I typically favour simpler brunches – something kitchy and cool, with homemade yoghurt and pancakes and endless mugs of coffee. You know the kind of place?…the one with braided rugs and probably a cat sleeping on the window sill, where I can turn up in some well-worn khaki’s and sandals and pillow-mussed hair. But every now again, it is simply necessary to go all out for the show-stopping, dress-and-high-heel-wearing, and yes-not-only-did-I-brush-my-hair-but-I-am-wearing-lipstick kind of brunch….the 5-star hotel champagne Sunday brunch!
A quite obvious choice for such an occasion is the Four Seasons Hotel on Rajadamri Road in Bangkok. In the center of the city, the Four Seasons is a colonial oasis tucked up on a hill away from the honking cars and pollution of Ploenchit Road. To visit the Four Seasons for any reason is to be transported into a world where understated elegance abounds. Yet aside from the rather subtle cues of elegance including overstuffed high-back chairs, an abundance of white potted orchids and white-gloved porters…make no mistake people, the Sunday brunch is all about gluttony.
The Four Seasons brunch features many international food stations and sprawls from multiple dining rooms into the courtyard and yes even into the pool. Stations range from a seafood bar overflowing with crab, lobster, river prawns and such…to American, Thai, Japanese, Chinese, Italian and Middle Eastern stations. My personal favourite is the foie gras station where seared foie gras is prepared to order. And of course, the brunch usuals are present – a robust cheese selection, bakery fresh bread selection, and an omelette station. But my personal advice would be to skip the usual suspects and go with seared foie gras, teppanyaki beef, the custom risotto station, steamed giant crab claws and made-to-order Crepes Suzette. I am personally not a fan of caviar and smoked lox, but my Swedish friend Ana is, and she swears by these two offerings at the Four Seasons. I just like to join her at the caviar station for the sheer spectacle of it – a Thai man stands in black thigh-high rubber boots in the courtyard pool serving the caviar from icy mother-of-pearl dishes. And Paul wanted me to be sure to tell you that the sashimi is superb, really notable in its freshness and quality for a buffet.
My only criticism is the quality of the champagne served. While it is widely known as a champagne brunch, they in fact serve…gasp…sparkling wine! And a sort of average sparking wine at that – rather disappointing showmanship given the level of detail and planning they put into other aspects of the brunch. I mean they could step up their game with a relatively inexpensive Italian Prosecco or a Spanish Cava, but…in the end, after a few glasses, maybe we stopped noticing.
All in all, I would recommend the Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok brunch. At 2,350THB ++ is really is not a bad deal considering the quality and quantity of the food presented. And if you are like me, I simply cannot find room for dinner after these extravaganzas, so when I do it, it serves as my main meal of the day.
A few tips to make brunch even more enjoyable:
• Make a reservation: there would be nothing worse than showing up in your Sunday-best and being in a cramped corner of the room, or worse yet with no seat at all. Ask for the courtyard area as this is where most of the action is. Besides, it just feels decadent to sit with legs crossed on a cushy sofa drinking champagne and nibbling lobster under the cover of palm fronds.
• Wear something festive: this does not mean fancy necessarily….I like to wear a summery dress and heels while Paul likes to wear one of his favourite tailored shirts, jeans and black loafers.
• Come with friends: take advantage of the party-like atmosphere of free-flowing champagne by bringing some friends. Good friends are great, but by the end of a 3-4 hour feast of food and bubbly, anyone will probably be a close friend by the time you leave.
• Don’t make any other plans for the day: If you can, skip breakfast and don’t make any afternoon plans. To truly savor the experience you will want to be empty of stomach and not rushed with time. And who knows if you will feel like doing much of anything after a few mid-day cocktails.
11.00hr – 15.00hr, contact Madison restaurant for reservations