Swensen’s, ION Orchard

There’s a load of crap in this, but there are some very bright jewels in here.

So bright, you can count on me returning very soon. That’s right, family restaurant chain Swensen’s decided it’s about ripe to revamp its breakfast menu. Not that the previous one wasn’t good – I’ve heard a lot of rave reviews about Swensen’s breakfast menu, and after all, how many families can afford Wild Honey, Hatched or Food For Thought for a party of six? You’d think it’d be very expensive, and you’d be right, so while not as good, Swensen’s strikes a fine balance between a satisfying breakfast and one that’s affordable. This iteration however, most noticeably eschews the tomatoes and savory pancakes for a decidedly sweet palette. It also feels more streamlined, almost to a fault, really. Overall, the menu’s reflective of the current trends. Even the favorite quintessential smoked salmon egg benedict even makes a cameo here…which undoubtedly draws comparisons, and unfortunately for Swensen’s, the associations aren’t all optimistic. In spite of that, shockingly amongst the pedestrian display are pockets of genius which in my opinion, will be sadly underrated even by the chain themselves simply because they don’t realize that they’ve got somethin’ amazing.

The decision to use what Swensen’s refers to as Japanese Bread jazzes up an otherwise everyday ham and egg sandwich. The brioche (I’m just calling it as it tastes) is fluffy and silky, and is ever so slightly sweetened which builds up a savory-sweet character.

I can’t remember if the elusive Japanese Bread was used here, but the bread was toasted till total crispiness, which in my opinion, wasn’t very appropriate considering the intense flavor of the Hollandaise sauce atop a poached egg (which wasn’t done well either). Had they gone the “Wild Honey” route, and kept the bread just slightly toasted – enough to not act as a total sponge, it’d be perfect.

Things always get worse before they get better, and the Steak & Eggs is as far into the bedrock as you can go, and by bedrock, I mean the worst thing in the menu in my opinion. The component that makes or breaks the dish is, of course, the steak, and this was quite possibly the worst steak I’ve had in recent memory, and I just had a hawker centre’s western food stall “steak” yesterday evening and even that wasn’t as bad as this. Despite receiving a new medium steak, the fillet was still dry and lifeless which could only mean either of two things – it’s either the wrong cut, or the meat had been frozen prior.

The ship takes a beating and some damage, but fortunately, there are a few things worth saving. Firstly, the pancakes. I can safely say that the pancakes, infused with the in-house made honey butter, knocks the likes of Strictly Pancakes off the court. It tasted really good.

Perhaps the highlight of the entire menu is something that’s surprisingly unassuming. The honey butter bun, served warm with a gushing melted honeyed buttery gold was absolutely mind-blowing. It’s one of those things that you’ll just want to not share, and just have them all to yourself – it’s exquisite and simply mouth-watering.

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