La dolce vita – the sweet life – is exactly what you want to celebrate over the weekends, which for many are the oases of calm in between restive work weeks. And there’s no better way to kickstart and fuel up those days with an idyllic brunch spent with loved ones, trusty confidantes or your regular brunch brigade.
An issue of late, though, is that the burgeoning trend has caught on too well. The brunch-going crowd swells, and with it its attendant eateries, but the latter often fail to keep up in capacity and service standards, resulting in madhouse scenarios that edge too close to the very rush we were trying to escape in the first place.
Thankfully, some outliers exist, and rising above them all is an establishment that crowns Tower 1 of the Marina Bay Sands hotel. LAVO – known to many already as a choice dinner and nightlife destination – is now serving up hearty brunches that draws from the best of both Italian and American cuisine, and boy do their dishes delight, the service satisfy and the premises pamper.
To the skies
The afternoon’s journey begins with a therapeutic 57-storey elevator ride; it almost feels like the hubbub of the city dropping away beneath your feet. Step out of the lift doors and you’re greeted by the lush and inviting LAVO courtyard – the first of many gestures that’ll put you right at home for the next few hours.
The transporting experience continues as maitre’d guides you past a luxuriant coffee lounge in the form of a charming hallway, framed by brick walls and archways, and lined with plush chaise longues you’re welcome to rest at later. Then the upbeat jazz proliferating the massive main dining space reaches your ears, right as the sweeping spectacle of the entire Singapore skyline creeps into view.
Whether you’ve asked after the window seats for their Instastory-guaranteed placement, are plopped into the comfortable upholstery of its bistro-style booths, or even opted for the solo brunch by the bar, you’ll begin to soak up the jovial atmosphere… before a mite of food has even crossed your lips.
A flying start
The effervescent staff are all too happy to guide you through LAVO’s extensive a la carte options. On both weekends and weekdays you’re free to mix and match between the brunch and regular lunch options – but the brunch menu was specially curated to mirror what we have all come to expect about the emerging fare: comforting, unpretentious dishes that are universally loved.
Starters first. Quintessential to the LAVO experience, we’re told, is one-pound The Meatball. This unabashed monstrosity will cement itself as the definitive meatball on the island – coming in larger than a swollen grapefruit, the oven-baked mass of Imperial wagyu, sausage and veal, when dug into, almost wobbles on the spoon, so tender it is.
A restaurant’s octopus dish is also a great way of assessing how adroit it is with seafood, and LAVO delivers with its Charred Octopus. A single arm is marinated with citrus and accordingly seared till its outermost bits bring crunch and piquant bitterness into an otherwise al dente mouthful.
We spied, too, universal favourites like avocado toast and other antipasti such as burrata and cold cuts with fresh fig, but had to move on to the main agenda: the Brunch items.
You can’t do authentic Italian without pizza, and LAVO’s brick oven spits these out with a delightfully crunchy crust with fluffy innards. We opted for the Breakfast Pizza, intrigued by the aesthetic of the three sunny-side-up eggs distributed over the length of the paddle-shaped dish. That’s three opportunities to capture the parting of the wobbly yolk as its gooey contents coat the salami and cheese.
Served piping hot thanks to well-paced service and already hand-cut into portions you can lift right off the serving board, this classic will either invoke memories of Italy for those who have been there – and set a gold pizza standard for all those who haven’t.
You could go cross-Atlantic again with the Chicken N’ Waffles. Lean slices of chicken are festooned in a golden-browned batter that’s a joy to sink your teeth into. Of course, pair this with the crisp, fragrant waffle and ply it with provided maple syrup – just the way the Americans intended it to be. Word of advice: match the waffle:chicken ratio according to preference, as they’re rather generous with the pastry.
Basking in the afterglow
The great part about enjoying a gratifying brunch experience here is that you can seamlessly transition from mealtime to catchup drinks on a whim. Barring inclement weather, the perimeter alfresco seating affords an unparalleled view of the island or sea, and the perfect vantage point to nurse some seriously good drinks.
A quick glance through the wine and alcohol list reveals impressive variety and provenance; Pauillac de Latours, storied Amarones (of course), Armand de Brignac’s Ace of Spades, the increasingly elusive Yamazaki 18 and the like. There’s room for exploration, too – the list spans Argentinia to New Zealand. You could, too, double down on savouring that summer with pear cider and cocktails.
If you’re keen to feel like spending that afternoon feeling like you’re at the top of the world, it’s time to consider brunch at LAVO, the ultimate vibe-dining experience with a spectacular view.
LAVO Italian Restaurant & Rooftop Bar
Marina Bay Sands, Hotel Tower 1, Level 57
10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018956
Tel: +65 6688-8591.
Operating hours: Daily: 10.30am – 2am. Brunch: 10.30am – 3.30pm. Dinner: 5pm – 12am.