Hoarding, though perceived negatively, can actually be purposive (but I have to admit that this is a rare scene). Prior to Intrepid Gastro Bar‘s opening at the start of the year, the interior was painstakingly designed to fit the Melbourne-inspired hangout concept; the design of industrial-chic vibes reminiscent of Melbourne warehouses, adorned with exposed light bulbs and reconditioned wood furnishings from unwanted recycled furniture pieces, including the cafe’s coffee counter. To complete treats to the human senses, an Australian radio station was broadcasted in the background with hits from the likes of Lady Gaga and John Mayer. It was simple pleasures for me (considering that I’ve been listening to radio hits since the year 2000; no exaggeration).
Whether or not you’ve been to Melbourne, you would have heard of the abundant cafes littered along the city square grids. Rommel and Michelle, who grew up in Australia, are motivated and convinced to replicate the feel, experience and food of Melbourne in Singapore. I was there for their brunch, which is served on weekdays from 10.30am – 3pm (oh damn, I realize I can actually walk over for brunch as lunch on weekdays!) and 10.30am – 5pm on weekends. Lunch items are served together with the brunch items.
Latte ($5.50+ / $6.50+) :: AGUST Gourmet Coffee is used for their coffee, roasted and air flown in from Italy. It is available in both ORO and EQUA denominations, with the latter a dollar more expensive. I’m definitely a full-bodied coffee kind of person, but this only fared slightly as medium-bodied, not sufficient to quench a heavy craving, if any. But having out-of-the-norm coffee art is always a plus. They all come in double shots.
The Melbournites ($18+) :: I had sips of this seemingly innocuous but actually moderately potent cocktail. If you are an alcohol person (I am surely not!) and up for a
cure for continuation of hangover from the previous night, this (organic espresso + coffee absinthe + milk) beverage is quite a good excuse to wake you up in the morning.
Truffle Popcorn ($6+) :: All eyes were on this something something to share, or maybe not to share. It’s not hard to imagine; it’s straight-forward. Popcorn, and truffle oil. Any day, please!
Vegemite, Mate! ($4.90+) :: If there’s anything I liked about this dish, it’s the name of it. Vegemite is the unmistakable dark brown Australian food paste made from yeast extracts. There’s nothing to discuss here, it’s either you love it or you hate it. My first was submitted to Intrepid Gastro Bar, and I must say, I belong to the latter group.
French Toast ($13+) :: Having (nearly) bite-sized French Toast slices topped with almond, stewed apples and lychees, especially, is yet another first for me. The occasional bursts of lychee juices in your mouth complemented the caramel drizzled compressed soft toasts really well. It’s really those kind of lazy weekend comfort food you yearn for. It’s one I’d order again if I’m not looking for too hearty a brunch meal.
Dukkah Spiced Baked Beans ($16+) :: I think for anyone to order this Egyptian-inspired brunch item, you must be so damn in love with baked beans. I, for one, am no fan of that, at all. And this dish didn’t change the fact. Not only that, it was actually drenched in tomato and herbs ragu. I’m no tomato fan either. So really, it’s the case where I wouldn’t even have ordered this on my own accord to begin with. It is roofed with poached eggs and bits of roasted pork belly.
Benedict Twins ($16+) :: The performance of firing up the hollandaise sauce was already extremely droolworthy. Both the lead up and the taste of it were flawless for me. With a choice of prosciutto ham or house-smoked salmon, this twins of poached eggs actually sits on, no you’re wrong, it’s not your English muffin, nor is it your English toast, it’s actually potato rosti. I had it without looking at the description, and I was so pleased with the taste but displeased that there actually isn’t already more of this in cafes around. The hints of rosti flavors helped make the poached eggs more palatable. You can also get crunchy bites from the lightly charred edges of the rosti. One of the best, and unique Eggs Benedict I’ve had in a long long while.
Breakfast Pan ($19+) :: From a star dish to another, the Breakfast Pan is a rendition of what is commonly known as the English Breakfast. Two eggs, pork sausage, thick cut smoked bacon, spinach, tomato, toast and grilled mushroom. These are what you will get out of the pan. I especially love the thick cut smoked bacon. If you’ve been reading my brunch reviews, you’d know that I do not like the dry and crispy bacon, which is what is usually served here in Singapore. So this was a major plus point for me. If the French Toast is a must-order for a light brunch, this Breakfast Pan is a must-order for a hearty one.
Kangaroo Sliders ($18.50+) :: What’s an Australian-inspired establishment without kangaroo meat, right. I’ve had Kangaroo Steak before, and it’s somewhat decent and acceptable for me. However, I thought this course turned out to be very dry as a whole. Kangaroo meat isn’t the most moist, tender or succulent meat of all to begin with, and to match it with the rather dry (too) buns made it even less appealing.
Summer Beer Sangria (Carafe) ($35+) :: Great white beer, lychee and liquer. What, of course I’m only posting this because I love how the photo turned out. As we’ve discussed, I’m no alcoholic, I didn’t drink this. Don’t judge me, lol.
On every first Saturday of the month, Intrepid Gastro Bar holds a drawing class right at the door of the cafe. Oh yes, that model is a real person. She looks flawless I know.
I confess, I’m sold to this newfound brunch place. It’s a shame I haven’t been going around exploring brunch places lately, but off the top of my head, this probably ranks near the top, if not the best, brunch places 2013.
—> Note #1: GST is absorbed. Only 10% service charge applicable.
Special gratitude to Sok Yi, Ivy and the FoodNews team, and Rommel and Michelle and the Intrepid Gastro Bar team for the hospitality and hosting the media tasting session.
Address: 40 Pekin Street, #01-01, Far East Square
Telephone: 9068 8297 (Takes Reservations)
Opening Hours: 8am – 1opm (Mon – Fri); 10.30am – 5pm (Sat & Sun); Closed on PHs.