Brunch @ 601,The PARK

The Sunday brunches have come of age in Chennai - starting off rather slowly, every restaurant worth its salt (and some of those without that worth) have started their version of Sunday brunch and there seems to be something for everybody and every price point. I have seen brunches being advertised from Rs 299 to upwards of Rs 2000, these days.

Sunday brunches have also come to be associated with the word, EXTENSIVE! Smaller places talk about how many items they have and the larger fancy hotels put up live counters left, right and center and its almost festive in these places. More often than not, it becomes very difficult to taste everything and if you taste everything, you might feel that you stuffed yourself with so much of not so good stuff and maybe the stomach real estate could have been used for the nicer things that were also on the brunch. So maybe I was so caught up with the word extensive that I missed out, till last Sunday, the brunch at 601, The Park. I have scanned their menu before and just the fact that the menu was only 1 page, I think, never prompted me to try it - till I saw the words "Liquid Nitrogen Cooking" and "Sand Lobsters, Oysters," and that Sunday, I was taught a lesson on Quality vs Quantity.

The brunch area is rather small, but we started with Sushi which I needed to get two helpings after the first round and had to force myself to stop so that I can try everything else! I tried the tuna and the prawn ones and loved them both. Then came a breakfast item - French toast with a twist - instead of using regular bread, they have options of banana bread, cinnamon roll and another one and we had one of all three - excellent stuff and the twist was so good, that I did not miss the classic. And then Egg Benedict with a twist - the hollandaise sauce had herbs in it and I asked for it to be made without pork - just as excellent!

And then we moved to the Asian counter - a Malaysian Roti Jala- a crisp, swiss cheese styled holed roti for which there was a choice of sides and we went with the chicken gravy which turned out to be just as excellent as the others. The distinctness of the flavour clearly different from the meal thus far was nice. And then we moved to the exotic stuff - there was a choice of lobsters, oysters, mussels, tiger prawns and ones found in most brunches like regular prawns, fish, squids all made to order. I had grilled tiger prawns and lobster and I left it to the chef to make it whichever way he wanted and he made both of them very different from the other - the prawns with lemon butter and herbs and the lobster was chargrilled. And then the best lamp chops I have had in Chennai - it was made to perfection. There was good amount of meat on the chops, it was soft and succulent and the right amount of flavour. There was a Mumbai street food corner, but I only tried one vada pav and it was not very exciting, so left the others.

Needless to say, I was stuffed, but I had a little bit from the Indian side - the butter prawns gravy was nice, the biriyani was flavourful, but I would consider this a sort of pulao at best. After the wonderful stuff, I could not have been bothered with the taste of these and I did not have to worry about not tasting everything, I almost did. I wish I had left the French Toast for dessert, but we tried this Liquid Nitrogen Stuff - Its a quick freezing (Nitrogen stays liquid only at -196º C) liquid and we had a tender coconut mousse froze in 15 seconds flat. It was like a chocobar, but same flavour both outside and inside and it was a little different. We also had a wonderful strawberry dish on the dessert bar which was excellent and a double layered cheese cake which was good, but we were too stuffed to try any more dessert. There is also a fancy floating dessert bar, which has small desserts tied to hydrogen balloons, so if you pick up the dessert, the baloon flies up! We had waffles that were quite bad and soggy, but the mixed berries on top had blueberries and raspberry!!!

And then the best deal of the day, which we missed out - if you book 4 brunches (ahead, I think like 5 days or so), you get a room and pool access for 4 people from 9 AM to 5 PM - WOW!!!! We were only 2, but if a bunch of you decided to meet for brunch or a family of four adults, this could be a full Sunday deal. For those who love alcohol with the brunch, there is an alcohol package for Rs 500 extra and he rattled off some fancy sounding names of wines and beer and other stuff that you liver will love!

Priced at Rs 1750 plus taxes, it comes to about Rs 2055 per person and for Rs 8000 odd, you get brunch, room and pool access for 4 people.