It’s been about six months since I’ve actually written about one of the delightful over-indulgent Sunday brunches that many of us know and love so darn much. However, last Sunday I was at the tail end of a much needed spa weekend, away to clear my head and unwind and focus on finishing my first book. Well, I was so impressed and fell so coo coo in love with the brunch at Palette at Vivanta by Taj, Yeshwantpur that I just couldn’t resist the opportunity to talk it up!
As usual, I arrived before my Indian buddy who was running on Indian Standard Time and not Actual Time so I sat myself down and let the games begin. Like the famous line from the 1996 film Jerry Maguire, “they had me at hello…would you like Champagne with your brunch?” Ahhhh, music to my ears. The Vivanta by Taj Whitefield also serves Piper and Taj West End serves Moët & Chandon. And both Champagnes are a million times better than the sparkling wine that so many spots in town serve at brunch, which is always a disappointment. Unfortunately, like every brunch in town, the Champagne – or sparkling wine – wasn’t chilled enough and it wasn’t until the second glass that I was able to enjoy a perfect flute full. From now on I think what I’ll do is ask that the bottle chill in the ice bucket for 10 minutes before they serve it, which should do the trick with the temperature.
Since I had been a guest at the hotel since Friday at noon, I had eaten at the restaurant a couple of times already. The food there is amazing. The décor is modern and open and bright and they’ve setup the buffet zones in really lovely way around a glassed-in open architecture kitchen. There is special attention placed on illumination and artistic touches around the entire restaurant.
I had time to people watch for a few minutes as I sat anxiously awaiting my friend. It was really nice to see that every single member of the staff had smiles on their faces, even the kitchen team looked busy though happy there behind the scenes. It looked like every table was full of VIPs by the way the staff treated everyone – but you know that can’t be possible so it just goes to show that every guest is treated like royalty there. I can certainly vouch for that…as we were treated to incredible service. Our Champagne glass was always refilled before the glass was empty and before we had to ask for it. The staff was also great at refreshing our cutlery when we went off for more food.
I was told that the entertainment varies from week to week. There was a talented male singer belting out some amazing tunes when I was there from 12:45 – 3:30. He played a mix of current mainstream songs along with classic rock and country that transported me back to when I was a little girl and in my teens. He sang songs like Rhinestone Cowboy, Hotel California, Summer of ’69 and more, and genuinely had a great voice!
Once my friend arrived I headed straight for the cheese counter. I spoke to the executive chef and he advised me that they are going to expand the selection of cheese to 15 international cheeses – he said it would be a paradise for cheese connoisseurs and will knock my socks off. I look forward to checking it out. At the moment, when I was there, they offered cheddar, buffalo mozzarella, creamy feta, burrata (an Italian style cheese produced locally in Bangalore), brie (it wasn’t opened but package was there), one that is a semi-dry manchego-style cheese, and cheese slices rolled into a tube. The mozzarella, feta and burrata were all excellent, fresh, creamy and delicious. However, the pre-cut slices of the others had edges that were curled a bit and slightly darkened but I was assured that once the new ‘cheese connoisseurs’ zone launches that the cheese will no longer be pre-sliced.
Now, one of my two favourite things about Palette’s Sunday brunch was definitely the fresh sushi counter. They offer up tuna, salmon, prawns, and crab makis and nigiris as well as veg options like spicy cucumber. They even had a non-traditional non-veg option that I’d never seen before, crispy chicken. I didn’t try it but it seems like a good way to ease “new to sushi” guests into trying sushi for the first time. Another thing I’d never seen before but makes total sense in India was the accompaniment of chili power next to the freshly cut ginger and wasabi. It made me giggle because it is completely foreign to the world of sushi but I can see that it is definitely a requirement for India, where most non-spicy items are not going to be appreciated by the Indian palette. The quality of the sushi is excellent and the wasabi was the correct consistency – unlike many places in town where it is creamier and not authentic at all. It was fun to eat with chop sticks at brunch for a change!
They offer up a section with diverse international Tapas like octopus that I think is just wonderful and it is the first time I’ve seen it in Bangalore – it was tender and yummy. They also have fish fingers with sour cream, chicken lollipops, tiny tender lamb chops and more … all spiced up a bit for the Indian palette and delicious.
The cold cuts section was minimal but the pepperoni was excellent, do try it!
In total they have six fresh stations outdoors, including:
- Shawarmas, which were the best in town, slightly sweet, and prepared in tiny pitas
- Tandoori section with perfectly spiced chicken and tender, lamb tikka
- Fresh stir fry
- Fish and chips, pav bhaji
- Kebabs and more…
They have one mobile station that prepares fresh salad. A sweet guy will come to the table to whip up a tossed salad from a variety of assorted ingredients and dressings. My salad was delicious, with 2 types of lettuce, yummy creamy feta, tomatoes, olives, capers and more.
Last but not least they have two fresh indoor stations featuring Japanese and Italian cuisine. Obviously I am a huge fan of the sushi station! The Italian station serves either veg or non-veg pizza or penne pasta with a choice of either alfredo (cream and cheese) or pomodoro (tomato) sauce. Yum yum!
Their fresh-baked breads are great, and even include diverse types of papadam like one with crackled pepper in it. They sit alongside the ample dips section. This was the first brunch I’ve seen that doesn’t serve hummus but instead serves a sort of hybrid hummus/babaganoush that was really tasty.
I don’t know if I’m turning more Indian lately or what the heck is going on but I am proud as hell to announce that the Chaat Zone was an equal tie for 1st with the sushi as my favourite part of the brunch. I went crazy there! The curd rice was lovely. They serve pafdi chaat, which I’d never seen before and is a mix of vegetables, herbs and spicy snacky bits that is sweet but with a typical Indian kick that I really liked. BUT the Dahi Vaada was amazing, if you don’t know it you’ve got to try it! I can easily see it being my new favourite comfort food. It’s divine, like a salty donut soaking in a tasty sweet and spicy sauce.
When you’re there try the mami mushroom salad, the pineapple curry and fried idly! These were all new for me so extra exotic. Also, give the Couscous with cheese wrapped in a Chinese green cabbage leaf a try, it is delicious.
There were so many desserts that I will have to go back two or three times to try them all. The presentation is just lovely, and they even have a chocolate fountain (which I still go coo coo for even at my age!). My favourites were:
- Cheese Clafoutis – OMG! What an amazing delight, this was by far my favourite. They explained it is a specialty of the house, slightly crunchy and surprising and full of delicious flavour
- Peanut butter mouse cake – incredible, with crunchy bits of sweetened peanut butter clusters and baked in a cookie crust
- Malai rasgula was great
- Chocolate gateaux – delectable, light and airy
The Kids Club has two French girls watching over and playing with the kids. There were boys playing cricket in a small courtyard and smaller children playing and drawing when I walked by. They are expanding the Kids Club soon so I will report back with more on that later.
All in all, it is simply an amazing brunch. And at the moment the price to value ratio for Champagne Brunch is absolutely the best in town given they have so much on offer, including the ample amount of fresh stations.
Vivanta by Taj Yeshwantpur @ Palette website: http://www.vivantabytaj.com/Yeshwantpur-Bangalore/Dining/Palette-Restaurant.html
Opening times: 12:30 – 4pm
Coo Coo for Cheese 5-star rating: 3*
What I liked best: They serve Champagne! The Chaat station and the fresh sushi (went back for seconds on the sushi!). The presentation of the dessert is wonderful. Every staff member has a big smile and offers up amazing service.
What I liked least: No outdoor seating because the outdoor stations are setup where the outdoor seating normally is – there are still a couple of tables outside but the smells from the stations would permeate clothes and skin and doesn’t seem like a viable option at the moment. The selection of cheese. The tiramisu didn’t taste at all like rum or Kailua, nor did it have cocoa atop it.
Cost: There are two options at Palette, one for the boozy brunch goers, serving Piper Champagne, Big Banyon sauvignon blanc or shiraz, Kingfisher Blue, spirits, cocktails, shots, and more. And one for those looking for the healthier option, with fresh fruit juices, mocktails and soft drinks.
- Champagne Brunch: food and all beverages plus unlimited Piper-Heidsieck Brut Champagne that is opened in the moment and placed in an ice bucket at the table for Rs. 1750 + tax
- Vivanta Brunch: Food and all non-alcoholic beverages for Rs. 1450 + tax
- Kids Brunch (ages 5 to 12): Rs. 625 + tax
TAKE MY ADVICE, one Sunday treat yourself to the brunch and pair it with some “me time” with their spa offer! Just remember one thing…because of spa rules you would have to enjoy a Champagne-free brunch because no one is allowed into the spa who has been drinking alcohol. But it doesn’t matter because the spa and pool combo make it BEYOND worth it! They offer:
- Sunday brunch
- Full access to the pool
- Full access to the wet areas of the spa that include the sauna, steam room, and the coolest “Experiential” Showers that simulate either being in the Rain Forrest or in a Storm with lights, aromas and water
- A one hour deep tissue or aromatherapy massage
- …all for just Rs. 5,500 + tax
(reviewer Angela Carson)