In Bangkok, Sunday brunch has become a serious subculture in its own right. From stylish socialites to power couples and families with toddlers in tow, everyone’s seeking the perfect way to end their week in what has proved to be one of the city’s most enduring dining trends. It’s arguably the one meal of the week when no-one’s rushed for time, and unadulterated indulgence is typically the order of the day.
As soon as one steps foot off the elevator on the 34th floor of Park Hyatt Bangkok, you immediately feel right at home. Penthouse Bar + Grill is designed to resemble the home of an affluent friend – a worldly traveller who has a penchant for bright open spaces flushed with plenty of natural light streaming through windows, an al fresco terrace from where to take in the cityscape, and a luxe, art deco-inspired interior filled with collectibles.
The brunch set-up here, too, is unlike any other we’ve seen in the city. Forget racing for plates and replace typical elbow bumping buffet lines with food sections that have been thoughtfully spread throughout the restaurant. Take the first left from the foyer and head straight to the heart of this home, the kitchen, an area that is definitely not off limits. The lengthy space is the real kitchen from where dishes are churned out, and also where guests can make their own omelets or pancakes, if they feel like throwing on an apron.
The smell of warm bread fills the air as we interact with chef de cuisine Andrew Dickie and his team who quickly whip up a cheese and herb-filled egg white frittata while we peruse through the offerings here. Across from the stove-tops are counter spaces with such entrées as creamy lobster bisque, sweet and savoury pancakes, cheeses and cold cuts, sandwiches and burgers, salads, as well as oysters.
Seated in the main dining area or the living room, as I like to call it, we dive into this soiree with a refreshing concoction of gin and tonic with lemon and berries, in addition to a smorgasbord of appetisers comprised of shrimp with mango salsa, calamari and freshly shucked New Zealand oysters. Serenading us into the brunch spirit were American acoustic duo, the Selby Brothers, whose folksy tunes tied symphonically well with the laid-back ambience of the room.
For round two, I was definitely in the mood for a Bloody Mary, a perennial staple on brunch menus the world over, which incidentally also paired well with a range of cheeses, crackers, homemade relishes, and beef tartare. A collective favourite at the table was the pork terrine, made obvious when some us went in for second and third helpings. The sublime appetiser comprised layers of differing tastes, textures and seasoning that culminated in a very rustic taste, much like grandma’s recipe.
By the time we were ready to devour our mains, the energy in the restaurant was soaring – the music upbeat and brunchers filled all corners of the eatery. This joie de vivre could also be credited to the flutes of Billecarte- Salmon champagne that had made several rounds at the table. We accompanied this with a decadent mélange of surf and turf mains such as pan-seared foie gras, scallop au gratin, carved beef, salmon steak, maple pork chop and a fiery peri peri chicken. The dishes come hot off the grill, a relief from the usually cold servings rolled out at many establishments.
The sweet ending to this indulgent afternoon comes at the hands of Pastry Chef Kevin Lee’s creative desserts, which takes over an entire room at the farthest end of the kitchen. The space, which is a private dining room by night, is converted into a confectionary heaven for the Sunday brunch, with something even for the most discerning of palates. We’d recommend the Penthouse Cheesecake, freshly-baked jumbo chocolate chip cookies, cherry mouse, moist chocolate cake and of course, if there’s still room a visit to the milk shake and sundae station with a soft-serve machine.
Some four hours later, our feast was drawing to its finale. And what better way to round-up our week with a few more clinks of bubblies, sky-high above the city.
(The Sunday brunch is available from 11.30am to 3.30pm, and is priced at 2,490 Baht ++ for food and soft drinks; 3,490 Baht ++ for food, free-flow Prosecco, wines and curated drinks and 4,990 Baht ++ for food, free-flow Champagne, Prosecco, wines and other beverages, respectively). To find out more, visit hyatt.com.