The FoodPorn Diaries dictionary (yes, it exists…if only in my mind!) defines ‘Brunch’ as nothing but copious amounts of Booze + Lunch, generally consumed on a Sunday, to arm yourself for the travesty of work on a Monday. Since most of us run the corporate rat race during the week, (which gives us just enough time to drag ourselves to bed every night), what better way to spend a weekend afternoon than by overcompensating? I generally don’t bother reviewing brunches because, let’s face it – everyone has the same offerings. Indian, Chinese and European cuisine served with loads of alcohol and bubbly, edging you to consume in one afternoon what you probably should be eating over a span of a week! But since so many of us are in the quest for the holy grail of Sunday Brunches, I decided to take a dive and do it for you. Starting with the brunch at M Café in the Mariott, Whitefield.
I am forced to look at the Mariott everyday because my work desk faces the large window that overlooks it! So when S invited us to brunch at the Mariott, I almost felt like it was a trap to get me to come close to office on a Sunday! I was persuaded by the fact that the brunch would include specialties’ from their new Italian restaurant – Alto Vino and that is how I caved.
M Café is the primary location of the brunch with the live stations spilling out into the atrium. They have a massive foam palace or whatever the kids like to jump up and down in these days along with some activity counters for them. So rest assured that the kids will be occupied. It was a lovely sunshiney day and we chose to sit outside. There are cabanas next to the live grill stations and it almost has a picnic like atmosphere with the smell of grilling meats. The buffet counters, cheese, cold cuts and dessert stations are set up inside in addition to a vast array of goodies spanning the length and breadth of the globe. Hot appams and stew, rich gravies and parathas, pastas and risottos, wood fired pizzas, biriyanis and salans, the list was endless and I was truly a bit overwhelmed. The fun part at the Mariott is that you can choose to get your food custom made by the chef as well – the live cooking stations will ensure your get your ‘mera wala’ item. Or just let the helpful chef and staff make some recommendations for you on what should grace your plate. I would advise you give the entire space a once over before you settle down to eat – that way you’ll know exactly what your stomach is craving. I was in super lazy mode that day and didn’t really want to keep heading to the buffet, so I choose the last option. I was also tending towards a more European and Asian spread, so this time I gave the Indian options a miss. There were enough and more vegetarian delights, but if you know me well enough – you what I focused on 😉
You can choose to have a variety of Indian as well as FML and wines with your food. They have a fun bar with mixers stored in laboratory beakers – so we ordered a Bloody Mary. It came in a mini beaker with two droppers filled with Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce, what fun! The cocktail selection was quite sparse actually and none of it inspired me to try it. So the rest of the afternoon, I stuck to a Jacob’s Creek Chardonnay – refreshing and relaxing. They also serve a Sula Brut but I don’t care much for bubbly. Here’s a picture review of all the things we tried that afternoon.
We were served a very elegant puff pastry with a dip as soon as our drinks arrived. The café calls it their most famous bread. Sprinkled with sesame seeds it makes for a nice crunchy start but I don’t see what the fuss is all about. The platter of open faced sandwiches on different breads was on the dot and the Smoked Salmon and cream cheese one was my favorite. Chef Alfonso from the Alto Vino arrived with some freshly made Bruschetta and it’s hard to say no to his charming ways. The Bruschetta was fantastic, fresh and bursting with flavors. Simple ingredients that come together to tantalize your tastebuds. Alto Vino was trying to popularize true blue Italian home style cooking – if the proof is in the pudding, the bruschetta makes for a very strong spokesperson. We were served a lovely Pumpkin Ravioli later in day and it was again an ode to simple cooking.
Though the Mariott itself does not have an Asian or Japanese restaurant, the brunch does dish up some interesting fare. We tried a variety of Sushi and Maki rolls. And even had a brilliantly plated Dragon Roll topped with orange roe with the tail of the dragon made from a Prawn tail. Theatrics aside, the Asian section is well represented and you can try some steaming dimsums, grilled seafood and stir frys in sauces of your choice. They got us a beautiful dish of Pork Belly which was rich, succulent and just redolent of the caramelized bits that every pork lover craves! I wanted to ask for seconds but I also wanted to try so many other things that I restrained myself. (Ok, not too well because I snuck a bite out of A’s plate!). If you like asian street fare, they have some Chicken Satay and hawker style Nasi Goreng. The chef claims his version is the best in Bangalore and after a couple of bites I found agreeing that it was very good but the best? Hmm… (Note to self – who else serves Nasi Goreng in Bangalore? Must do a comparison!)
If I had to give credit to the Mariott for getting something bang on that day – it would have to be the handling of their meats. A Tenderloin steak, Grilled Lamb Chops and Roast Beef – all impeccable in their taste and presentation and cooked to perfection. The Roast Beef was hearty and was served simply with some grilled vegetables and gravy. My Grilled Lamb Chops were served with a side of roast vegetables and couscous and definitely reminded me of exotic lands. Lamb Chops are my favorite entrée and this one did not disappoint. The crowning glory – The Tenderloin, was served with some horseradish cream and I don’t think it needed anything else. The juices kept it moist and dreamy and when cut, the pink interior was smiling smugly! ‘A’ and ‘S’ went completely silent at this point and gave their main course the due respect it deserved and polished it off!
We were all ready for desserts and I headed inside to fill up my plate. It looked like dessert land on acid. Everything was brightly coloured and shouting ‘pick me pick me’. The tendency to load up my plate with sweet treats is a battle that’s hard to win and I lost this one very easily. My plate was a smorgasbord of sugar and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I saw a lot of kids just hanging around the Gummy bears (guess who won’t be sleeping tonight! :P)
Whitefield will be thrilled to have a classy place that they can unwind in on a Sunday afternoon. The Sunday Brunch at the M Café is a treat to the senses. With Indoor and Outdoor options coupled with a separate play area for kids – you can find a space that suits the weather and your mood! The Mocktail brunch option comes in at Rs.1500/-++ and the Alcohol option at Rs.2500/-++. (The Alcohol Brunch includes Champagne). Though I found the alcohol options a tad underwhelming, the food more than makes up for it. The multi-cuisine option ensures that there’s something for everyone, but it is put together in such a way that you can choose to deep dive into one cuisine without feeling the need to hop around like a mad hatter. Or if you like cheating on your Indian Naan with your Italian Bruschetta or your Chinese dumpling – the Mariott will keep your secrets for you!
Bengaluru Mariott Hotel Whitefield
75, 8th Main Road,
Ph: 080 30412940
Parking: Valet Available
Cost: Rs.1500/-++ for the Mocktail Brunch, Rs.2500/-++ for the Alcohol Brunch
The Cubbon Pavilion at ITC Gardenia serves a pretty good Nasi Goreng too, if you're looking to compare.