Marco Pierre White is a name associated with many power house chefs in the world, many of whom had been under his tutelage. The most famous of them all is probably Gordon Ramsay.
Naturally, I was stoked when I learnt that Marco Pierre White had opened a restaurant in Singapore, in 2018.
Unfortunately, it is also characteristic of me to only visit a place only at least year after it had opened. While others would claim that it is to give the establishment some time to settle down and mature, in fact, I’m just a great procrastinator.
I am a very big fan of modern English-style brunches, spoiled by my time in Shanghai, eating at restaurants like The Commune Social and Table No. 1 who were created by chef Jason Atherton, who coincidentally is also one of Marco Pierre White’s protégés. Naturally, my first meal at The English House was brunch.
Located at the shophouse where Madam Wong’s used to be, back in the hey day and my teenage years, the entrance to The English House was almost hidden by a lush arrangement of greenery.
Navigating through the 3 meter long foliage revealed a quirky restaurant that featured a mix of modernity and old school charm.
It almost felt like entering the private collection of antiquities of Chef Marco Pierre White.
The tables and chair were reminiscent of ones that were used in Singaporean coffeeshops in the 90s, but brand-spanking-new.
The breakfast menu was short and sweet, but I was also presented with the lunch menu, and also the Sunday roast menu.
For the breakfast/brunch menu, items are charged a la carte, unlike the lunch menu where one could choose any starter and main for a fixed $35.
I chose the classic eggs benedict ($20) and an additional order of bacon ($6) while the missus had the Full English Breakfast ($25).
Before we proceed with the food, it’s worth noting that service, when attended to, was good. However, getting the attention of the servers was a bit of an effort. For an establishment of this repute, I was slightly disappointed that I had to wait for an opportune moment to wave a server over to order our meal, because none of them were paying attention to my table for at least 5 minutes; The restaurant had only 4 other tables of diners.
Complimentary sour-dough bread is served. I liked how the slices of toasts were presented neatly tucked in the napkin, almost like in a blanket. A sealed jar of marmalade accompanied the slab of butter. Unfortunately, the butter was served stone cold, and wouldn’t spread smoothly on the bread. On the bright side, it allowed me to enjoy the flavour of the artisanal butter in chunks.
As per any decent upper-scale restaurant, all dishes were served at the same time.
The poached eggs on the Eggs Benedict were voluptuously beautiful. Unlike typical poached eggs where you would get a slightly droopy oval shape, the poached eggs at The English House stood tall and taut. They looked as though they were hard boiled eggs, yet, a gentle jiggle of the plate had the eggs wobble as though they had barely set. Intriguing!
Cutting into the egg for that egg-porn shot revealed both the egg whites and yolks to have multiple layers of doneness. The outer shell of the egg white was just set, and progressively reduced in doneness as the knife sank in. The yolk had a combination of semi-jellified and runny textures. What manner of sorcery was this?!
Diving in, the eggs were of excellent quality, as already suggested from the deep orange coloured yolks. The richness of the yolks blended beautifully with the creamy yet tangy Hollandaise sauce. The Wiltshire ham was roughly broken down and loosely formed, allowing one to almost fold it around the fork, together with a chunk of the eggs and muffin.
The last time that I had an Eggs Benedict this deceptively simple and good was at Jean Georges in Shanghai. This was easily one of the best Eggs Benedict I’ve ever eaten.
Now I am a sucker for bacon, and when I see additional bacon for $6 and no bacon on my dish, I simply have to order it. To my delight and later, my dismay, the $6 plate of bacon was enough for 3 persons. Fried to a shattering crisp, they were a sinfully salty indulgence until the 4th piece, upon which I felt that it was time to mend my ways and be good. Theatrics aside, it was a really large plate of bacon, and too much of a good thing is a bad thing, they got my palate too salty and cloying and I couldn’t finish the bacon.
The missus’s English breakfast looked proper on the plate, featuring the same lovely eggs although simply, but perfectly fried, the same crispy bacon, with sautéed cremini mushrooms, 2 sausages and a baked tomato.
The bane of the platter were the sausages. They were very dry and dense, due to the overly lean stuffing. The stuffing also featured a very strong spice, likely fennel or fennel seeds, which overpowered the taste of the assumed-pork sausages, bearing a slight resemblance to boar taint.
Coffee was de rigeur, which sadly is often the case for great eateries. Great cafes don’t make great food, and great restaurants don’t make great coffees. Such, is the fact of life.
All in all, I felt that there was definitely a star-like quality in the food at The English House, with the exception of the sausages we had that day. It could’ve been a one-off, I don’t know. The prices are fair, and portions decent. I would actually return to try some more items in future, possibly their Sunday Roast.