Did a staycation over the weekend at the Swissotel Merchant Court, for a change, since the last few times we went to Swissotel the Stamford as well as Fairmont. I think I was grousing a little too much, so sorry about it. These days, I seem to be feeling easily irritable and annoyed; maybe not just “these days” but it has been like this for a while and it can get really tough keeping a lot of such emotions in check.
Nevertheless, moving on along… We didn’t go to the Ellenborough Market Cafe, which is what Merchant Court Hotel is well-known for. I can’t remember what it is about the cafe that draws the crowds, my friend said they have a pretty good Peranakan buffet spread for high-tea, but even at dinner times, they are rather full.
On this particular staycation, we hit the right notes most of the times with the food choices we picked. One of them was the last, which happened to be Sunday brunch. I was actually rather keen on having a buffet breakfast at the hotel especially since I am an early riser and would have liked to have breakfast early before the crowds start thronging the place but since it’s Sunday, it is supposed to be a sleep-in day. So we made it out for lunch on this warm and very sunny late morning, to Robertson Walk nearby. It is about a kilometre walk away from Merchant Court, very manageable but probably not so for people who can’t take the heat and humidity of walking under the sun.
Pies & Coffee was where we were headed for, and was the last thing I remembered talking about before I dozed off the night before. They have expanded since the first time I came across this place at Rochester area, and also I almost popped in at the outlet located at Centrepoint recently but eventually I gave it a pass, for something else.
My friend ordered the Sun Riser, which is a pair of pie bases, or probably they look more like tart bases as compared to pie bases that I would expect to be more flaky. These contained an egg each with a runny yolk, and beneath that, there are other ingredients like ham and sausages I think. I thought the presentation was really cute, and my first impression was that it’s a bear-face. Until I realise it’s all four corners that are nipped and not just two. Haha. My friend finished them in a jiffy, which would probably suggest its yumminess.
The Sun Riser, if ordered as part of the breakfast set, comes with either a glass of cloudy apple or orange juice, and topping up a dollar gets you an additional cup of coffee or tea. I opted for safer choices, i.e. pies, since this is what the place is known for, by its name I thought and because the other breakfast items didn’t particularly appeal to me since I am not a big fan of scrambled eggs or sausages, etc. Between the Curry Chicken Charcoal Pie and the pie of the month, i.e. the Minced Chicken Basil Pie, I chose the latter, thinking of how they would take on the popular Thai dish, basil chicken. All savoury pies are served with a portion of salad and mashed potatoes. The pie is fairly substantial, for me at least, but it’s not overwhelmingly huge that would leave you totally stuffed. I liked the minced chicken which did resemble Thai Chicken Basil but it could have been better with a more distinctive basil flavour as I didn’t really notice the basil notes in the taste. What I liked though is that the pie skin was not thick, so it’s really more about the filling than the crust and base, which also wasn’t too dry/flaky or oily. The mashed potato was also quite nicely-done, with palpable potato chunks that my friend commented suggested it’s made from real potatoes instead of powdered mash. So it’s quality food that we are paying for, at S$11.20 per pie with the sides. Along with the pie, a long black goes well to complement the taste, and it’s a good strong cup of brew that is served with a small piece of biscotti.
There are about 10 or more different flavours of pies available, and in addition there is a breakfast menu to choose from. On top of that, there is a full display case of cakes, muffins and scones that had us totally spoilt for choice. I already know that I would be heading back again, and in the next visit, I would order something sweet instead, because the loaf cakes are just screaming at my sweet tooth.