In my opinion, the most elusive table isn't at Valentino or even Buko Nero. It's at Wild Honey, a cafe in Mandarin Gallery that serves breakfast/brunch food all day long. They don't accept reservations, so unless you're willing to get there at 8 am, or spend about an hour just waiting, it's well nigh impossible to get a table on a weekend or public holiday.
Our first attempt was on Hari Raya Puasa. We got there before 10, expecting not many people being up and about at that time. We were sorely mistaken. We were told by the door b*tch that the wait was an hour.
We then decided that the only option was to go on a weekday, so off we went on Friday when I had a day off. Expecting it to be fairly empty, I was still surprised to see that there was a "short" 15 minute queue for a table. It's only because we agreed to a counter seat that we managed to get in without waiting.
There are no menus at the tables, only a big chalkboard next to the cashier where you order and pay; at least they do bring your food to your table. I ordered the European, their signature take on an eggs benedict, and A had the I Love NY, since it had scrambled eggs and smoked fish.
The eggs ben comes on thick slices of brioche, and instead of cooked ham, there's proscuitto and sauteed mushrooms. The eggs were perfectly poached, and the hollandaise sauce wasn't excessively rich, but the thickness of the brioche meant that the carb to protein ratio was bit disproportionate.
A's was right up his alley though, and I must say overall it was the better of the two. The smoked sturgeon was stirred into the scrambled eggs so it flavoured the eggs with a wonderful savoury smokiness. It came with a sesame seed bagel and a chive sour cream, and a couple of cherry tomatoes on the vine.
We also ordered a side order of bacon, and I must say that this was ridiculously good value. $5 for a veritable pile of bacon! Raw bacon from supermarket delis costs more than that!
The cappuccino comes dusted with a little cocoa heart, which I thought was a cute touch, and the flat white here is stronger than most.
The food here is good, but the queues really are prohibitive. They're opening a second outlet at the soon to be re-opened Scotts Square at the end of the year, so hopefully that'll alleviate the demand somewhat. Until then, I think it's strictly a weekday-off place.
The food and service are great, but it’s not cheap and the wait for a seat is usually horrible. Pros and cons. Weigh them out for yourself.
#03-02 Mandarin Gallery
Mon to Fri: 9 am to 10.30 pm
Sat and Sun: 8 am to 10.30 pm