Dec 9, 2012

Nostalgia and a Bloody Mary

It had been a while since I had one of 'them' leisurely afternoons, the kind when there is no agenda, no need for notes and not a 'damn' is given about the nuances. Last Sunday afternoon was shaping up in that very direction, leisure, old friends and new ones, good food and a Bloody Mary. I met up with a my gourmand friends (I am making a conscious effort to refrain from using 'foodie' and I don't much care for the word 'pals') at The Claridges, at Surajkund on a sunny afternoon, ready to eat! We were going to tuck into the Sparkling Brunch at The Oasis, the bright, spacious and truly sparkling coffee shop at The Claridges. Though the foyer and lobby are peppered with 'nouveau' objet d'art the actual structure is very 'holiday resort in the Maldives. It is a pretty stark contrast and quite a pleasant one. The Oasis floods with light during the day and I love that about coffee shops. The aroma of coffee hit me first and since I was starved it was doubly scintillating. Everyone had settled in with flutes of sparkling wine but for me, winter afternoons are never complete without a kickass Bloody Mary. Yum!

We started with the cold station and I was thrilled to see baby octopus waiting patiently for me (sorry about humanizing them a bit but they were such a nice surprise)! Lovely and fresh, this was one of the high points for me. With the kind of produce available to hotels today, they are your safest bet for exotic foods, they know exactly how to treat foods that may be your favourite but not something you are comfortable cooking.

Moving on to salads, which I rarely fill up on, except when they read something like this - "Roasted corn & pepper with tenderloin' or 'garlic flavoured courgette& mushroom with fresh mint', then you have to dig in, there was a tiny station where Chef would customize a salad for you, so I did a quick iceberg, walnuts, tomatoes and parmesan with a honey dijon flavoured dressing, super! In retrospect, I shouldn't have skipped the live Bruschetta station, not after seeing bacon bits, walnuts, sauteed mushrooms and black olives waiting to be topped on crusty bread... sigh!

The main course offered three cuisines, Indian, Chinese and Continental and as I made my way across islands of food, I bumped into 'sushi', something I rarely say no to. The sushi was light, fresh and nicely done, I absolutely loved the hummus, the fresh little pita's and combining it with the tenderloin salad, I was in Mediterranean heaven. I am not a big fan of Indian food, don't get me wrong, I grew up on it and eat it at home regularly, which is why I don't always feel the need to indulge in it when I eat out. Having said that, I have to echo most of us on this one, the Jungle Maas (mutton) at the Indian 'island' was outstanding. I had seconds and if it hadn't been for the desserts I would have had 'thirds' too! The tenderloin steaks with apple jus were very done too, though quite honestly I love what pro kitchens have started doing with aubergines in continental 'avatars', yum! I skipped the Chinese only because of complete lack of space, owing to the fact that Chef Gurjyote Singh Sethi isn't just a talented Chef but an involved and indulgent one too. He noticed me checking out pizza going into the oven and asked if I'd like a sizzling pepperoni pizza pie, I said I was looking for something more Egyptian/Greek/Med, elaborating further I asked for precisely this - thin crust, blind baked, topped with dollops of the hummus I loved, sprinkled with fresh arugula and that's it. What he served me was all that and more, the whole table loved the pizza and the gesture too, customized to the T! Incidentally, I didn't say anything about the seasoning, yet it was perfect. These are the kind of things that make a lovely afternoon, lovelier!

I completed the meal with just a couple of the dozen or more desserts, I loved the Chocolate Mousse, the White Wine Jelly with Strawberry Cream with delicate and beautifully balanced, I gave the Indian sweets a pass but I do regret not trying the very exotic and rather royal looking vermicelli dessert that afternoon, good, something left to head back for! The Vanilla and Prune Pannacotta was sugar free yet delicious and nice to see sugar free options on the menu. I couldn't obviously resist a scoop of vanilla ice cream, quickly swerved under the chocolate fountain and then topped with walnuts, nirvana!

Thanks for a lovely afternoon - Sid 'The Glue' Khullar, Anatara 'The Bride' Ray, Charis 'The Delightful' Bhagianathan and Mukta 'The Lovely Newbie' Bhatnagar!

From the Hotel:

Oasis-the all day dining restaurant offers the best of world cuisine with its distinctive creativity. The lavish buffet will showcase Indian classic sweets like gulab jamun , ras malai , halwa to kid’s favorite desserts such as raspberry cakes, puddings and ice creams. There will be a chocolate fountain specially placed for the kids. Sunday brunch at Oasis showcases the fine art of culinary skills with its live kitchen counters such as Japanese counter, a separate Tapas counter where you can choose from a variety of salads and also make your own salads, separate Chinese and Indian counters and a contemporary tandoor is also there for the guests. The multicuisine buffet will have a wide range of special and authentic regional dishes to accompany with rose champagne and sparkling wine.
 The following are the rates and inclusions of our Diwali Special Sunday Brunch.
 Sparkling Brunch – 2300 + Taxes
  • ·         Elaborate buffet (Multicuisine)
  • ·         Sparkling Wine
  • ·         Mocktails and Cocktails
 Champagne Brunch – 3000 + Taxes
  • ·         Elaborate buffet (Multicuisine)
  • ·         Champagne
  • ·         Sparkling Wine
  • ·         Mocktails and Cocktails
 Moet Rose Brunch- 4500 + Taxes
  • ·         Elaborate buffet (Multicuisine)
  • ·         Rose Champagne
  • ·         Champagne
  • ·         Sparkling Wine
  • ·         Mocktails and Cocktails
 Kids Brunch – 999 + Taxes
  • ·         Elaborate buffet (Multicuisine)
  • ·         Smiley
  • ·         French fries
  • ·         Mini pizza
  • ·         Mini burger
  • ·         cup cakes
  • ·         puddings
  • ·         fresh juices
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