Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Bugis Street Brasserie review at Millennium Gloucester Hotel - a taste of Singapore in London

Bugis+Street+Brassierie+review+London+Millennium+Gloucester+HotelSome time back, someone left a comment on London Chow suggesting that Millennium Gloucester Hotel's Bugis Street Brasserie serves the best Singaporean food outside Singapore. According to him, those the people who first made that comment are Singapore Airlines cabin crew. For the uninitiated, Singapore Airline operates frequent flights into Heathrow and put up their crew at two main hotels - Gloucester Hotel and Corpthorn Hotel, both in the vicinity of Kensington.

I was told that the the air stewardess would make a beeline for Harrods the moment they reached their respective hotels and looking for Singaporean food would be the last thing on their mind so I would take their recommendation with a pinch of salt. Then again, after visitng the many cities that Singapore Airline covers, they might just be right. It looked like I had to find out for myself whether their claims were true.

A pal of mine flew into London and we took the opportunity to head towards Bugis Street Brasserie for lunch on Sunday. Business was rather brisk at the brasserie when we arrived with a noticeably Singaporean clientele. With old styled copper coloured fans twirling above, faux marble topped table and checkered tile floor, the
brasserie does have some old world charm.


On our way to our table, we passed by their buffet table, which is available only on Sundays. At just under £9 per head, the variety is nothing to be compared to the Mr. Wu's buffet facing Shaftesbury Avenue not to mention that it was rather messily presented. But it seemed that most customers were there for the buffet.

Rather disappointed with the fact that the menu did not offer any teh tarik, we had to contend with Soya Milk (£1.95), Chin Chow - grass jelly drink (£1.95), English tea (£1.65) and Apple juice (£1.80). It was quite evident that without we were quite lost without teh tarik.

For the sake of variety, our band of four ordered a Diced Roast Duck to share followed by Laksa (£7.5), Singapore Mee Po (£7.50), Prawn noodle soup (£7.50) and Hainanese Chicken Rice (£8.75). So far so good, or so we thought.

Bugis+Stree+BrasserieTen minutes later, a rather pleasant member of the staff came up and informed us that they ran out of roast duck. Fine, we thought nothing of it and replaced the order with Salt and Pepper Prawns. After 20 minutes, the laksa, mee po and chicken rice arrived but the prawn noodles was nowhere in sight. Another staff came up and told us that they have ran out of that and shoved the menu under our nose. Another laksa to replace that prawn noodles. The replacement dish arrived a couple of minutes later. No issue with that as it doesn't really take long to prepare laksa provided that the gravy was preprepared.

Halfway through my chicken rice, yet another staff came up to me and whispered conspiratorially into my ear.

"Erm, we gave you the wrong type of rice for your chicken rice." and he proceeded to remove my half eaten dish before I could respond. After the time spent in London, I guess my standards have dropped quite a bit. Not that I didn't notice that the chicken was served with plain white rice (instead of fragrant rice) but I actually thought that it was meant to be.


One would have thought that I would be presented with a fresh dish but when the chicken rice was returned to the table moments later, much to my dismay, the staff merely scrapped off the white rice and replaced it with fragrant rice. I wouldn't bat an eyelid if I were in a Singapore hawker centre paying S$3 (£1.26) for a plate of chicken rice but that sure didn't left me with a good impression.

Bugis+Stree+BrasserieThen again, to give Bugis Street Brasserie some credit, the chicken rice was one of the better ones that I tasted in London. Neither too oily nor dry, it went well with a douse of dark soy sauce. It was also the first time in London where I had grated ginger served with grinded chilli, just like the way we had it back home. Though the chicken was a bit tough, I like to think that it was due to the low fat content.

Likewise, my lunch mates have no issues with the laksa and mee po. The laksa gravy was creamy and packed a strong flavour, in fact, it tasted very much like the Prima Taste, which had since became the benchmark. The serving was sizable with fishcake slices and fresh prawns.

The mee po likewise was came in a large portion. My pal loved the tanginess of the flat noodles and claimed that the sauce it came with was 'just like how they had it back home'. Even the soup was MSG laden - just like those back home.

Bugis+Stree+BrasserieThe salt and pepper prawns (five of them in all) were a delight. Though it didn't turn out to be crispy but it was fried in fresh oil and came out really fresh.

If you feel like having a taste of home, you should probably head towards Bugis Street Brasserie. But beware, for the service can be pretty abrupt and lacklustre. To give the air stewardess some credit, it does taste pretty much like what you could get on the streets of Singapore.

Better still, grab along a Singapore Airline cabin crew along with you for the meal and you'll get 30% off the bill.

Address: Millennium Gloucester Hotel, 4 -18 Harrington Gardens, London, SW7 4LH
Tel: 020 7331 6211
Nearest Tube station: Gloucester Road

Ratings (out of 5 *)
Price: below £15 pp
Service charge: N/A

Taste: ****
Service: **
Ambience: ***
Suitable for: Singaporeans looking for a taste of home

Bugis Street Brasserie on Urbanspoon

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