Sunday Brunches are meant to be lavish but the Pan Asian ITC Sonar – Sunday brunch is gala affair. This place has never failed us and what I like the most of Pan Asian is their service, the quality of the food and the effort to make the brunch interesting week after week for repeat guests. It is a commendable feat. Yes, making a brunch and for that matter, a buffet interesting for guests week after week, is challenge for any outlet.
Three of us walked in one Sunday for the brunch at ITC Sonar. Over the years, Tugga has grown up to appreciate good food and has promises to be a gourmand, unless he is swayed by the fast, trendy modern foods, once he gets his liberty to eat outside with his friends. Pan Asian has always been on his A list of restaurants. So the excitement of experiencing the Sunday brunch was at a peak.
One of the most soft spoken Executive chefs around in the city today is Chef Vijay Malhotra at ITC. Any conversation with him will remind you of your history professor in school/college who would have all the time in world to take you on a journey with the characters of history. Sundays, Pan Asian ITC Sonar – Sunday brunch has a live Saxophone playing band and as we had the company of Chef Malhotra, the beautiful renditions of several classics lifted our mood.
Chef Malhotra started proudly with the fact that this is truly a Pan Asian restaurant. One can find gastro foot prints of Japan, China, South East Asia and the intention is to have an all round experience. Sushi is at one terminal, satay and yakitori in one terminal, teppanyaki in one terminal and the hot buffet with the pecking duck in the 4th terminal. It’s not a brunch but a food trail within the restaurant itself. The dimsum counter is on the other side of the trail with 15 different kinds of dips. As he explained, the aim is to provide a complete meal at any of the counters. One interesting trend which he highlighted is the increasing popularity of sashimi, which is the traditional Japanese way of eating raw fish in thin slices. Yes, it’s the younger generation which has contributed a lot towards popularising the same. Expat Chef Jerry Bernasol, who is master of sushi and teppanyaki has already earned his name in the city for his teppanyaki theatrics. Him at the helm of the Japanese section and Chef Pramod Sinha for the Oriental parts are the main players who are responsible for cooking and serving these delectable dishes every week.
Whats best selling at Pan Asian, ITC Sonar – brunch?
Peking Duck is the love of Kolkata. Even if Chef Malhotra hadn’t said that, we had known this earlier and that was perhaps one of the main pull factor for us. The peking duck sits on a carving station guarded by bowls of dips. Next to it is a bamboo basket with soft baos. They don’t prefer keeping the crepes in the buffet since the crepes become too soggy. Some crunchy salad greens with crispy skin duck meat and a sweet and sticky sauce enveloped by soft airy baos- what could be better than this? Chef Jerry is a wizard when it comes to satays and Teppanyaki. One can can also experience a dedicated teppanyaki where Jerry himself will take the guest through the teppanyaki experience by cooking the meal course by course along with this theatrics. Dimsums are the new craze. Baos, crystal dimsum, open dimsums to name a few, they are delicate and they are flavour bombs. Chef Malhotra confirmed the fish for Sushi are imported and only Jasmine rice is being used.
By the end of this, we had almost exhausted our appetite. Tugga had already given up and had decided to go straight for the dessert. Madhushree loitered around the main course counters wondering if she could try out something. I had to try some of the dishes, especially the South East Asian curries and a few Chinese stir fries. Needless to say, each one was made with the finest of the ingredients and showed a lot of restraint and balance in flavours. For desserts, we were simply spoilt by the choice.
There is an increasing trend of the Sunday Brunches getting rechristened as Drunch, where the cocktails and other alcohols and the offers in them are getting equal importance. However for a classic place like Pan Asian – let the Brunch remain and let the city diners enjoy the contemporary ethnic food and ambience that Pan Asian provides.
Pan Asian, ITC Sonar – Sunday Brunch– an experiential dining from the best of South East Asia, Japan and China along with a selection of alcoholic beverages (at an additional cost) and a rare occassion of a Saxophone band playing beautiful retro music. Do you know of any other place in the city where they play saxophone over a meal? Hmm, perhaps the ones playing are are one of the last few players left in Kolkata.
The Pan Asian ITC Sonar- Sunday Brunch costs Rs. 2600 plus tax with unlimited soft beverage, with an upgrade to Gold package (unlimited premium spirits) at Rs. 999 plus tax per person and an upgrade to Platinum package (unlimited super premium spirits) at Rs. 1499 plus tax per person.
We were at Pan Asian, ITC Sonar on an invitation from the management.