The Sunday brunch at the Sofitel is a fine example of high quality, multi-cuisine spread that is served with passion and perspective. Amongst six high end restaurants offering ample options in the BKC area, the brunch at the Pondicherry Café is a heady cocktail of quality and variety.
The café is set at lobby level, and one is welcomed by large, open passage which leads to long buffet spread on the left with the cocktail bar on the right. A good touch is the seating at the entrance, which serves as a comfortable spot in case you have to wait for friends to join. The grand, tall ceiling café can seat about 180 people and has been inspired the Diamond Bourse next door. You will observe tall pillars with angular facets shimmering with the ample use of natural and focus lighting.A welcome inclusion is the kids play area, which serves as their regular lobby bar during the week, and on Sundays is manned by trained staff to keep young ones engaged while their parents mix and mingle leisurely.
The spread is designed to emphasize the French influence on Pondicherry, with a wide range of options to suit all tastes. Over 150 options with French, Continental, North and South Indian, Japanese, Chinese, Pan Asian, Lebanese, Awadhi, and Jain cuisine keep you interested and spoilt for choice. I suggest you make the most of the entire time (12:00 pm – 4:00 pm) to go through the brunch at your own pace.
My brunch started with a visit to the bar, which provided a fresh take on cocktails with an emphasis on fruits. The alcoholic option provides one glass of Piper Hiedsieck champagne with unlimited Sula brut, Sula wines, cocktails and beer to accompany your gastronomic adventure. I requested for a whiskey based drink and was pleasantly surprised by a Red Label based apple and clove cocktail. The drink made its way to my table in quick time, while I checked out the salad bar to start the course.
The salad bar was very well laid out, with many small, handy portions pre-prepared for your pickings. The options ranged from multiple continental salads, cold cut meats, and Indian ‘Salaad’ to keep things interesting. It was good to see so many customers picking options from the salad bar. A well laid out pan asian bar was my next stop, which displayed a variety of sushi options and a stir fry counter. Upon closer examination, I found that all displayed sushi was vegetarian while the non-veg sushi was made to order, which was confusing for many customers. I requested for the tuna rolls, which took 15 minutes to arrive at my table, a far longer time than I would expect at a brunch. The sushi was cut well, but a little too thin making my use of chopsticks all the more difficult. [non-veg sushi]. The stir fry chicken was well cooked, but was off the mark with overpowering use of soya sauce and salt.
At my next stop, I found the walk through style of the French cuisine counter created an aura of personal touch to the dining experience. One may interact directly with the chefs and understand the dishes, which are quite unique and prepared with utmost care. For me, the dish(es) of the day were the Mustard and Thyme Marinated Beef and the Salmon En Croute. The dishes were very well prepared, warm and heavenly soft. Although it was tender and succulent, I wish that the Duck were warmer, as the richness of the butter overwhelmed the tender duck . For meatlovers, there were numerous options such as sausages, consomes, and the do-it-your-style doner kebabs. There was little to offer to the vegetarians, who were confined to the Indian/Asian sections of the buffet.
Turning to the Indian section, there was ample selection of vegetarian options which would appeal to the Jains, Gujarati and Punjabi community alike. The live chaat counter was always busy and churning out paani pooris and dahi pooris at a frantic pace. There were many choices amongst vegetable curries and the dosa counter was a popular pit stop. The highlight for me was the Dum Biryani counter, more for the way it allowed for your pick of the meat with your helping of ghee rice and curry than for its taste, which was good, but cannot match the Paradise or Nizams of the world.
Turning to the Dessert Wall, which displayed over 20 carefully selected options, many French classics and delightful inspirations such as St. Honoré cake, berry gateaux and macaroons as snail pastry. A sweet tooth would need to keep about half the space to sample the desserts itself. This is where you are most likely to see the head chef Dain Gilbert, who is ever so helpful in walking you through his creations.
It was quite evident, that if one is not careful, the sheer variety on offer will invite a gluttonous debauch. But the brunch is designed to transport you out of the regular hustle and bustle of the city, and allow for quality time with friends and family. The place is vibrant, fun filled and exudes a very positive vibe, converting your lazy Sunday afternoon into a cozy, comforting, social memory. At 2600 (plus taxes), the brunch is a fantastic value for money option this side of town. I would strongly recommend a trip and suggest an early visit to make the best of the afternoon.
Ratings out of 5
Food: 4.5 | Ambiance: 4.5 | Service: 4.0 | Overall: 4.5
Meal for two: 5,200 plus taxes including alcohol, INR 4,400 excluding alcohol (excluding children below 12 years)
Valet: Yes, Kids Section: Yes, Timings: 12:00 noon – 4:00 pm
Address: Pondicherry Café, The Sofitel, C-57, Bandra Kurla Complex, Bandra (East), Mumbai 400 051 | Phone: +91 22 61175000