Sunday, April 29, 2012

One Twenty Six ... Beach ... Green ... Breeze ... Booze

Dining habits in Singapore has evolved. Weekend brunch is the next "in" thing in Singapore and I don't think it's a fad that will die off anytime soon. Spurred on by this evolution, there appears to be more cafes and restaurants more than willing to serve weekend brunch which leads to further nurturing of more sleepy heads who will wake up after 9am, still want breakfast and kill lunch with the same stone. This is one trend that I'll gladly ride along. Since there are so many brunch options out there why not one that has abundance of fresh air, plenty of greens, proximity to the beach and plenty of booze? I was referring to One Twenty Six, the dining, garden and gastrobar located at Playground@Big Splash.

We chose the outdoor option amidst their "garden", under the shelter of the pavilions and having industrial fans blowing to enhance the effects of  the sea breeze. You get to people watch from behind your cool sun glass, in your comfortable bermudas, while seeping ice cold cocktails that One Twenty Six has plenty to offer. During the day, the place is "disguised" as a restaurant. When the sun starts to disappear into the horizon, the gastrobar will probably see more action churning out their cocktails and slushing out malted froth out of beer taps more often than during the day. Meanwhile, during the day, "The Crew", service staff with the same name printed onto their polo Ts, will have to keep themselves busy with serving mostly brunch food to a primarily family crowd. 

The most obvious breakfast on the menu is The Big Breakfast with a preference of scrambled/fried/poach/boiled eggs, German Sausage, Bacon, Hash Brown, bake beans, roasted tomatoes and toasted country bread. All these served with a glass of fresh orange juice. With McDonald's taking out their pioneer outlet, One Twenty Six's Big Breakfast will be the only Big Breakfast in the vicinity of East Coast Parkway. At $24, the portion was adequate but I thought they can do better with their choice hash brown and bread.

The Big Breakfast was HY's choice, mine was the Shellfish Carbonara with Scallop and Prawn, spaghettini with edamame and creamy pancetta sauce (S$32). The spaghetti was al dente but I was close to getting it soggy by eating it too slowly as I was helping HY cut her sausages and hash browns, then forking it to her while she's feeding little Julien (and he had to wake up and feed at the same time. Babies will be babies.). The creamy pancetta sauce was balanced but at the same time viscous enough to get me full that I skipped dessert. The scallops was well caramelized and the sweetness was accentuated by a sprinkle of coarse black pepper. The prawns was also sweet and crunchy too. I didn't think the edamame made a difference to this dish though. Placed on top of the spaghetti was what seemed and taste like crispy pan fried parma ham that added a smokey flavor to the dish. This pasta was delicious and the kitchen was generous with the portion. It is unusual that I skip dessert. Maybe it's the Katong Curry Puff I had for breakfast before the brunch. Sssh don't tell anyone that I'm an old man who'll naturally wake up early for breakfast and trying to make myself young by appearing for brunch. Brunch to me is simply .... early lunch :). One Twenty Six has a mix of American, European and Asian cuisine. You'll be able to get Nasi Lemak here too!

The weather was warm at noon time, so there's no stopping any one asking for good old fresh strawberries ice cream. Ice cream's alway good with little Vic in the house.

The Daddies on the table get their fill of booze too. William got the Mojito while I got myself this Agave Agul (S$16) - Sauza Tequila, Grand Marnier, Blue Curacao, honey and lime. This cocktail was sweet and sour blend and ice cold, intoxicating and totally liberating.

Since One Twenty Six is part of the One Rochester Group that has its winning concept circling around dining at Gastrobars, "The Crew" should be taught better not spill my Agave Agul on me even after I shifted my seat to make way for him. While it may be cool to mingle in casual profanities while conversing with a fellow colleague, nobody's stopping you but please be sensitive to do it away from a earshot?  Your brunch clientele profile is definitely different from that after the sun goes down. Last but not least, don't just stand around and just look good. Please help fill up our ice water, it's basic service for keeping customers cool while dining outdoors in this tropical weather. If one can see pass all these, One Twenty Six would definitely be a choiced venue for brunch. For some reason when One Rochester Group decided to spiff up service standards, we should be seeing more tables being filled during brunch because their food was above average. Else, they should be contented with making money from booze from their bars.

902 East Coast Parkway
Playground@Big Splash
Tel : +65 6348 2126
One Twenty Six Website

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