Pondicherry Cafe - Appreciate the Good Life!


Highlighting the luxury of choice, Sofitel BKC Mumbai assures that you don't leave with even an inch of space in your stomach, as it spreads a magnanimous Sunday brunch which will engage all your senses

By: Karishma Suri

Posted on: March 19, 2013

Highlighting the luxury of choice, Sofitel BKC Mumbai assures that you don’t leave with even an inch of space in your stomach, as it spreads a magnanimous Sunday brunch which will engage all your senses.

The notion of a ‘lazy’ Sunday has made place for a popular concept known as ‘Sunday Brunch’. Leisure at its best, the concept signifies the simple three Fs of life – family, friends and food. With a variety of fine dining restaurants holding all-you-can-eat Sunday brunch buffets, with most including the option of unlimited alcohol as well, the choice to be made could be a difficult one! Much of the pleasure of living in Mumbai is the varied options to choose from when it comes to satiating any craving. Where does one go for a perfect mix of all cuisines that can tickle the appetite while having a good time? In first place comes the brunch at Pondicherry Café, Sofitel BKC Mumbai, due to its ability to offer each family member something substantial.

An extravagant affair starting from 12 noon, going on till sunset, prepare yourself for a gastronomic journey and unparalleled enthusiasm, which reaches out and awakens your appetite God. With a chance to let your hair down and spend time on culinary adventures, what more can you ask for? Stroll along delicious counters and sample varied cuisines in an extensive buffet spread, ranging from Continental, Asian and Indian to Mediterranean, or take a drink at a cocktail subway while your little ones entertain themselves at a kid’s area (with air hockey, nail painting, carom, foosball, sculpting, PlayStation, etc). It’s simple. You have a chance to be lethargic and lounge while indulging and savouring over 120 items from the buffet spread. This 178-cover restaurant’s interiors are done up with a relaxed format of seating and offers two private dining areas. Situated at the centre of the hall, is a wine tower about 20 feet high, displaying over 2,000 bottles of select wines from varied origin.

Take your place
As you take your seat at the table, your server will offer you a glass of champagne (if you opt for the alcohol buffet), as you open out your napkin and place it on your lap. The Sunday Brunch offers unlimited made-to-order martinis, Sula sparkling wine, imported and Indian beer, mocktails and a glass of champagne. As you munch on a bread basket that comes warm from the bread counter, you will also be introduced to the cocktail subway station (situated at the entrance) by your server, and it will take some restraint on your part to not jump and skip to this exciting (and extremely busy counter) almost immediately. Let me explain why. Guests can unleash their creativity by making their own concoctions using the freshest fruits, spices, condiments and spirits. So whether it is a strawberry, vodka and basil cocktail that will quench your thirst or a grape, rum and cinnamon one, rest assured that you will leave the property in happy spirits.

Once your drink is done and ready, make your way to the salad section. The options are endless, and one is literally spoilt for choice, so select wisely as there is only so much that your stomach can take! Choose from something as simple as a Caesar salad or head over to the Salsa bar where you can make your own salsa. I sampled a salsa of kiwi, pomegranate, apple and lime juice, and the knock of flavour was refreshing and a perfect way to beat the summer heat! There is also a Carpaccio bar and a Seafood bar, but I could feel the other foods calling out my name, so I gave it a pass. They also have detox drinks for the calorie-conscious, and thus, there was an option between spinach and apple, orange, and celery. Juice lovers can treat themselves to fresh juices – try the delicious orange, green apple and kiwi combination. There is also a Terrine counter for those who appreciate French food (terrine is similar to a pâté, made with more coarsely chopped ingredients, usually served cold), and be amazed as a chef encourages you to give it a try, and explains the dish and even the history of it! Impressed by this, I had the curried potato cakes (it had a zing of flavour, but one may not appreciate it being cold) and the stuffed Tofu puff with sweet and spicy sauce (too salty as per my taste). Non-vegetarians can sample the Salmon en croute or the Chicken terrine which, when requested warm, will melt in the mouth. Other options to choose from are Cajun crab and quinoa cake with artichoke mousse (make sure you request them heated up, otherwise it gets too chewy), scallops in red pepper coulis, and Lamb and red cabbage salad amongst others. There are also cold cuts that can be paired up with any seasoning or dips to your liking. The chicken is a bit grainy, but that is how they make it.

Another step
Moving along the layout, it was time for some mezze, with Hummus, Labneh, Fatoush and Pita bread laid out. The hummus had a perfect consistency while the pita bread was fresh, and the ‘snap’, when I broke it, signified it was crunchy!

If your palate craves a tangy and spicy twist, treat yourself to the chaat counter. Avoid the dahi puri as the dahi lacks salt and the puri is slightly soft, but the sev puri makes up where the former falls short. South Indian food lovers can savour crispy vegetarian appams and banana dosas with varieties of lip smacking chutneys and curries. The appams are absolutely delicious, and you will find yourself finishing it quick, but the dosa is not something everyone would appreciate because of the strong banana taste. The Indian counter has Lassoni Palak, Dum aloo, Fish curry and Murgh Bahar amongst other delicacies to be had with freshly prepared crisp naans. The Hare mutter ki shaami with raita can be given a miss because it is ice cold and thus tasteless. Other live counters here included a Grill counter where I sampled tandoori vegetables (extremely spicy so ask them to take it easy), Chicken doner kebabs (can be given a miss because the chicken is chewy and undercooked), Dumba Biryani, Grilled asparagus and poached egg with béarnaise, Kombadi wada, and pan seared Foie Gras parfait. The grilled chicken and fish is pumped with a sweet and sour sauce, but yet again, the fish was undercooked, so ask them to pay attention to it.

To the world and back
Heading over to the Pizza and Calzone section (made-to-order), I ordered a vegetarian pizza with mushrooms, onions and bell peppers. I usually like my pizza to be well-sauced and baked because it adds to the taste, but that wasn’t the case here. The winners in this section were the pastas that were probably flown down from Italy. Penne in tomato sauce, Macaroni in Pesto Sauce and Spaghetti in Alfredo Sauce were incredible and I found myself to be at a loss of words to describe how perfect they were!

Making my way to the sushi section, I felt like I was in Japan, because of the sensational smells that tantalise all your senses. There was California maki roll with avocado salsa, Tomato negri with baba ganoush gukan maki rolls, Tuna and takwan with salmon ekura and Oyster bar with two types of salsa. But not being an avid sushi lover, I moved past to the Asian section, where I ordered for stir fry vegetables and stir fry noodles with extra sauce. Both were extremely tasteful with perfect Chinese seasoning, but there is no variety of sauces to choose from (only one soya garlic sauce). Other alternatives vying for the title of ‘best dish’ were Yan chow fried rice, burnt chilli brandy prawns, and Shitake mushrooms, tofu and Asian greens in oriental dry red chilli sauce.

Sweet nothings
Take a moment to notice the lighting and the temperatures at the buffet which is well synergised with the food. The lighting brings out the vibrant and delightful colours of the dishes and the large, life-size windows allow ample daylight to pour in, giving the place a cosy and welcoming look.

Before waving goodbye to Sofitel, culminate your gastronomic journey by indulging in a sinful selection of desserts like Gâteaux de meringue de chocolate, Coriander de meringue bavarois, Linzer cake with homemade strawberry jam, Baileys cheese cake and saffron crème brule which will be sure to leave you replete. A personal recommendation – try the strawberry cobbler (consisting of a fruit or savoury filling poured into a large baking dish and covered with a batter, biscuit, or pie crust before being baked), and you will be on sweet cloud number 7. Amongst others that caught my eye were the snail pastry, truffle cookies, chocolate berry tart, crumbled profit rolls and pink macaroons with berries. They also serve ice creams, but they aren’t on display, so ask for it to complement any of the desserts.

Conclusion
Taking place every Sunday, Pondicherry Café orchestrates an energetic and fulfilling dining experience amidst dramatic Indo-European interiors offering a relaxed, luxury atmosphere in well-lit open spaces. Plus points are abundant space to move around the tables and the food stations, a variety of cuisines under one roof, and interactive, helpful chefs who heighten the entire experience. However, some of the food that is meant to be hot is served cold, and also you have to frantically attract a waiter’s attention to clear up your table of the soiled crockery as they don’t do it otherwise after every course.

The Sunday Brunch at Pondichery Café aims to provide its guests with spectacular dishes on their carte du jour. The chefs and culinary team achieve this with comprehensive trainings and coaching. Under the tutelage of the best chefs, mixologists and F&B managers, the staff is educated about cooking techniques, hygienic preparation, key ingredients and even the history of each dish on the menu and the exquisite presentation of it.

The brunch provides a holistic experience for families with an array of sumptuous gourmet delicacies to choose from and manages mostly to please all your senses. The team tries to ensure that every taste is catered to as they create an unforgettable brunch experience. Managed successfully, we’d say.

Coordinates: Sofiel Mumbai BKC, C-57, Bandra Kurla Complex, Bandra (East), Mumbai
Ph : +91-22-61175000

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