Sunday! What a glorious day-supposedly a day of rest. But does that mean that our taste buds need one too? No way, especially when there are ‘peppy’ brunches to tease your palate. So what does a ‘brunch’ signify? Breakfast and lunch…and in one place they also served ‘trunch’…lunch and tea. Boy oh Boy- talk about combos.
So on a very empty stomach….believe me one has to plan accordingly. We moved into the lobby of the Vivanta by Taj…towards ‘Ground Zero’ – Latitude. Now one might wonder why the term ‘Ground Zero’ is used here….it was the vibrations…the deep fusion of sounds....the husky monotone of ‘Every move you make…I’ll be watching you.’ Who? Why? Watching me? I’m only here for a meal….and then I realized that ‘Ground Zero’ was the two-piece band rending the popular song…the music was echoed through the lofty atrium, feathering through the indoor palm trees creating a ‘zing’ to the afternoon.
The restaurant was full…families was my first thought. Little ones and big ones too. I take in the food display at a glance……and then the voice… ‘Chiquita, can you tell me what’s wrong?’ it was the song again but sounding so personal. ‘Nothing is wrong,’ I wanted to say, ‘but where does one start?’ Well every brunch has a plan, especially when there are house drinks included too, so there was Joe starting with a ‘vodka’ fusion and to avoid any confusion I will tell you why…
The first counter was the ‘oyster counter’. Now this is one sure innovation. Well the chef has ‘vodka shots’ ready with salt, lemon juice with tabasco. Immerse the oyster into this shot glass and then add all your favorite toppings in…chopped shallots, chives, grated egg yolk and white…’C’mon Rockefeller you have competition,’ I said to myself as Chef Sudip got ready with his mix. Slurp…Slurp…swallow whole and lick your lips….’Lucky Lips are meant for kissing.’
Wrong...should have said, ’meant for smacking,’ watching Joe ‘smack’ his lips together…but ‘Ground Zero’ was really setting the mood for the next encounter.
The salad counter….Executive Chef Gyanendra explains the health concept…sprouted beans…today it was wheat and mustard. You pick it off the ground (literally) and mix it with the dressing of your choice….vinaigrette, olive oil or even if you want to cheat a little-mayo. The whole counter gives one a health kick…twelve varieties to choose from while the chef BBQ’s on the live counter the ‘fresh’ catch of the day. Four varieties of seafood…I nibble a little. I can well believe the chef’s boast that this is a morning catch…Fresh. But if you want to really ‘splurge’…there was that song again...’Don’t tell my heart…my ikky, nikky heart’…cholesterol be dammed...there is the Oriental live counter, the pasta live counter, the Indian live counter, the Dosa live counter…remember you have more than two hours of eating time. I decided not to waste it...the ‘farfelli’ –the butterfly shaped pasta in that cheesy-cheesy sauce….even the kids would have that ‘cheesy’ grin at the end of the feast…but they too have their very own counter…with a special ladder to climb with their desserts on display.
Forget the ‘kiddo’ stuff…I looked at the full fish displayed under the hot counter. Well this was cooked Lebanese ‘style’ – Grouper marinated with fresh cilantro and lemon juice. Simple but effective! The fish flaked and melted, the lime added the tartness and the cilantro….i went through the preparation through and through. Plate wiped clean. I beamed at Chef Sudip in delight.
Food & Beverage Manager Suhash Bose has reason to smile too. Ground Zero was at it again..’Don’t worry…by happy ’ they crooned. And every guest warmed to the theme. In air conditioned comfort the food tasted all the more ‘zestful.’ I regretfully left the hot counters to focus on the food in the chaffing dishes….Lucknowi Biryani. Well I was in luck. I was dreaming of this ‘dum pukt’ preparation for days. But would it meet the test. A little nibble at the finely cooked rice grains and …..’staying alive..a..a…a..a staying alive.’ Each spice added to the preparation told its own story….and the combo a volume. I looked regretfully at the number of dishes inviting me to ‘munch’….i shook my head regretfully as I took an extra helping of the biryani. I left behind the Continental, Goan, Indian, Pan Asian…..
And then the desserts…a table of 22 delicacies and I have not added the on the spot ‘Jalebi’ and waffles if one wants to leave it for the last. I nibbled at the shahi tukda..crisp to the last, munched on the jalebi’s…yumm, crunched on the waffles with maple syrup..oohhh, slurped through the blackberry cheesecake…yes it was soft and delectable. ‘I’m at the Top of the World and looking..’ yes that was Ground Zero again. The music added to my heightened senses. I wished I could have packed in more…but sadly could not. So if you are there on a Sunday afternoon remember to munch…munch…munch at the Sunday Brunch.
Address: Vivanta by Taj
St Inez Junction, Panjim
Tel No : 0832 6633686