prepared ikan bakar style. Right next to the lavish slabs of meat, a half-wheel of raclette entices you to ignore common sense and cholesterol readings for one more mouthful of melted cheese.
A repertoire of cuisines is represented under this roof, from Sunday roast staples the likes of Yorkshire pudding and salmon eggs benedict to creamy vegetarian lasagne, wok-fried chilli crab and bao with Peking duck. Luxury arrives in the form of foie gras chawan mushi while fresh from the grill is luscious barbecued slipper lobster. An entire table is devoted to desserts, with chocolate truffles nestling against macarons, cookies, tarts, cakes and ice cream.
Teetotallers will not leave dry thanks to mocktails, soft drinks and juices but those here to enjoy good tipple along with Insta-worthy views of the KL skyline will find the bar well-stocked with crafted cocktails, house-pouring wines and good beers. It stands to reason then that Retox takes place every alternate Sunday; the voracious regular would need to detox in between.
Flock, W Hotel, 121, Jalan Ampang, KL. Every first and third Sunday of the month, noon-3pm. For adults, RM198+ for brunch only or RM298+ with free-flowing cocktails, wine and beers. RM98+ per child. For reservations, call 012 347 9088 or email [email protected].
Four Seasons Kuala Lumpur
You might go for the champagne but you will stay for the cocktails. The Bar Trigona Pop-Up at the Sunday Bubbly Brunch showcases the inventive flair of the in-house cocktail parlour, famed for using local ingredients such as wild ginger, turmeric and the distinctive honey from the stingless bee that is the bar’s namesake.
Within the bright and airy all-day dining restaurant Curate, full-height glass windows invite in sunlight and overlook the lush KLCC park and fountain. That might arrest attention immediately upon entry but the buffet quickly takes predominance over the view.
Brunch essentials of various origins cater for every mood: Local favourites, Western classics and Four Seasons specialities range from comfort food to extravagant delicacies. Chefs man stations throughout the space, carving, roasting and tossing ingredients in flaming woks. This is one show in which style is equal to substance, as the spread is of impressive depth and breadth.
Start light if you would like to pace yourself, which we do recommend. Graze on bites from the salad bar, cheese board, bread basket and cold mezze spread, scattered with Malaysian must-tries such as kerabu daging and rojak buah. Segue to hot dishes, be it shawarma on a spit shaved into pita pockets or saffron rice studded with shrimp. Relish the pomp and pageantry of the chilled seafood parade, featuring New Zealand oysters, Boston lobsters and extra-large Alaskan king crabs with succulent, gangly legs. Sushi, or a sampling of multicultural local flavours including ayam masak merah, char kuay teow, baskets of steamed dumplings and fragrant lamb vindaloo, could follow.
Tempted yet? Wait till your eyes fall upon the roasted whole lamb, the prime rib, the curious puzzle that is waffles and chicken. Prolong the savoury voyage with a cheese platter — European-style by Milky Whey, spiked with cili padi or Sarawak black pepper — or peruse the sweet section where crème brulee, eclairs, kuih and bubur cha cha await.
Curate, Four Seasons Kuala Lumpur, 145, Jalan Ampang, KL. Sunday, noon-3pm. For adults, RM210 for brunch only, RM348 with free-flowing wines and cocktails, and RM488 with unlimited champagne. For children above five, RM105. Reserve here or call 03 2383 8888.
St Regis Kuala Lumpur
If music be the food of love, play on, wrote Shakespeare. At St Regis KL, the soul feasts on both music and food at the Sunday Jazz Brunch. Inspired by the markets in France, the weekly affair is hosted at The Brasserie, renowned for its emphasis on quality imported produce.
Astute sourcing informs the pleasure enjoyed by the discriminating palate: Consider the Royal Alaskan king crab, the Fine de Claire oysters shucked on the spot, and the signature heirloom tomato with creamy burrata that balance each other beautifully in bite and flavour. Wander through the live stations set up specially on Sundays to see the stars of the show — roast is a staple while fish and poultry are rotated — or swing by the pasta post for fresh homemade carbs topped with a decadent heaping of foie gras upon request.
A modern European café by day, The Brasserie specialises in baking impeccable croissants and sprinkling sophistication onto ordinary dishes such as eggs benedict. It brings this knowledge to the fore on Sundays, alongside à la minute favourites such as crisp waffles with foie gras and mango chutney, a gratifying asparagus risotto and al dente linguine with Black Angus bolognaise. The culinary team revamps the à la carte menu every week but you would be hard-pressed to want more than the generous offerings on the table.
Dessert includes an excellent selection of cheeses, and those hankering for a sweet-tooth symphony will not go wanting with home-made ice cream, pancakes and macarons, among others. The menu was designed as part of a sensorial extravaganza that marries eclectic cuisine with an endless stream of wine and jazz from across the ages rising and falling in the background amid the chatter.
The Brasserie, St Regis Kuala Lumpur, 6, Jalan Stesen Sentral 2, Kuala Lumpur Sentral, KL. Sunday, noon-3pm. For adults, RM280+ for brunch only or RM455+ with free-flowing red, white and sparkling wines. Delamotte champagne can be purchased for RM550+ per bottle with a complimentary bottle thrown in in the spirit of merriment. For reservations, call 03 2727 6666 or email [email protected].
The RuMa Hotel and Residences
Leave your troubles at the door and step into the tony interiors of ATAS Modern Malaysian Eatery to witness how floor-to-ceiling glass, polished wooden floors and gleaming accents meld into a luxurious fantasy that insulates the diner from the hustle and bustle outside.
Service is the star of the show at the ATAS Sunday Brunch, where the staff’s trademark attentiveness ensures that your every wish is granted.
The proudly local venue pays homage to fresh produce and familiar flavours with options to suit every diet. Vegetarian? Whole foods abound, with greens, beans, fruits, seeds and grains sprinkled onto salads in the colours of a rainbow or grilled Mediterranean vegetables dotted with red-pepper relish. Feeling carnivorous? The finest-quality poultry, beef and seafood are prepared several ways, with nourishment and gratification ascribed equal value.
Start with antipasto, cold cuts or terrine, or fill a plate with glistening chilled seafood and any of the dozen condiments. Stroll by the kitchen counter next to investigate the line-up of hot dishes: Patatas bravas, ratatouille, seabass and roast chicken dressed with herbs beckon. Alternatively, opt for a tableside carving of warm delicacies such as chicken wellington, baptised in jus before being served.
Should the buffet prove insufficient — preposterous, of course, but let us indulge the possibility — guests can additionally order two main dishes and a dessert from the à la minute menu. It is worth perusing, with the rotation of mains including Black Angus short rib with foie gras, Angus beef sliders, home-cured salmon and fried chicken with firm waffles.
End with, well, anything you desire. Desserts from around the country and world are ready to soothe any craving, be it mini tarts crowned with liquid nitrogen ice cream, a magnificent Bombe Alaska, hot bubur pulut hitam drizzled with coconut milk or the crowd favourite, durian sundae.
ATAS Modern Malaysian Eatery, The RuMa Hotel and Residences, 7, Jalan Kia Peng, KL. Sunday, noon-3pm. RM160 for brunch only, RM190 inclusive of mocktails and RM280 inclusive of free-flowing wines, cocktails and beer. For reservations, call 03 2778 0888 or email [email protected].
EQ Kuala Lumpur
Celebrate a successful week of intermittent fasting by feasting like there is no tomorrow at the expansive buffet laid out at Nipah as part of its all-new Sunday Brunch. Demolished, rebuilt and rebranded, the former Equatorial Hotel KL also resurrected coffee house Nipah as a trendy all-day dining venue, now welcoming diners to kick off their Sunday right.
Pan-Asian and Western fare jostle for elbow room across a variety of surfaces. Malaysia is strongly represented with classics such as curry laksa, Hainanese chicken rice, satay and the fluffiest roti canai this side of town. These were well-loved in the yesteryear of Nipah’s legacy, but the menu has been updated with new recipes such as the award-winning Nasi Lemak Lemuni, which took home the gold award at the 2019 Global Culinary Challenge Malaysia.
Purists will appreciate the unadorned fresh seafood on an icy runway, headlined by just-shucked oysters, yabbies and prawns — a dash of dressing is unnecessary but could enhance their succulence. If cold crustaceans are not quite your cup of tea, head over to the barbecue grill where meat and seafood are cooked over coals. Alternatively, go for broke and pile on the carbs with customisable pizzas that get that delicate ratio of dough and toppings just right.
Sail down the sea of desserts to conclude this joyous event, but listen closely to your heart on whether it should be strawberry cheesecake, pecan tarts, homemade ice cream or traditional kuih that fills what little space remains in your stomach.
Nipah, EQ Kuala Lumpur, Equatorial Plaza, Jalan Sultan Ismail, KL. Sunday, noon-3.30pm. For adults, RM108 for brunch only or RM288 with free-flowing prosecco, house-pouring red and white wines, and select draught beers. RM54 for children between age six and 12. Reserve here or call 03 2789 7839.
This article first appeared on Feb 24, 2020 in The Edge Malaysia.