Hungover and hungry? Have guests in town? In need to impress that bourgeois babe from last night? Time to gear up for Sunday brunch. It is a little known fact that one of KohSpot’s ten commandments is baller brunches and we continually seek out the best so you can reap the rewards. Thus far, the Four Seasons was the only one to meet our ridiculously high standards for weekend gluttony. Until now….
Centara Grand brought in Chef Mikko just over a month ago with a decade of experience in London kitchens, and offers a special surf and turf champagne brunch the first Sunday of the month. The brunch features the choicest ingredients it could source, which is reflected in the whopping price of 2,995 baht++. KohSpot’s made a name for itself by purchasing overpriced products that have little value (e.g. college text books and hot air ballons in the shape of spongebob squarepants), but in this case, Centara Grand delivers the goods.
Taking place at 55F Centara Grand at Central World Plaza, which is actually on the 54th floor for some reason, the champagne Sunday brunch is something of an intimate affair. The oval room has confined seating space that adds to the exclusiveness and the view is great for spacing out if you’ve had a long Saturday night. About half of the dishes are either on carts or delivered to your table, enabling Centara Grand Champagne Brunch to add another deadly sin to the mix, sloth.
The brunch, and we think 55 restaurant in general, does not try to please all palates and focuses on what it knows best: Western cuisine. This is wise as you can get Thai food probably every bit as good as the kitchen could make on most street corners.
Having said that, if you can’t find something you like here you’re probably a 10-year-old kid or Paris Hilton. While every imaginable seafood is imported and displayed on ice in front of ice sculpture creatures of the sea, what separates this brunch from many others in the Big Mango is several of their best dishes are prepared à la minute from a menu. Snowfish fricassee with green asparagus, American scallops saltimbocca with Belota ham, truffled egg Florentine, eggs benedict with Scottish salmon—all these dishes were delicate, with sauces that did not overwhelm the main ingredient, the No.1 rule of cooking when you’re using such costly food.
Worthy of special mention is the charcoal-grilled USDA prime tenderloin, which we had with a cognac green peppercorn sauce. Several places in the capital maintain they cook with charcoal, but this was the first place where we could actually taste the charcoal, and yes, it does make a difference. As its name would suggest, it was plenty tender, but that tactile charcoal thickening really got our juices flowing.
Centara Grand has a dedicated cheese cart, another for mussels, one for Parma ham where a giant pig’s leg is theatrically displayed for customers, and another for foie gras. Foie gras is not always KohSpot’s favorite, but this was a subtle creature, topped with apples and featuring an undercurrent of cranberries.
The desserts. My oh my are they decadent. When we visited, chocolate and berries were the theme and the Valrhona chocolate was a particular draw. The French pastry chef also created shot-glass raspberry soufflés and a sabayone of Grand Marnier over berries.
Did we forget to mention free flow of Lombard champagne and assorted wines? Several chefs have told us they don’t profit from their Sunday brunches, it’s more about making a name for the hotel and an impression with customers. In this case, we’re inclined to believe Mikko.
Such a cozy atmosphere can also make for good people-watching. Of course you wouldn’t expect to see a robed monk at Bangkok’s most expensive Sunday brunch, but our disappointment quickly faded when we witnessed a foreign man berating waitresses, helping himself to a whole bottle of champagne from a tray and giving his younger ladyfriend long French kisses while standing. Good old Bangkok expats never cease to baffle the mind.
Even if you’re not a big eater and three and a half hours sounds like an indulgent time span for a meal, you’d be surprised how quickly the time passes and how much room you have when the food is this good. Follow these simples rules: 1) Don’t eat breakfast, 2) Don’t eat dinner, which you won’t have room for anyway, 3) Pace yourself, this should be enjoyable, not a sprint. Oh, and skip the bread.
The Centara Grand Sunday champagne brunch deserves to be mentioned among the best of the lot in Bangkok, and we can’t think of a better way to spend a lazy Sunday morning.
Centara Grand Sunday Champagne Brunch
Location: 55 restaurant, on floor 54 of Centara Grand, the hotel attached to CentralWorld. Follow the signs to Centara Grand, then take the elevator to the 23rd floor, then you have to switch to another elevator to get to 54.
Mass transit: BTS Chitlom
Hours: The Sunday champagne brunch is only held the first Sunday of the month, following Sundays are more toned down brunches. Reservations required.