Made it for the Boneka Sunday Brunch in St Regis on my 2nd try – they were fully booked when we tried to get seats only after arriving in Bali during my previous trip. This time round I made bookings online 1 week in advance. For a sunday buffet brunch, I was slightly surprised at the length the restaurant goes through to ensure that people reconfirm their bookings and to impose a 50% cancellation within 2 days prior event date (100% within 1 day or no show).
The Brunch Package is inclusive of complimentary aperitif selection at King Cole Bar from 11:00am to 12:00pm. The brunch in the restaurant includes normal beverages but not alcoholic ones. The cost of top-up for free-flow alcoholic beverage package is equivalent to the price of the brunch itself and doesn’t include champagne (only red/white/cocktails). To have champagne included, you’ll need to pay an extra-extra for the premium beverage package.
We arrived slightly early at St Regis and wandered around to explore the private beach area before waiting at the main lobby for entry to King Cole Bar. Queue outside the bar started to form 5 mins before its opening, something that surprised me, as I thought usually the foreigners seldom practice Kiasu-ism?
Entered the bar area as the 3rd group of guest and was shown to a table right next to the glass sliding door that opens out to the outdoor balcony area. What happened next was an utter disgrace to St Regis way of treating non-ang moh (non-European/American) looking guests and diners not visiting with any Western looking guests in the party….We saw the servers started bringing out the drinks to the other tables filled with foreigners and simply chose to ignore us and another Japanese couple (both of us seated right next to the sliding door that the servers constantly passes through). Despite trying to establish eye-contact with the servers, most of them acted busy and brought drinks to the foreigners first. Even those who came later than us got served automatically…We didn’t want to raise our arms to get the attention of the servers, we decided to wait and see how long does it take before we get served. Only after most of the guests in the whole hall were attended to, then someone came to offer us a limited selection of drinks – whatever is left on the tray…
We then asked for their signature Bloody Mary and a passsion-fruit cocktail for first round. Based on time of photo taken, we finally got our drinks at 11.25am. That is a 25 mins of sitting at the table and being ignored. What a great way to start my brunch…While it could have been a nice experience and ambience with the live piano performance and singing at the bar, the unpleasant service experience left a bad aftertaste…made worse by rowdy guests who were gulping down the bloody mary like shooters…
The Bloody Mary certainly packs a punch with its spicy peppery taste, unfortunately the alcohol couldn’t douse the anger burning in my heart. Again while the others had no problems getting automatic replacement of drinks for their subsequent rounds, we only got our drinks after guests left to head over to the dining hall… The warm and friendly staff had approached the foreigners group table-by-table informing them that the brunch service had started and again conveniently skipped us. I think they assumed that we could take the cue from the other groups and doesn’t render the need to inform us personally…By the time we got our 2nd round of drinks, it was 12.10pm (the complimentary aperitif ends at 12 and the reason why we still managed to get our drinks was because we placed the order before 12). The strawberry and lime cocktails were pretty ordinary compared to the first 2 drinks. Finished the drinks and headed over to the buffet hall at 12.30pm.
Thankfully, the service staff at the dining hall were professional enough to treat guests with due respect and served with great hospitality and diligence. None of the snobbish and discriminating attitudes that we suffered at the bar was found at the food hall. The dining hall was spacious and well-lit with the natural daylight flowing through the clear glass panels encasing the restaurant. There was live jazz performance at one corner of the hall.
However we were somewhat disappointed with the variety of food available. I guessed it was our own fault for not doing enough research on the spread of items at the brunch. We were used to the spread of cold seafood such as sashimis, poached prawns, mussels, clams, oysters etc. typically found in the usual brunch buffets in Singapore and we went to Boneka with similar expectations (afterall its St Regis). I was a bit surprised to know that they only have 1 kind of fresh oyster and 1 salmon sashimi available. There were no other cold seafood dish available. The other stations were the usual suspects: bread and cheese station, salad and appetizer station, grill (skewers) station, dessert station and cooked dish station.
Other than the buffet spread, there is also a list of ala carte dishes that one can order with the staff directly. From the Egg Variations there are at least 8 dishes to choose from including the River lobster egg omelette, Egg nouvelle, Steak and egg, Foie gras and egg etc. Unfortunately, I’m the kind who would feel full easily from eating the eggy dishes. No more than 2 eggs for me for each meal… From the Chef’s Creation, 7 dishes available including French toast, Pancakes, Waffles, Nasi Goreng, Mie Goreng etc. Basically the dishes that are potentially extremely filling…
Staff would also come by to present and introduce hot dishes freshly cooked at the live sstation, they would serve them immediately if we would like to try them. We had the Chicken Ball Noodle Soup which tasted fantastic and turned away dishes such as nasi goreng, mie goreng…Also ordered an Indonesian Tahu Goreng style dish (a bit like rojak) which was pretty good as well.
There was an impressive variety of beverage options available: freshly squeezed fruit drinks, juices, smoothies, fruits and yoghurt creations. We tried the St Regis ice tea and Boneka ice tea (the one with lychee in pix above).
We were very full by the end of the brunch but didn’t felt satisfied. As mentioned earlier the main reason was a mismatch in expectations in terms of variety of food. I don’t think it is worthy of its high-end price in terms of food, made worse by the bad service experience at the bar…
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