Alden Boon

Arteastiq Bistro & Bar: I Have Just Found My Go-to Brunch Spot

14/08/2018

Because of my innate impatience and inclination towards restlessness, I have never quite understood the allure of a laidback brunch session. There are also many identikit brunch spots in Singapore where the dining experiences fill you with utter regret: uninspired-looking toast barely browned paired with (somehow) waterlogged scrambled eggs. But I may just become a convert thanks to the bistro section of Arteastiq, the homophone riffing off the word “artistic”. At its Plaza Singapura outlet, gold plays off teal panels: Overhead a composite of gilded brass instruments hang; a panoply of aureate high-tea sets is carefully arrayed on a table.

I sank into the plush wingback chair, and by the end of the meal, rooted by comfort I could not will my body to move. My fellow diners and I had the good fortune of getting seats by the window — slanting sunlight streamed in, evoking a sense that we were enjoying a picnic minus the blistering heat. There was a feeling of escapism as we idly watched the world continue spinning.

Our hot brew was promptly served in a clear tea pot, imbued with peach resin collagen and wolfberries. Then came the first appetiser: Black Salad Rice Roll (S$13), served with a side of moreish shoyu dressing for anointment. Wrapped in the transparent skin were soft beads of black rice, Japanese cucumber and greens, with the sliced smoked salmon slipping in delightfully-salty punctuations every now and then. Titivated by honey mustard, the Spinach and Sweet Potato Salad (S$15) had us vying for many helpings. Studded with sweet-potato morsels and sunflower seeds, the spherical burrata, resembling an engorged poached egg and so hoodwinked us, was heavenly: creamy, delicate, rich — we left no spurt unturned.

Like clumsy babies who yet have mastery over forks and spoons, our lips and teeth were stained a creepy black courtesy of Waltz in the Waves – Squid Ink Spaghetti (S$16). Scallops were fresh and plump, pan-seared to a delectable crisp. Stippling the inky-black ribbons of al dente noodles with a bright orange colour were snowflakes of salted egg yolk. Another winning dish was the Hooked Moustache – Beef Stroganoff (S$22), whose thinly-sliced and wonderfully-charred chunks of meat were incredibly tender. The fettucine was soused in a shallow pool of mild cream gravy.

Arteastiq Plaza Singapura Mandarin Gallery Brunch Singapore
Arteastiq Plaza Singapura Mandarin Gallery Brunch Singapore
Arteastiq Plaza Singapura Mandarin Gallery Brunch Singapore
Arteastiq Plaza Singapura Mandarin Gallery Brunch Singapore
Arteastiq Plaza Singapura Mandarin Gallery Brunch Singapore
Arteastiq Plaza Singapura Mandarin Gallery Brunch Singapore

Arteastiq has recently unveiled a new menu with a touch of Asian flair, which impelled us to visit. The menu mainstays however are only available at the Mandarin Gallery outlet; so satisfying was our meal at the Plaza Singapura outlet that we decided it was worth a detour for dinner.

There was Myth of the Sea – Sambal Sea Bass and Dry Laksa (S$25), whose spicy notes waltzed from bright and sour to dark and rich. The laksa mimicked the soupy counterpart in flavour, the vermicelli coated with an enticing, sunset-coloured sauce. Presented in the style of sambal stingray, the huge slab of oven-baked sea bass was sprawled on a banana leaf. The Raft from Nanyang – Chilli Egg Prawn Fettuccine (S$20) was a palimpsest of the famous chilli crab, the tomato-chilli sauce boasting an interplay of sweet and savoury thanks to the medley of garlic, onions, ginger, lemongrass and dried shrimps. Soak up the sauce with the accompanying mantou buns.

I also had the Boston Love Boat Cioppino (S$28). The ramekin was roofed by a flaky pastry, and with the same cunning of a wolf, I tore into it without compunction, not minding what my diners thought of my etiquette, or lack thereof. The torn-off pieces fell like autumn leaves into the tangy sauce, where generous treasures of the sea — huge prawns; octopus; salmon; and scallop — swam. We capped off the brunch session with Finger Dance – Thai Milk Tea Lava Cake (S$12), served with a scoop of vanilla gelato. The warm cake of a deep-orange colour was moist, and when pricked there issued a gooey gush of sweet, earthy lava.

Arteastiq Plaza Singapura Mandarin Gallery Brunch Singapore
Arteastiq Plaza Singapura Mandarin Gallery Brunch Singapore
Arteastiq Plaza Singapura Mandarin Gallery Brunch Singapore
Arteastiq Plaza Singapura Mandarin Gallery Brunch Singapore
Arteastiq Plaza Singapura Mandarin Gallery Brunch Singapore
Arteastiq Plaza Singapura Mandarin Gallery Brunch Singapore
Arteastiq Plaza Singapura Mandarin Gallery Brunch Singapore
Arteastiq Plaza Singapura Mandarin Gallery Brunch Singapore

On a late Friday afternoon, the Mandarin Gallery outlet was filled with the sound of roaring laughter. I looked around and wondered if the rambunctious lot was of a similar ilk, not the rich who fancy the finer things in life, but freelancers or entrepreneurs who get to enjoy flexible schedules. I guess reading is out of the equation at this haunt, so gather your pals and come here to enjoy a lovely brunch, good tea and conversations.

Arteastiq Bistro & Bar

Mandarin Gallery, #04-14/15 333A Orchard Road, Singapore 238897
Weekdays, 11am – 10pm
Weekends, 10am – 10pm

Plaza Singapura, 68 Orchard Rd #03-70/72, Singapore 238839
Daily, 11am – 10pm

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alden Boon
Alden Boon is a Quarter-finalist in PAGE International Screenwriting Awards. When he's not busy writing, he pretends he is Gandalf.

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