Brunch at Audace: Courage Under fire
This is me, creeping up behind you while you’re tucking yourself into bed on a weekday night. Contemplating weekend brunch? This is me, whispering in your ear as you dream about conversations over eggs benedict. (You can do better). This is me, asking you to venture out to Little India and partake in Sunday frivolities. This is me, encouraging you to take a chance on a lesser known establishment, albeit helmed by a Michelin Starred chef.
Audace, short for audacity opened with a show of dauntlessness in May under the winning guidance of Unlisted Collection. It’s unique selling point—French casual dining spruced up with Alpine herbs and spices. Feeling like you need a certain je ne sais quoi in your Sunday ritual? Listen, we’re approaching the end of the year, and there is no time for mediocre brunches. We’re here to slather extra gravy on your pudding and brag about it. Here’s me not mincing my words, Audace’s new Sunday brunch is only for the adventurous diners, if you’re fervid fan of avocado on toast or the full English, please do not sign up here.
Little India is a relatively unexplored zone where restaurant establishments (apart from the spirited Indian briyani or banana leaf varietal) are concerned. Most certainly, this is not where you would expect to find Singapore’s most intriguing Sunday brunch, but suddenly this spicy assault on your senses is followed by a delicious bearing of Asian inspired beef tartare, and orange-lit pumpkin soup with crunchy croutons afloat. Audace ticks all the boxes where innovation is concerned, its cuisine not regimental or self-limiting to any cultural persuasion. One moment you’ll be seeking pleasure in the Duck Terrine and Pickles, the next, you’ll be finding sweet relief in the lemon cream tartlettes; all a showcase of Chef Jérémy Gillon’s fascination with Singapore’s multicultural facade.
Come weekends, the kitchen does a brunch menu in the same tasting concept fashion. 16 courses, for just $68++. This is not your average, burger and lobster complimented with Perrier-Jouët affair, thanks to the man in the kitchen Chef Jérémy Gillon who has previously worked the kitchens of coveted French establishments like Alexandre in Garons and Le Chabichou in Courchevel. Instead, what you get on a brilliant Sunday afternoon is a dashing spread of starters, carved roasts and delectable desserts.
I appreciate the pumpkin soup deeply. It’s deep tones and aromatic approach, appeals with the definite exception, apparently, of its innate ability to fill you up before the main elements arrive at the table. “Sorry, I just can’t resist”, I beckoned before proceeding to swoop in on my remaining spoonfuls delving at the bottom of the vessel. The kitchen plays it safe with the focaccia with cooked ham and mascarpone and black pepper; don’t get me wrong, the bread is a thing of beauty here and the complimentary slice benefits from prettily slathered on butter. Just make sure to pace yourself. Of course, the blushing beauty Salmon Gravlax Beetroot deserves repeat visits and so does the Duck Terrine—its aggressively gamey nature offset by the accompanying pickles.
Pleasures continue into the mains, the French Duck Breast was enjoyed more by me than anybody else at the table: as pink, rich and smooth as a blushing bride, with a slight hawkish suggestion of gaminess. It’s gently perched over roasted root vegetables, rutabaga swede to be exact, a hybrid of a cabbage and a turnip. The Pearl Grouper is deserving of being enjoyed solo, but when mopped up in a mad medley of orange paste and broccoli puree, reaches a divine status. The pleasures lie largely in the contrast between turgid plump fish and the silky smooth puree that rides on waves of somewhat unpleasurable childhood nostalgia. Welcome to adulthood, where we now revel in broccoli. The Grilled White Tuna does not bring much to the party with its dried and overcooked personality (second opinions from fellow diners confirmed my suspicions) but between spoonfuls of the creamy polenta, I was appeased.
From the dessert end of the spectrum, there’s chocolate chip cookies and the meal concludes with a controlled blaze. Of course, Audace pulls out all the stops with its sweet finales. The same big, rich flavours with French influences are evident in the Lemon Cream Tartlette and Speculoos Macarons. Indeed, it’s hard to believe my ability to stomach the next dessert, exquisitely rich yet delicately balanced—the Dark Chocolate Mousse spends some time imploding lovingly on the palate. Arriving at the same time, the tangy offering of Pomelo, Black Pepper and Honey with meringue sheets draped delicately over the top is pretty as a picture, but infinitely nicer to eat. An order of velvety espresso brings brownie points to the party, I assure you.
At this point, you would have worked your way through an absurd amount of plates. If sparkly was on your agenda as well, I wish you all the best. But as you roll out, still dreaming of that warm cookie, devoid of its milk companion, you spy on a rather lovely fresh plate of beef tartare being carried to the next table. Damn. Freshly printed weekly menus? Now, that’s a perfect excuse to return for second helpings. Ring ahead next time, we suspect that Audace’s Sunday brunch will be swimmingly well received in the new year.
2 Dickson Road, Wanderlust Hotel, Singapore 209494, tel: +65 6298 1188