I was so excited to hear about the opening of Summerlong at Robertson Quay. Not only is it in my ‘hood, it also ticked my boxes for that laid back, tropical style venue, serving food that isn’t just more of the same bland brunch options, AND the management have a proven track record of opening good venues. Tick, tick, tick, cue anticipation building. I finally managed to book us a table on the weekend my Sydney bestie was in town. Happy days.
The first thing to note is that I will be heading back to Summerlong, the food was great, coffee excellent and the venue is fabulous. I guess you know what’s coming though don’t you? I’ll just get it over with. Please do read on because it truly isn’t all bad, in fact much of it is wonderful. The service though, was terrible. There was a lot of comedy in it, granted, but I expect more from a group that already runs two other great venues.
Everything started off well enough, although I was suspicious when I noticed that the ratio of wait staff to patrons was about one per customer. In all my years of eating out in Singapore one thing that I often notice is that the best service often comes from the least staff. You might be inclined to think the reverse is true, but good customer service is not achieved with 20 staff members jostling for jobs to do. More on this later.
I mentioned the setting before and I have to say again just how good I think it is. Whilst the space looks beautiful, it’s also super comfortable, and tables aren’t ridiculously close together. The beach club vibe is spot on and in perfect keeping with the space by the river. Summerlong describes itself as having a ‘Beachside Vibe’ with ‘Mediterranean Soul’. Which is a fairly good description. Note that brunch is only offered on weekends and they do not open until 11.30am. This makes it more of an adult friendly brunch venue, as opposed to child friendly. They’re also open for dinner Tuesday to Sunday.
The brunch menu has a good variety of choices. They include a meze buffet option where you can enjoy a selection of any two choices for $15++ or three for $19++. The a la carte options include light starters such as labneh (creamy cheese) with dukkah and bread or granola with buckwheat, yoghurt, poached pear and nuts. The heartier options include pancakes, fried eggs and a lamb burger.
My choice of the Turkish breakfast ($32++) worked beautifully for me. I added a side of eggs ($7++), because brunch isn’t brunch for me without eggs. The portion size was good, I shared my sausages with Husband and skipped on the tangerines but otherwise ate the entire meal. Highlights were the olives, seriously good olives, mushrooms sautéed simply with just enough herbs and oil, labneh with dukkah and the beans. The sourdough was also perfectly toasted and light.
Husband went for fried chicken ($25++), he always finds it hard to resist chook on the menu. Whilst he enjoyed it I think he wished he’d gone for a more breakfasty option (like I said about the eggs 😉 ) He was however, very happy with his order of fries, these crispy treats arrived before our mains and we devoured the salty, paprika-ey covered morsels with delight.
B went for the sous vide eggs with smoked salmon, capers and shallots on rye ($20++). This was a nice and light option, and perfect for a soft egg lover.
Room for Improvement
Now, to the coffee saga. First of all, the coffee was great. I noticed the baristas were wearing Sarnies t-shirts so I would assume they’ve been trained properly on all things coffee. Which showed in my lovely flat white. When it came to ordering coffee this is where things kind of unravelled. For our first coffee order that included a long black, my friend asked for milk. He was offered soy or almond milk. He said he just wanted ‘normal’ milk, like, ‘from a cow’. The wait person actually had to run off and check there was milk.
The discussion around this was repeated on the next coffee order much to our hilarity. We also shared it with one of the other, more competent waiters who empathised with our plight. It’s important to note that there were a couple of seasoned and competent waiters. Unfortunately their interaction with us was minimal, they were too busy trying to herd the fledgling waiters into action. Another irritating point of the service was that as soon as any item of cutlery or crockery hit the table, someone would swoop in and pick it up. That doesn’t make for a particularly relaxing brunch. As my friend B suggested to one of the guys in charge when we left, “I suggest you tell your staff to stop and count to 10 before they move in to collect a customers plates.”
Like I said, I’ll be back, but I hope the service improves so this venue can fulfil its potential.
60 Robertson Quay
Open Tuesday to Friday 5pm to midnight
Open Saturday and Sunday 11.30am to 3pm and 6pm to midnight