So undecided is the human psych on a lazy weekend morning that it can’t even make a simple decision as to whether to indulge in some nutrient intake or to divulge time in activities entailing and delivering pure relaxation. The result, is brunch. So what is a brunch? Is there a special cuisine? Or time of day? What does one wear to a brunch? And most importantly, what dos one drink?
As we all know it is a meal that efficiently combines breakfast and lunch, giving us the nourishment we need at the end of a long night of rest .
Trouble is that most of us don’t turn up for these till almost past noon which is, technically speaking, a very late brunch, or as we have known it hitherto, lunch. This changes the dynamics drastically: from the food to be served to the service to be offered.
People often expect a full-course spread with at least a gazillion main courses. A classic brunch is far for much; it entails more salads and cold cuts and less hot food. It relies more on items that are generally served in smaller portions. The idea of hot food is included to be the last filler course, if at all. It is like Tapas, only healthier, like breakfast, but lengthier.
The essence of a good brunch spread is that it encourages one to linger, visiting the counter often, taking small helpings, nibbling at leisure, returning for more. Food must be filling but not heavy and stuffy.
The drinks too change, largely influenced by the time of the day. Champagne finds some lavish excuse or another to be included everywhere, but the general trend is to mix in juices alongside. One Brut Champagne is a minimum with a red and a white along side. And to this add a full stash of a bar with every imaginable cocktail.
My recent brunch hunt spanning several weekends of work have made me realise one thing—light is best. In this regard I love all brunches Oriental and Yauatcha in Mumbai would be right up there. Green tea and dim-sums are the yin-yang of the healthy and the satiating.
Another nice one was a step down at Otto, which is located right below Yauatcha. I like the outside seating at The Sassy Spoon and it offers great food in general.
Closer to home, most hotels do some amazing spreads in the national capital but I am always partial to the ones which serve fresh bubbly and seat us Al Fresco. Olive is a sure-shot winner by those measures as also certain malls with their terraces. Some hotels have lovely verdant eye-relaxing set-ups and are great choices for Sunday R&R: The Trident and The Oberoi, both in Gurgaon, are true urban resorts. The Claridges and The Shangri-La do superbly for central business hotels, and then there’s the ever-classy Imperial Hotel although the food and drinks here have seen more glorious days.
But wasteful as the human body is, always adapting to the nearest possible form of comfort, it wasn’t long before brunches became too early an affair to wake up for. So now people turn up well past noon for their first meal and drink of the day and linger on till late evening –a phenomenon that I’d call a Brunner(all three meals rolled into one). The marketing guys however prefer the term ‘Sundowner’. I think I need to work on my pitches.