Did someone say brunch? I made a bee-line to The Montagu at the Hyatt Regency- The Churchill to try their five star weekend feast…
The words ‘Bottomless Brunch’ are being flung around the foodosphere left, right and centre at the moment. Because one round of poached eggs and a flat white just ain’t enough to get us through a Saturday morning these days, oh no.
People can’t get enough of these three or four hour feasts. Endless champagne and entertainment is synonymous with the privileged crowds and tourists of Dubai and other parts of the UAE when the weekend arrives. And brunch ‘avec alcohol’ is something of a Sunday ritual for New Yorkers. So, it’s no wonder that London is hot on the heels of this all-day grazing.
I’ve tried a number of Thai and dim sum restaurants that start their Saturday feasts around midday in a sort of ‘all you can eat’ style.
But a five-star New York-Italian smorgasbord was a new concept for me. Add with the promise of limitless prosecco and Bloody Marys in the five-star surrounds of the Hyatt Regency – The Churchill Hotel, I’m sold.
They don’t do things by halves at The Montagu restaurant. As part of The Hyatt Regency – The Churchill Hotel, everything from the front of house greeting and swift removal of your coat to the polite escort to your table and detailed, yet not over-the-top run down of gourmet offerings, is ever so impressive.
As I say, there are many restaurants in London who are attempting to nail the luxury elongated weekend brunch. And there are many hard and fast rules that can elevate it to fame or make it a flop.
One of those is to nail the entertainment. And with an energetic guitar and wind instrument duo they do this brilliantly here at The Montagu. Bubbles were flowing, people were smiling and chatting with each other at the buffet and women were tottering about in their best dresses and heels. Meanwhile, we were all clapping between songs. Although we weren’t celebrating anything as such, it certainly felt like we should have been.
As a word of warning, if you would like to avoid a complete food-induced coma, I suggest you arrive at The Montagu with a big appetite.
Starting with the wonderful savoury buffet, we helped ourselves to various salad items, antipasti, smoked salmon bagels (a little bit tough for my liking) and a selection of fresh breads. The chargrilled vegetables that you can pick out of various jars, sweet melon and prosciutto ham and fresh Caprese salad with brilliantly fresh basil were particularly impressive.
The expert mixologist with the Bloody Mary trolley arrived in perfect time too (I had the sweet one with balsamic, BC had the one with plenty of pepper and a kick of Tabasco. This is how you start your weekend with gusto.
Bloody Mary’s barely dented, we weakened for the bubbles as well. We’d intended to take a half hour’s breather before the next stage of our feast, but couldn’t say no when a waiter did some rounds of the restaurants with some freshly cooked pizza slices in his arms.
‘Ok, go on then’ we thought. A medium-thickness dough with a generous amount of melted cheese and tomato sauce is never easy to turn down.
The next ‘stage’, is the hot course. In true New York-Italian style the highlight is the pasta. You can choose from various pasta styles and then a couple of toppings. I weakened for a spaghetti Carbonara – one of my all-time favourites.
BC mixed things up a bit with a tortellini and meatball combination which worked very well indeed.
The portions looks modist but this was more than enough and we actually resisted for more. Had we felt like being any more gluttonous than we already were, we could have returned for strips of steak, jacket potatoes and pieces of salmon. But knowing that an epic dessert stand beckoned, we held back. How’s that for self-discipline…
Oh the anxiety that came next with the decision of which desserts to order was overwhelming (Too much choice and I don’t go well together). The waft of freshly baked waffles filled the air as the chef poured batter onto the hot irons…
…yet there was pecan pie, lemon tart, tiramisu, chocolate cakes, New York-style cheese cake, and fruit coulis to also consider.
I’ve had a pecan pie at The Montagu restaurant before. And the memory of how good it was hadn’t left me, so the decision was made. Mr C also had the tiramisu, which was good, but wasn’t a scratch on the delicious sweet, sour and sherbet flavours of the lemon tart.
The pecan pie was delicious – and would have been even nicer had it been served warm for a softer pastry. We delved into a bit of cheesecake too, purely for research reasons. It was like eating a milky bar cake – ever so rich, but topped with raspberry coulis, it was the kind of dessert that would require an unbelievable amount of willpower to put down if I was faced with a whole one.
Yes, have one extra glass of fizz than you normally would and yes, it’s ok to have an extra dessert once in a while. But when food is this good, it’s best to take your time to savour it and enjoy every mouthful.
That, coupled with excellent service, wonderful musical entertainment and the most fabulous, happy vibe we were soaking up from the people around us, we had reason to celebrate. It was the weekend, and we’d just enjoyed one of the best bottomless brunches out there. With five-star quality.
Until next time x
The Montagu Restaurant, The Hyatt Regency – The Churchill, 30 Portman Square, London, W1H 7BH
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