Let’s face it, no matter how big your eyes, appetite or capacity, there’s only so much the average person can eat – which is a dreadful shame, considering the decadent spreads that are so typical of Sunday brunches. That calls for a tactical approach long before diving into the feast, no matter how tempting the treats. You can thank me later.
A proper brunch strategy starts with reconnaissance. That means a walk around the various cooking stations and food displays, carefully observing what’s on offer and making mental notes. There’s absolutely no way you can fit it all in, so this is the time to indulge in only the rarest and best quality items you don’t get to eat every day. Things like rice, bread, pasta and potatoes are simply too filling anyway. Why would you want to fill your tummy with carbohydrates if that space could be taken up by other more delectable items? There’s nothing quite as horrible as post-brunch-regrets, and carbs are oftentimes to blame.
Before we continue on the topic of brunch strategy, here’s another important consideration… Some folks think that skipping breakfast or even dinner the previous night means they would be able to eat so much more. That’s a myth because, in reality, your stomach would shrink, thereby decreasing your normal capacity. It’s much more advisable to speed up your metabolism pre-brunch by eating regular, little meals and drinking lots of water.
A stroll around the brunch set-up at Brasserie Europa quickly reveals what I’m in for today. The salad bar is a vegetarian’s feast with a choice of freshly made salads, composed salads (I counted nine different types, including roasted vegetables); a Thai corner with a selection of Northern Thai appetisers, yum salads and cured fish; a selection of around a dozen cheeses; seafood on ice, including Canadian lobster Alaska King Crab and at least three kinds of oysters; a carving station with all the usual suspects; a pasta station; a charcuterie section; a Japanese corner; and a desert table with all sorts of heavenly treats. I also spot a soft-serve ice cream machine – and try to remember the last time I saw one of those…
As if all these options are not already enough, there’s also a choice of made-to-order little dishes, which get my nod of approval. They’re tasty little portions that come beautifully presented in miniature copper pans with a burner underneath to keep it warm. The menu on this particular Sunday includes Wagyu Beef Medallion, Australian Lamb, Pan-fried Foie Gras, Halibut, Alaskan King Crab, Italian Pork Rind Sausage and
Seared Tuna Loin. No matter how hard I tried, I could not fit them all in – but of the dishes I did try the steamed halibut fillet with zucchini caviar, spicy tapenade and lemon oil was a scrumptious treat with flavours that linger on.
On a lazy Sunday like this – especially after a few glasses of bubbles – it’s nice not to even have to get up from the table to fall in line for the crab legs (god forbid).
When it comes to brunch (and I admit I’m biased), if it doesn’t come with champagne, it doesn’t count. The freeflow option here, Louis Roederer Brut Premier NV, is blend of around 40 percent Pinot Noir, 40 percent Chardonnay, and 20 percent Pinot Meunier, aged for three years in Louis Roederer’s cellars and left for a minimum of six months after dégorgement (disgorging). It strikes a perfect balance between youthfulness and maturity, seduction and character, freshness and vinosity – making it easy to sip all afternoon long and especially well paired with shellfish.
The drinks menu also includes Johnnie Walker Gold Label, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon house wines (neither of which I can recommend), beer, a variety of classic cocktails, soft drinks, juices, coffee and tea.
Another important brunch tip: always, always remember to leave space for dessert – unless of course you don’t have a sweet tooth at all. Again, the choices at the dessert corner are exhausting, from a dark chocolate fountain, chocolate sundaes made to order and an ice cream and sorbet corner, to a vast selection of sinfully sweet pastries, cupcakes, brownies, tarts and cakes. Hands-down my personal favourite is the steamed chocolate pudding with stewed cherries, because it brings back such fond childhood memories of my grandmother visiting from Europe and preparing a very similar pudding.
If you’re more of a fruit person after a big meal, there’s also a selection of beautifully sliced Asian fresh fruits.
Compliments to the team from Brasserie Europa, both those in the kitchen and the waiting staff. At no time during the four-and-a-half hours did any of the food stations look lacking or neglected, nor did we need to ask for glasses to be topped up or dirty plates to be removed.
Brunch at Brasserie Europa is a veritable, bona fide feast of flavours, quality produce and outstanding service that does the tradition proud. In the words of Sebastian de Vizcaya, director of food and beverage: “Small is beautiful… but when it comes to food, more is better.”
(Served from 12.30-5pm, the brunch is prices at 3,500 Baht ++ with free-flow alcohol package, and 2,400 Baht ++ for the non-alchohol package.)