Ever since we moved to Bangalore, we’ve been staying at Ibis hotel and one word to recapitulate our experience so far- outstanding. From the very first day we checked into the hotel, greeted by Nithin at the front office to the restaurant managers. Funny thing, every day felt like a day at a college hostel- waking up and being greeted with a smile by the folks at the front desk. Once we walk into the in-house restaurant Spice-It, the restaurant manager Avinash accompanies us to our usual table. We are then served by possibly the best crew I’ve ever experienced- Arbinda, Ravi, Sonjay, Kanti to name a few of them. To top if off, Chef Suresh’s timely visit to our table, to ensure the food is delicious and consistently checking with us if anything can be done to make the food experience better.
The very day we checked-in to Ibis hotel, we were introduced to their concept of ‘The Lazy Saturday Brunch’ at Spice-It. The non-alcoholic buffet was priced at INR 699 but believe me, when you have a look at the spread you wouldn’t have guessed the price. The range of appetizers, soups, entrée and not to forget the elaborate array of desserts make you wonder, how can it be just 699? I couldn’t help myself but, give them a well-deserved 4 stars on Zomato. At times, I do have my way with words (wink) and Yaman Rai, the Manager of Banquet Sales and Operations for Novotel Hotel& Resorts, invited me to the widely-liked Sunday Brunch at Novotel. Wow! Now, you may ask me Ibis to Novotel? How are they related? OK, Ibis and Novotel are brands from the same hotel group- AccorHotels. Ibis hotel is one of the economy brands of AccorHotels and also represents Accor’s largest portfolio of hotels with about 1000+ hotels in 60+ countries. Whereas, Novotel is their midscale brand with a little more than 400+ hotels. We were staying at the Ibis hotel at Bengaluru Techpark, which also housed Novotel. The Sunday Brunch was held in two of Novotel’s in-house restaurants/cafe- The Square and Chez Nous.
Sunday Brunch spread at Novotel is massive to say the least- grandeur is the word for it. Novotel has elevated the concept of a buffet brunch by introducing all-Live food counters. A Live Sushi Counter, an Asian Soup Station, a Stir Fry Counter, Grills & Wood fired Pizza counter, an Indian curry counter, a Live Pasta Counter, Dr. Sami’s laboratory (I’ll talk about this) and an elaborate Dessert section. Yeah! Your totally spoilt of choices-I spent the first 30-45 mins trying to figure out how and where do I start? It was only after Dr. Sami’s cocktails started to kick in, I came to my senses and followed my taste buds. You ask- who is Dr. Sami? The Dr. title is an under-statement; Sami is a genius in the art of formulating mocktails and cocktails.
We all know that cocktails are a blend of two or more ingredients (mostly alcoholic) but when the cocktails are served to us, it is just one drink by itself. Let me explain- say for example you order a Cuba Libre, which is a cocktail made from dark rum, cola and a tinge of lime or lemon cordial. Now when you take a sip, you get the flavor of rum, cola and lime as a whole. But, what if you were provided with three separate glasses (not possible), with dark rum, cola and lemon cordial in each of them. Now, if you were to hold three straws and sip all of them at once- wouldn’t that give a different feel (or should I say, a kick). You may say- Why make it awkward with three glasses? Now, that is where the concept of de-constructed glasses takes stage. In one of the above pictures do you notice the weird looking apparatus (like a pseudo-conical flask)– this contains one ingredient of the cocktail, then notice another section within the flask which holds the other ingredient. A straw, dipped into each of the ingredients and when you sip them together- it creates an amazing kick! The rush of both the ingredients in your mouth is an experience in itself. Initially, you may find it a little difficult to sip them together but in a matter of minutes you start to enjoy it and want more!
While Sami was busy formulating cocktails with his assistant Pappu (another dude with a tray full of cocktails), Herwin and myself continued to visit the live food counters and order more food. Some of them that I recall we thoroughly enjoyed were the Spicy Salmon Sushi with Roe, the grilled Beef preparation and the simple Bak Choy and chicken stir fry noodles. A special mention for the beef; it was succulent, juicy and I learnt that the produce is imported- the taste justifies it. As for the live Sushi counter; I second to what my foodie friend exclaimed- “The stuff of dreams!”.
Herwin ordered a Thai-flavoured soup from the Soup Station which was lip-smacking good- the flavor of lemon grass was amazing. We were starting to feel incapacitated (from all the delicious food) and before it got any worse, we decided to visit the Dessert section which was served at another in-house restaurant just meters across from The Square- called Chez Nous.
Like Ibis Hotel, Novotel more than amazed me with their array of delectable desserts. All the dessert were heavenly- special mention for the Creme Brulee, the Pineapple Custard Tart. For all you Gelato lovers, here is the thing- Novotel make their own in-house Gelato. This is why the Gelato served here would be a little more smooth in consistency compared to others. They also have an adequate set of flavors to compliment it- one scoop and you’ll know what a fabulous job they have done. By the time we finished licking the Gelato off the spoons, it was already 3.30 pm and we decided to call it a day.
I cant help but thank all the chefs, restaurant managers and servers who ensured we had an incredible experience of the Novotel Sunday brunch. A special call out to Armaan, Akshay, Chef Aniket for taking the time to explain the whole concept of the Sunday Brunch at Novotel and providing more information on where and how they acquire their produce. From an old-school foodie’s perspective, this is by far the best brunch I have had till date. The previous best (which I don’t mind mentioning) would again be a Sunday Brunch at N-Grill, Hyderabad.