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A Sunday brunch fit for a king is sometimes well worth it, finds RAHUL VERMA

My Sunday lunches are not very heavy. After a late Saturday, I generally find comfort in rice and dal, with potato fries cooked in the Bengali way. But once in a while a Sunday lunch can get hectic. Like the other day, when we got invited to Park Hotel in Delhi for a Sunday brunch. It was one of those lazy days — the sun was strong, yet benign enough for us to sit outside by the pool. It was the beginning of a Sunday brunch scheme started by Park, so quite a few journalists were there with their families. A flea market of sorts had been set up — stalls had been put all around the open area, to keep children and others occupied.

There were a couple of swings, a potter making shapes, curios on sale and so on. You could hear the laughter of children amidst all the sizzling of food. I have to say here that I wasn’t paying. But if you have not been affected by the so-called melt down, or your rich uncle insists on taking you out, I would suggest that you try out the Park brunch. It comes for Rs.2250 plus taxes – but the food is unlimited, as is liquor. Eat and drink till you are ready to drop, hail a cab (if you have reached that stage where you find it difficult to say the British Constitution) and go back home and sleep till Monday morning.

Crispy chaat

We started with the chaat — for there was a chaat counter right behind us. The golgappas were spicy and tart, and the palak ka chaat was excellent — crispy and soft at the same time. There was an aloo chaat and a sumptuous raj kachori.

The snacks included prawn satay, feta cheese in fried flour pockets and pesto chicken in wraps. I liked the cheese triangles and the pesto chicken. There was a south India grill too, and the Malayali friend in our group of six had a crisp dosa shaped like a dunce cap. We decided to forgo the soups — tomato pudina shorba and chicken and thyme soup — and went straight for the salad counter. This looked wonderfully appetizing, and we helped ourselves to all kinds of delicious stuff — from smoked salmon, stuffed lamb leg, chicken with grilled pineapple, smoked duck with papaya and prawn cocktail to asparagus with parmesan and broccoli with chilly garlic. Someone tried out the pasta and the sushi. And we had several plates of prawn dimsums. But by then I was full — so full that I didn’t even venture anywhere near the entrée section.

In fact, nobody at our table ate any of the main dishes which I later heard included a duet of salmon and prawns, roast tenderloin with balsamic jus, bhuna gosht, methi malai murgh, Thai chicken curry, mushroom stuffed zucchini timbale, fennel flavoured vegetable stew, wok tossed greens, makkai palak and paneer. The trouble with a huge selection of food is the fact that you can’t really do justice to everything.

The dessert platter had everything from tiramisu to black currant and rum cheese cake, yoghurt and blue berry mini swiss roll, white chocolate and black cherry pudding and so on. I had a passion fruit and chocolate mousse and decided to call it a day.

Actually, I ended up having a wonderful time. The weather was great, the company was stimulating, and the food was out of this world. Next Sunday, however, I am going to go happily back to dal-chawal.

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