Representational image
Representational image

Sunday brunch has always been a huge draw for the restaurant of any premium hotel due to the fun and gaiety it put forth apart from the unrelenting food stations. And for those who missed the sheer indulgence of a laid-back Sunday brunch with musicians, soothsayers, a dedicated kids’ zone, fine wines and a remarkable array of cocktails, interactive food counters, open kitchens — here’s the good news! Sunday brunch is back albeit in a tweaked and toned-down manner.

After the lockdown was lifted, the industry is sluggishly limping back to its shadow of earlier extravagance. Despite having to maintain high standards of pandemic-safety protocols like sanitisation, minimum six-feet gap between two tables to ensure safe distancing, use of mask, only 30% seating, and with limited staff members, the hospitality sector is resilient and all set to offer gastronomical bliss which includes healthy and delectable dishes.

Ensuring safety

Besides measures like temperature check for guests, Trident BKC temperature checks for employees on arrival and in-between shifts (twice daily), safeguards social distancing norms across the hotel and at O22, the all-day-dining restaurant, which is also their weekend brunch venue. They have also launched contactless menu options accessible via QR codes at O22. Taking this commitment, a step further, they have partnered with Bureau Veritas, the world leader in testing, inspection and certification services, to full proof their safety and hygiene programme at Trident Bandra Kurla.

Acrylic armoured chef of ITC Grand Central Live counter of the brunch
Acrylic armoured chef of ITC Grand Central Live counter of the brunch

Brijesh Singh, FnB Manager, Hilton Mumbai Int’l Airport, makes sure that every sanitised table at The Brasserie sports a placard mentioning ‘This table is disinfected’. With masks and gloves intact, the waiters bring pre-plated appetizers separately for each guest and the mains can be ordered from the buffet selection.

At Renaissance, Powai, Executive Chef Gautam Mehrishi has conceptualised a special culinary gallery at Lake View Café where guests can view all the items on display, but behind glass so they can choose their preferences and then enjoy the dish prepared specially for them and served at the table. Via this unique culinary experience, guests are offered the highest standard of safety and hygiene but also can enjoy the original brunch experience. Also present food in unique ways such as a single diner Bento box, which assures minimum contact.

Seating and footfalls

The seating capacity has been cut down considerably as per government norms, as Satyajit Kotwal, General Manager, The Resort Mumbai, observes, “Pre-covid our restaurant Hi-Tide capacity was 96-seater. We are allowing only 30-32 guests as of now. However as compared to earlier times the footfalls have increased.”

Brunch is spread across multiple restaurants to ensure social distancing at Grand Hyatt. From an average 100-120 covers, they can go up to 180-200 covers on a busy Sunday. “We have also introduced Pool Side Barbeque recently with an average of 50-70 pax and hope to see an increase in foot traffic over the coming weeks,” opines Sonia Paul, Marketing & Communications Manager, Grand Hyatt, Mumbai.

Health on the menu

In a troubled and disconcerting universal milieu, what is on our platter is the stronghold where we recoup our lives. Detox water, salads with herb-induced dressings, nutritious gooseberry, ginger and honey-based juices are part of Healthy Bar menu at The Resort Mumbai by Executive Chef Amit Kocharekar.

Detox drink-Cucumber Mint Agua Freshca
Detox drink-Cucumber Mint Agua Freshca
Photo: Trident BKC

In many restaurants, the brunch menu changes every week based on the concept to surprise and delight the guests. Trident Hotel BKC has replaced the buffet service with a reimagined ‘brunch on the table’ concept where guests can select their favourites via the menu on a tablet. The selected cuisine is carefully served to guests offering them a safe yet enjoyable brunch experience.

“Immunity boosting dishes are made with generous use of herbs, spices, seasonal greens and vegetables. Some of the popular immuno pulleys are shorbas, salads, refreshing beverages and Indian sweets,” says Chef Sameer Gupta, Hornby’s Pavilion, ITC Grand Central.

“We have adapted the concept of plenty of vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free options, detox, market greens serving seasonal simple food with great flavour,” enthuses Executive Sous Chef Siddarth Noronha, Grand Hyatt.

Food station etiquette

J W Marriott, Juhu, organises remarkable brunch at Lotus Café that is a sure-fire winner. Though guests can walk up to the counters to fill their plate with exotic selections of Indian, European, Oriental and Mediterranean specialties, wearing a mask is mandatory while going around the food counters. It has smoothly restyled to the new normal without compromising on the vibe.

Acrylic armours in all the food stations to maintain contactless service and served by dedicated staff behind armours is followed at Hornby’s Pavilion, ITC Grand Central as cited by the GM Amit Kumar, “Welcomseparators are placed in restaurant between tables. We are ensuring minimum contact dishes by serving pre-plated meals covered by cloches following the WeAssure protocols.”

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