Let's brunch in Delhi! (Part two)
by Anees Saigal
12 June 2009
Hotel Diplomat, 9 Sardar Patel Marg Chanakyapuri.
18-A/C, Basant Lok Market, Vasant Vihar.
Tel: +91.11.41683305 Ai
MGF Metropolitan Mall, Saket, second floor.
Tel: +91.11.4065.4567 Sakura
Time Tower, MG Road, Gurgaon.
Tel: +91.124.4200.950 Nanking
Plot C-6, Local Shopping Complex, Vasant Kunj.
So for the lovers of croissants, cappuccino or an American breakfast, finding places serving rich and delicious morning meals is no longer a problem. But, of course, not everyone associates Sunday brunch with breakfast-fare - or even gets out of the house early enough to want it.
This is good news for the many other restaurants that have realised Sunday afternoons are a prime crowd-pulling slot. Many hotel restaurants have a set-rate Sunday brunch inclusive of alcohol, but (finally!) the options are no longer limited to that; a clutch of good eateries now offers the same at much better rates and minus the exclusivity (and dress code) of five-star hotels.
For a lavish Italian spread, no one does it quite like Olive Beach. A central location, elegant interiors and very, very good cocktails are just some of the reasons to love this place, and its Sunday brunch is yet another draw. Unlimited access to an extensive buffet that includes a live grill, pasta and salad counters, pizzas, desserts and cocktails are simply great, and thanks to the lovely outdoor section, the brunch gains popularity as the weather improves.
If you’re counting calories, Sartoria offers a simpler and smaller brunch menu. Vasant Vihar residents already know this neighbourhood joint for its home delivery of pizzas. What they may not know is that you’d be hard-pressed to find a better brunch deal in the city: Rs. 699 will get you an appetizer, pizza or main course, dessert, a glass of sparkling wine or beer, and coffee. It may not have an ambience that encourages you to linger, but it’s a charming and unpretentious spot that will do for an easy going Sunday.
Italian and breakfast dishes aside, a surprising discovery about Delhi is that some of its best brunches are offered by Asian restaurants. Ai, which already triumphs in most other categories (Japanese-fusion food; cocktails; outdoor DJ nights; live jazz evenings), now also boasts an unparalleled Sunday brunch. You’ll select sushi and desserts from a trolley of options, pick your mains from a wide à la carte selection, and drink to your belly’s content in one of the city’s most pleasing environments. I promise: there’s simply no reason you won’t love Ai as much as I do.
For purists who turn their noses up at this new-fangled fusion cuisine, look no further than the Hotel Metropolitan’s acclaimed restaurant Sakura, which now has an independent branch in Gurgaon. Sakura is unequivocally the top restaurant in Delhi for classic Japanese cuisine. The atmosphere at this branch is a little brisk and businesslike, but look beyond that to its extensive buffet of live sushi, tempura, grills and teppanyaki. It may seem odd to be feasting on Japanese food for a Sunday brunch, but once you’re deep into the unlimited sparking wine or beer you won’t know the difference! Go ahead, indulge, and calm your guilt by repeating to yourself that this is a healthy option.
But we're not done yet. I’ve saved the best for last, the only option that can match my passion for breakfast: dim sum. In certain cities there's a Chinatown, with its carts of seemingly-infinite morsels doing the rounds. In Delhi, we don't have that (yet). But we have Nanking. You'll still miss the loaded trolleys, but the quality here makes up for it. No Western food can match the sheer variety of dim sum, and Nanking isn’t stingy: the Sunday brunch menu includes an unlimited amount of 30 varieties of dim sim, soup, rice or noodles, plus a bottle of beer to wash down the gluttony. Unlike the more serious Chinese restaurants in town, Nanking is refreshingly informal and as loud as a dim sum spot should be. The seafood is fresh, the portions flavourful. Nanking tops the list because it imbibes what I love most about brunch: super food complemented by a convivial atmosphere to spend long, precious, indulgent Sunday afternoons.