Sunday brunch brings back memories of awakening late, fighting the pater for the Sunday newspaper and drinking tea out on the balcony at home. Sitting in my PJs until way past decent, and finally only being goaded into showering and dressing with the promise of mum’s brunch. Some weeks it would be Indian – parathas and egg bhurji or the Hyderabadi egg dish Khageena, while other times it would be sausages, eggs, bacon, baked beans and toast. Whatever the main course, a fab dessert was always there to end on. Oh man, those were the days! The grown up me has to either prepare the brunch herself, or else head out to one of the many restaurants in town that offer a special brunch on the day of rest. When an invite to such an afternoon comes along, gathering with the fellow food writer pals and our other halves makes it all the sweeter. Such was the occasion a couple weeks ago, when four couples and two munchkins arrived at The Movenpick Hotel & Spa for their 250 dish and cocktails/beer/wine/champagne Sunday brunch.
Set up at the all-day dining space, My Place, this is a decadent, family affair where even a well-known local Kannada movie celebrity will be spotted, dining with family. And while no one will deny that going all the way to Movenpick is a test of one’s patience, Bangalore’s roads on a Sunday are really as good as it’s gonna get, and you are rewarded at the end by a long and leisurely brunch experience, with live band. Chef Rayomund has curated a fantastic range of items across cuisines, and the bartenders also do their part to ensure a good time is had by all. The liquid highlight was the Cocktails Trolley manned by a particularly affable young chap, who not only mixed up some new flavors for us, but also provided a running commentary should we want to recreate them at home! And oh, for the parents with kiddies, especially the under ten set who don’t entertain themselves that well, there is a special kids’ zone. We had two such in our party, and their respective parental units were quite happy with not seeing them except when they showed up to show off the art projects they had done in their special, supervised kiddies room. The kid-friendly spread of food set up right there in the big, colorful room, included pizza, chicken nuggets, potato smileys, fresh fruit juices, milkshakes and mini cakes.
I make a habit, when it’s a buffet, especially one of this magnitude, of doing a thorough recce of every counter, so I know what’s on offer and can then wisely choose how to apportion space. From sushi to chaats to made-to-order grills to salads to mains across Indian, Mediterranean, Asian and European and oh, did I mention the 35 desserts, I knew there was absolutely NO way I could cover it all. Now, one of the advantages of going with a gang of friends is that, between the lot, you manage to cover pretty much everything. The downside, however, is that even though you’ve only taken bites of most things, you get full faster than you want! But I surely ate (more than) enough to give you a play by play. The Sushi counter was my first stop, for Maki and Nigiri and quite nice they were, and you could watch them being rolled fresh. Some Dimsum also came to the table. I then headed over to eat Aloo Tikki and Mutton Kebabs that were being fried up right before our eyes – heavenly! The Chaat selection was also great, though I couldn’t give it the attention and space it deserved. The cold cuts and salads section is always a fav of mine and there was an array of dishes here, including some nice chicken, fish, lamb and pork with veggies and cheese. Speaking of cheese, the cheeses on offer were excellent and the cheeseboard was one spot I revisited a couple times.
But without a doubt, the highlight of the meal was the grills section. The backbone of the brunch was the fresh and high quality meats (there was a glistening leg of roast pork that was sensational; the Shawarma meat was also juicy and being sliced as needed) so when it came time for the grills, we ordered everything from Tiger Prawns, Calamari, Indian Salmon, Beef, Lamb Shanks – in an array of masalas.and marinades. And amongst this bounty, add Raw Oysters on the shell that were fresh and fantastic. We were a very happy bunch, let me tell you, especially the Pescetarian at the table who was missing out on the meatier stuff. The Grilled Calamari was so good we got a second round, and the Tandoori Prawns stood out too. I cannot move on to dessert without mentioning the pizza (Movenpick’s Italian restaurant makes the best gourmet pizza in Bangalore, for my money), and Parma ham, Arugula and Mascarpone Pizza was on offer – having tasted it before I urged everyone at my table to try it and indulged in a couple pieces myself.
Now with regard to dessert, they had fresh Jelabis that were soo, soo good, along with a number of tarts, mousses and cakes, and around 8-10 more Indian sweets. I was saving space for Movenpick icecream, having spied the cart in the lobby (yes, the brunch is so vast it spills out into the lobby!) but realized on arrival there that it wasn’t Movenpick icecream on offer – the one sad note of the entire afternoon, but something that we were promised will be rectified soon. It was well past 4pm when we grudgingly made our way our of the space, satiated. The brunch pricing starts at INR 1500 (plus taxes) and goes all the way to INR 2900 (plus taxes) depending on whether you opt for no alcohol, beer/wine, cocktails, champagne. The new spread is worth the trip to North Bangalore, and the next time you’re looking for a brunching option, you need look no further.
Sunday brunch (12.30pm to 3.00pm); My Place, Mövenpick Hotel & Spa; Between INR 1500 and INR 2900 plus taxes