Well guys, we only live once. And it is about time we experience the good things of life. Well that is my philosophy in the recent months…money be damned, calories? Aha! Maybe to be considered later. Imbibe and be merry. And so we were this Sunday rolling down the CHOGM road to the Fort, for a Sunday blend of roast and jazz.
Joe looked at me askance. He knew how much sweat and toil I experience after every article I write…no…no, not in the writing, but on the treadmill.It is my penance for every tasty morsel I savor. You see my doctor at every check up looks at me with soulful eyes and says…’any change?’ I guess he must have given up by now. So here I was humming…’my, my, my beautiful Sunday…’
Brunch by the Sea at Latitude. That very statement spells excitement. We walk down the corridor to be greated with music…Haydn on the keyboards. That put extra pep in my step. Up ahead the azure blue of the sea where one could sit on the terrace or the cool bliss of soaking in the blue tranquility of the restaurant ..well one could sit at any Latitude depending on your mood. So we walked into the restaurant to be greeted- besides the smiling face of the staff- by a display of attractively presented food that seemed to strech for miles. Now if you feel I am kidding let me get on with my written verbose.
Joe took full advantage of the offer- a glass of sparkling wine, slush machine, frozen Margaritas or unlimited juices(orange, apple, beetroot, carrot) lazily churning around in their dispensers. Now the menu changes every Sunday, but what I had that day should be enough for four Sunday’s at a stretch…a monthly quota, as I reassuringly explained to Joe. The sizzling sounds of the grill with the nose tickling aromas aroused our senses. We made a bee line for the place. Bajan chicken, pork chops with caramelised Banana and bacon, and chilli herb encrusted fish. Now let me tell you about a methodology involved in enjoying the buffet. The strength is that you can have an unlimited helping of the dishes that tickle your palate with no one complaining about the amount heaped on your plate, the limitation? The variety put out on display can confuse and visually fill up your stomach so you do not feel like eating more.
Rule 1-concentrate on one thing at a time-The Grill. The succulent pork chops with its wrap around bacon..Oh! La! La! And with caramelised bananas as the add on. We Goans have always enjoyed Caramelised Bananas as a tea snack, but we have never added it on to the Pork chops. Some chef in that kitchen has found the perfect mix I thought looking guilitly at the number of bones left on my plate. But the waiter tactfully cleared away my plate requesting me to help myself to more. Another favorite was the Chilli herb crusted fish. Now I have indulged in crumbfried, batterfried..but this coating left us begging for more. Mustard, garlic, chilli flakes and Parmesan cheese with a few more herbs encrusted that Modso…soft and flaky inside, crispy and crusty spice on the outside. I have run out of words to describe this feeling- stupendous. We sat back to let this digest, hoping the Magician would conjure some magic for the food to move down faster. You see we had counted over 20 items on the salad counter, not counting the BBQ ham sitting on the platter sunbathing, its bronzed appeal beckoning one and all to take a bite.
If I have to name all the dishes I would need the whole page to do so..so let me mention just a few. The Internation cheese counter with its cold meats. I made a bee line for that. Emmenthal, Brie, Cheddar, Gouda, combined with Hungarian salami, Spanish cured ham, smoked turkey, smoked salmon..bowls of olives and the breads. Sardough, walnut, rye..the bakery chefs creativity had run riot, not only in this section. Peeping onto the other side the tempting array of 8-10 desserts had me moving in that direction. Joe put a restraining hand on my arm. ‘Remember,’ he whispers, ‘one thing at a time.’
I felt like an inflated balloon and it did not help seeing the Magician’s wife blowing up cartoon ballons for the kidoos. And to keep the kids happy there was a separate kiddies buffet with all their favorites at a special price..pizzas, pom-poms, macaroni with cheese. Gosh how I wiish I was a kid again. My old childhood favorites nestled under those dishes.
I did a few mental pull ups before addressing the hot counter. The chefs behind were busy at work filling in small portions as the guests came there. So if you are thinking of big food containers-forget it. It was like having an a la carte spread. Goan, Continental, Indian…15 preparations to choose from. A word of advice. Rule No 2 If you plan to go there, please do not eat for a week. I nibbled my way through the Phaldari kebab (a minced fruit kebab with garam masala), the Kache gosht ki biryani and the white wine grilled peppers with brocolli. Efinitel no more, cause I saw the chocolate island-the fountain pouring its liquid over tempting lollipops of marshmellow and fruit…ever seen a child with his nose stuck against a glass pane looking at the goodies beyond? That was me. ‘Behave,’ Joe hissed, ‘you have a reputation to consider’.
Reputation be damned. I had made Joe stand for the photograph as the tempting array would have made me want to slip a few in my mouth if I was too close….but once at the counter it was greedy mayhem. Zesty chocolate gooey cake, sour cherry crumble cake, rum and rasin tart, banana cocnut Hawaain bread pudding…did I say 8 desserts? I had not counted the Indian varieties or the chocolate island. I stood there letting my lollipops gather the chocolate coating, my tongue running over saliva coated lips during that time.
Rule No 3. Nobody can kick you out. Go early and stay on till the buffet winds up. That is what we did. The music, entertainment and food made this Sunday a refresing experience to cope with the week ahead.