Text by Thomas Jones
Living in Bali, it is a treat to get out and visit Bangkok once in a while for a long weekend of parties, good friends, great food and a fix of that exoticness that only this Southeast Asian city, in my mind, can deliver. It’s functional, rich in culture, has fantastic food on every corner, and the nightlife has an energy that is hard to match. It’s also where Tables Grill can be found in the Grand Hyatt Erawan, home of my favourite Sunday Brunch.
Each night of the week, Tables Grill is one of the most popular dining venues in the city, with elegant European décor and its unique tableside cooking methods, where dishes are prepared fresh under your nose, allowing guests the chance to savour the entire experience from frying pan to palate. On Sundays, however, it throws open its doors to host the most exciting and satisfying four-hour, free-flow brunch in the city.
At precisely 11.15am, a fashionably late quarter-hour from the start, we were sitting in our booth being offered Proseco by the glass and a brief on what food stations lay around us. Pausing to take it all in, we went on reconnaissance and decided that there was no better way to start than with oysters and more Proseco.
Knowing that we had to pace ourselves to last the distance, what nevertheless followed was a subdued orgy of abundance, dining on highlights such as John Ross salmon from Scotland (By Royal Appointment to Queen Elizabeth II no less), Perigord foie gras, Australian Angus beef, Hokkaido scallops, prawns flambéed in Cognac, Bayonne ham, lobster thermidor, and truffle and champagne risotto, which was being prepared right next to the table in a scooped-out wheel of Parmesan.
And that was just from the self-serve tables. Sundays are a day when in addition to all the many delicacies at the various stations, guests also get to try small portions of the restaurant’s regular menu’s hits, which are delivered to the table with alarming regularity by the waiters. So, in between my own selected plates I was offered –and accepted– a heathly slice of quiche Lorraine, wild mushroom soup, Chinese pork belly, braised beef cheek, as well as an unexpected mango and passionfruit smoothie, because apparently, it’s not all about the calories.
These impromptu dishes, however, certainly put a strain on our ability to pace ourselves, and it became apparent early in the sitting that we needed to slow down, and that the time between station visits would have to become more acute. The sommelier was the key to this with his wide selection of wine recommendations with each dish and his generosity with the pour, which led to the conversation getting more animated and the time between courses growing successfully longer.
Most restaurants at which I have done Sunday Brunch have a very large dessert table or two. Tables Grill doesn’t, they have a whole room set aside for it! That’s right, one large high-ceilinged room, coloured in deep red like the warm embrace of mother’s womb, with tasty treats of every description piled high on trays and plates, as well as two live cooking stations making crêpes suzette and chocolate fondant.
We almost didn’t make it out alive, but make it out we did, with about 15 minutes before 3pm and just enough room for a plate of French cheeses and a glass of Sauternes to end the meal. We were feeling very well spent indeed. What a brunch and what a venue, and I can’t wait till next year when I can do it all again.