The Fab4 Sunday brunch at the Hilton Garden Inn, Trivandrum

Continuing with our exploration of Sunday brunch buffets in our capital city, last Sunday we went to the Garden Grille restaurant at the Hilton Garden Inn, Trivandrum to experience their brunch which was recently relaunched as part of their ‘31 Days of Happiness’ promotion.

A large well decorated Christmas tree greeted us at the reception. The lobby and the restaurant area were decked up with lights and Christmas garnitures while a nicely done ginger bread house took up one end of the lobby.

As we went around the buffet, Sous Chef Vishnu explained to us that the Sunday brunch was made up of four cuisines – The Fab4, as they call it. South Indian, North Indian, Oriental & Western, to be very specific, last Sunday it was a selection from Travancore, Awadhi, Cantonese and Italian cuisines respectively. The specific menu selection changes every Sunday.

There were four live stations for Sliders, Dim sums, Chaat and Crepes. There was also a Seafood Grill station which is operational only for the Sunday brunch.

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We started off with Bhel mix and Dahi chaat. The Bhel mix and the chaat could have been more chatpata. This was followed by Cantonese style chicken & veg dim sums (dumplings) with assorted relishes and Ceylon paratha wrap filled with minced beef which was good.

For starters, we had Hare matar ki tikki, Lamb seekh kebab and Awadhi dahi murgh kebab. The perfectly done seekh kebab was absolutely delicious. Next was the grilled seafood collection of Fish slices, Squids and Tiger prawns on a sizzler tray. The grilled fish was a bit spicy for my liking but it was fantastic when washed down with some red wine. Few pieces of grilled Chicken completed this section.

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In between we checked out the Salads section which was quite elaborate with selections from all the four cuisines. I also had a slice of thin and crunchy pizza topped with cheese, chicken, corn and bell peppers.

For the main course, Saffron pulao, Dal mumtaz, Paneer begum bahar, Dum aloo and Lagan ka badshahi gosht made up the Awadhi cuisine. I had a few spoonfuls of the aromatic pulao and the mutton curry, which was soft and spicy. In fact it was the best mutton curry I have had in recent times. The dum aloo and panner was also delicious.

The Italian cuisine consisted of Gnocchi tossed with sun dried tomato in pesto butter, Potato caponata, Sicilian parmigiana, Broiled polenta with grilled vegetable in mushroom sauce and Farsumagru (beef). Farsumagru is a Sicilian dish – steak stuffed with meats, cheeses, eggs and vegetables and then rolled to look like a roast. It’s absolutely beautiful in looking with delicious meat juices drizzling over the slices and fabulous in taste. The Polenta reminded me of our Gujju Dhokhlas.

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Pan-fried noodle with hoisin sauce, Stir fried vegetable with pickled vegetable, Vegetable fried rice, Wok tossed tofu & pakchoy, and Chicken in sliced green chilli sauce were the dishes in the Cantonese section. I tried the pan-fried noodle and chicken and it was great reminding me of the ‘Steam in the Wok’ Chinese food fest held there some time back.

Under the Travancore cuisine were Mixed vegetable thoran, Beetroot pachadi, Kathirikai ularthu, Fish curry and Pork pepper fry. I just tried out the pork fry which was tender and spicy but a bit salty for my taste.

The Dessert section was again very elaborate for those with a sweet tooth. For me it was baked Sandesh, Shahi tukda, Rasgulla, Basbousa and a spoonful of hot Doughnut pudding. The rasgulla was so good that I couldn’t resist myself from having a second one. Orange wet cake, Blondies, Linzer tart, White chocolate fudge, Coconut mousse and Mango gateaux were some of the other sweets on offer.

We spent almost three hours in a very relaxed environment savouring the delicacies. The best part of the Sunday brunch at Hilton was the Fab4 selection of dishes wherein we could try out four different cuisines at one go. Must admit, the relaunch of the Sunday brunch will turn out to be a big game changer for them.

The separate Kids buffet consisting of Muffins, Donuts, Chicken spring roll, Fish finger, Rice cripes, Pazham nurukku, Cottage cheese pakoda and Lollipops was indeed an attraction. A few colouring books and crayons to keep them busy after their petth pooja was well also thought out strategy.

F& B Manager, Sujit Menon; Restaurant Manager, Ribson Geevarghese, and associate Arnabjit Sur, played the perfect hosts and ensured that we had a great time. Executive Chef, Ashok Eapen also dropped in say hello even though it was his off day. Sujit suggested winding up the session with some masala tea but we were too full. Will surely try it out the next time.

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Anil Philip

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