This festive season is all about chilly winter mornings spent beside the fire, feet up, hot cocoa in one hand and comic book in another, as the cat quietly contemplates destroying the Christmas tree in the most brutal manner possible. If that’s not your version of Christmas, the next best thing that comes pretty darn close is Courtyard by Marriott’s lazy Winter Brunch. At ₹1200++ for beer and BBQ and ₹1500++ for beer, BBQ and beyond (IMFL), it’s one of the better ways to ring in the merry season, esp. if you’re in Hinjawadi and are lazy like me about straying too far away from home/office.
It isn’t a traditional indoor setting and with good reason, too. As beautiful as the place seems at night, the daytime brings out a different charm from the cabanas and the wall art.The merry decor accents the Christmas-ey spirit, too!
We were greeted with a watermelon based mocktail which needed a bit of stirring before it went from meh to this-is-Goddamn-refreshing.
There’s also the very palatable and full-bodied Irish Red Ale from White Owl Brewery on tap, and the not-so-palatable cider which is more of apple juice with residual carbonation and a forced sweetness that just feels wrong.
Pro-tip: The Cider makes for a great base for a beer mule (ask the bartender, it’s not on the menu) and is a far better variation of the beverage than when it’s by itself.
The Vegeratian grilled platter came with –
podi-coated paneer – succulent paneer cubes that were well marinated in malagapodi chutney to balance out the meaty numbness of the paneer.
Grilled Mushroom – nice and earthy, and grilled just enough to retain the juices inside.
Skewered cheese – Morarella balls grilled on the fire that make for a meaty mouthful; not your typical bazaar-variety stringy cheese, this…but still a nice palate cleanser of sorts if you need one.
Galauti Kebab was nice and meaty, with a great balance of flavors.
Onion Rings – the best in the market, hands-down! perfectly panko-crumbed and deep fried to perfection. This is stuff that stays crispy even when it’s cold…if it manages to stay on the plate that long!
Grilled pineapple – thin pineapple slices grilled on an open fire and basted in teriyaki sauce. Apart from the onion rings, this is the one other thing we called plenty repeats on.
The Non vegetarian grilled platter came with –
Of the above –
The BBQ chicken wings were a tad chewier than I’d like them to be, but still the sticky BBQ sauce made up for it.
The butter garlic prawns were well done, mildly spicy and the greens it was garnished with accentuated the sharp flavors, well. Could’ve treated them with a little lime before grilling them, though…to kill that ‘typical seafood smell’ that puts so many of us off.
The mutton meatballs were nice and juicy, with subtle flavors that went well with the dips served on the side. The dips were more of a necessity though, for the meatballs. The seafood fishcake was nice and moist, with delicate flavors in each bite.
The Water Buffalo was grilled till tender and was glazed in Teriyaki sauce, not overpowering in any way. For someone who doesn’t have this meat regularly, I quite enjoyed it.
The next surprise was the pork sausages – super soft and just about dry. Lightly spiced again and not overpowering in any way. No ‘meaty’ smells either, just the way I like it.
Recheado fish fillets – Somehow I felt that Basa would’ve been a better choice of fish, here. The flavors were on point, though. Probably not one for everyone, IMHO.
The better among the Piri piri chicken wings and Jamaican Jerk Chicken Wings was the former, because – Piri piri. Piquant and slightly spicy trumps sweet and slightly spicy every time.
There were four ice creams to finish with, at the end of three hours and a whole lot of grills, all of which passed in what seemed like an instant. The highlights were the chocolate, chilli-dusted guava and red-wine varieties. The kulfi was good, too…just not as much.
All in all, the Winter brunch makes for a great place to catch a super relaxed 3 hour session from 12:30 to 3:30 in the comfort of a beautiful cabana and it’s around till the next month-end (January 2018) so that’s only so many Sundays left to catch it if you must.