Foodie’s initial impression of Alzina Spanish Asador was a bit hit and miss – high-quality ingredients but uneven execution – but we enjoyed this lively Spanish grill enough to warrant a return trip, this time for the recently launched weekend brunch (12–3pm). The location may seem out of the way to many (far eastern TST), but the restaurant was heaving during our brunch outing, with a glam DJ in the back playing everything from 80s throwbacks to sexy Latin numbers.
The Brunch Menu
Priced at $398 for adults and $112 for kids aged 3–11, Alzina’s brunch includes a whole lotta food. Unlimited OJ and soft drinks can be added for an additional $68 and free-flow cava, sangria and red and white wines for $128.
Semi-buffet in style, we began with an assortment of salads – we liked the layered Russian salad topped with confit octopus the most – Spanish charcuterie and cheeses. The variety of cold cuts was noteworthy, but we found the prized Ibérico ham on the dry side and lacking in flavour.
The egg-based options have a dedicated station, from a well-made Donosti tortilla with cod and pepper, to the ever-popular eggs Benedict (with smoked salmon in place of the Canadian bacon to up the luxe factor), to huevos rotos (broken eggs), made with crisp shredded potatoes and bits of chorizo that were unfortunately rock hard. The eggy highlight for us was actually the humblest dish – huevos rellenos – devilled eggs with a creamy tuna filling that were most toothsome.
In the hot section, the seafood soup was rich and flavoursome, and we really enjoyed the chilli garlic prawns – a stellar version of one of our fave tapas dishes, the bouncy prawns had a good bite and were bathed in that oily, garlicky, spicy goodness that we adore. The herby, pillowy meatballs were also winners. Unfortunately, the clams with salsa verde (which tasted more like pesto) were on the sandy side, and the chorizo in sherry sauce was spicy but surprisingly bland.
The affable serving staff passed around generous plates of freshly made paella – this was authentic with its al dente rice and deep seafood flavour, filled to the brim with clams, mussels and squid.
Once you’ve had your fill of the buffet, eight main courses are available for ordering. We were admittedly stuffed at this point, but we did our duty and ordered the New Zealand lamb rack and suckling pig. The lamb was well grilled, and we enjoyed its peppery seasoning (we could also detect cinnamon), but it was under-salted for our liking and too fatty. On the other hand, we could find no fault in the suckling pig, which was a near-perfect rendition of the dish with its crispy skin and juicy, flavourful meat. For us, the port sauce and apple compote accompaniments were superfluous.
Alzina’s brunch ends with a nicely plated dessert platter. We sampled some classic churros dusted in sugar, a blueberry-muffin-like cake, a cheesecake-esque flan with mango ice cream and – the crowning glory – frozen milk chocolate and white chocolate lollies with a mousse filling.
Alzina’s brunch is certainly a well-favoured neighbourhood option, and it does provide a good bang for your buck in a fun, buzzy atmosphere. The staff are welcoming and friendly, though we did wait longer than we had anticipated for our mains. This time around, the food hit the mark, with more hits than misses. Can we say one-and-a-half thumbs up?
29–31 Chatham Road South (entrance at Hart Avenue), TST East, 2723 9833
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation.