Monday, September 29, 2008

Cassis - Sunday Brunch

UPDATE: This restaurant is now CLOSED.

Sunday brunches often give you the opportunity to dine at your favourite top restaurants at a very reduced price. Or even better, you get the opportunity to test expensive restaurants without having to stretch your budget. While buffet-style-hotel Sunday brunches are very common, set menu Sunday brunches are not as popular. Buffet-style brunches will often give you good value for money, especially if you are on an empty stomach, but good set-menu brunches have a better opportunity to deliver the same sort of quality you can experience on a full-priced dinner at the same venue.

Cassis is located at Rochester park on the upper side of the hill within a black&white colonial house. The spacious and busy kitchen is open and visible from the outside, exposing the high level of hygiene maintained within.

I had dinner at Cassis once, and it was an amazing experience. Their lunch deal is actually available also on weekdays. They have two options: one including dessert and priced at $40++, and the other one only including starter and main for $35++. Drinks are not included.

As at their dinner course, we were first served a loaf of warm bread with garlic and herbs flavoured butter on the side. You can ask for more bread at no extra charge.

For starters, I ordered a tuna carpaccio topped with fresh tomatoes and vinaigrette. Although beautifully presented, I was quite disappointed by this dish. The seasoning was excessively sour, which made it rather unpleasant to the taste. I am still not sure if it was meant to be that way or they just got it wrong, but a more gentle seasoning would have made this dish a success.

The smoked salmon was as good as the one I had at their dinner set menu, only presented differently. Same quality of salmon and thick, creamy sauce, topped with extra leaves of baby spinach.

The rib eye steak, garnished with roast potatoes and caramelised onions, was as good as it can be. Well cooked, tender and moist, topped by real gravy. Unfortunately this particular selection required an extra $8 dollars on top of the standard price, but it was well worth it.

The red snapper was just as nice. Juicy white meat topped by its exceptionally crispy skin, suspended on a bed of assorted vegetables. The sauce was delicate but tasty, and wisely laid below the fish, giving you the option to combine it with the meat.

The nougat ice cream was beautifully served in a well sized portion. Its nutty and creamy texture was interleaved with extra-thin layers of dark chocolate.

These fabulous chocolate profiteroles were served split into two, filled with vanilla ice cream, covered in chocolate sauce and topped with almond flakes. Rich but refreshing.

The mini-desserts pictured above were served with compliments of the chef, which I thought was nice.

Overall, the bill came up to $143.60 for 2 people, including water and an extra tea. The otherwise pleasant experience was slightly ruined by the fact that we were charged $27.00 for mineral water ($9 x 3 bottles) unknowingly. Apparently, they kept opening new (small) bottles behind the scenes without informing us, while we thought we were only having one bottle. The bottle is not displayed, so it's hard to track when a new bottle is being opened.

Water incident aside, I still believe that the Cassis business lunch menu is an excellent opportunity to have some well served great food in a relaxing environment at a fairly reasonable price.

This is their website for more information:

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