Few things can make me get up early on a Sunday morning. Spiral’s champagne brunch is one of them.
Since Sofitel Philippine Plaza’s flagship restaurant reopened in November last year, Spiral has been offering a weekly Sunday brunch with fresh Brittany oysters, caviar and free-flowing champagne and sparkling wines.
That is on top of the impressive feast from the restaurant’s 21 food ateliers—Salad and Appetizer, L’Écailler, Sushi Sashimi, L’Epicerie, Hot Japanese, French Stove, Rotisserie, Wood-fired Oven, Churrasco, North Indian, Asian Noodles, Peking Duck Oven, Chinese Wok, Steam Baskets, Filipino, Thai, Korean, La Boulangerie, La Patisserie, Chocolaterie and Creamery.
When we arrived at Sofitel last Sunday, the breakfast crowd had thinned out and the chefs were busy preparing their stations for brunch.
Organic vegetables and locally grown produce (executive chef Eric Costille brings in organic lettuce and herbs from Tagaytay) and an assortment of homemade dressings had been laid out in the Salad and Appetizer area.
Crabs, prawns, mussels and oysters were beautifully arranged at L’Écailler, the restaurant’s fresh seafood station.
There was a whole bar of fresh sushi and sashimi.
An entire room had been devoted to premium aged hams, smoked fish and many different cheeses from Europe. All kinds of breads were available at La Boulangerie—baguettes, croissants and more.
At the Hot Japanese atelier, sukiyaki, different kinds of tempura (shrimp, maya-maya, chicken breast and pork loin) and teppanyaki were waiting.
The French Stove was bustling with activity, just like the pizza and pasta stations.
Lamb leg, chicken, pork shoulder and beef prime rib were roasting at the Rotisserie while the Churrasco was ready with skewered steaks.
The North Indian atelier had a spread of rich and spicy offerings.
Asian food fans will enjoy the hand-pulled noodles, dim sum, Peking duck, roast pork and barbecue pork. There were Chinese, Korean and Thai dishes, too, from tom yum to bibimbap.
Filipino dishes like bulalo and adobo were also part of the lineup. Then we spotted something unique to Sundays at Sofitel: a Champagne station—two tables of champagne glasses and 12 different French champagnes and sparkling wines.
A bit of everything
Given the variety of choices, how does one decide what to eat (and drink)? “They must try a little bit of everything,” said Keith Pereira, Spiral’s operations manager.
And that’s what we did.
The buffet opened and people headed to the different food stations, with a number of them making a beeline for the champagne area.
My first stop was L’Epicerie, a heaven for cheese and cured ham lovers. Boursin, gruyere, tomme de savoie, manchego, reblochon, brie, camembert, parmesan—the list of cheeses went on and on. I chose a slice of reblochon and camembert to pair with my jamon serrano (like chocolates and massages, I like my cheeses mild).
I enjoyed my first plate with a glass of Moët & Chandon (Moët and Martini Asti were their most popular offerings, said the girl at the champagne station).
Next I headed to the steam baskets where I asked for two pieces of hakaw.
I stopped by the Peking duck station for one duck in pancake, with melon instead of cucumber and a dollop of hoisin sauce. Then I added crunchy favorites to my plate—papadum and kropek from the North Indian and Asian stations.
I walked past the Filipino station and I heard a guy offer to two American tourists, “Sir, Filipino food?” I’m pretty sure they chose to try some bulalo.
As I was enjoying my second plate, a woman at the table beside ours said, “Nagpaluto ako ng foie gras.”
For my third plate, I went to French Stove where, sure enough, there was a chef pan-frying pieces of foie gras in front of a waiting crowd. I stood in line for a while until he put a couple of foie gras pieces onto a plate, drizzled them with sauce and heaped a spoonful of caramelized apples on the side before handing it to me. It was worth the wait.
Because I like my seafood hot and fully cooked, I picked up a couple of lobsters from L’Écailler and brought it over to the French station where they cooked it with garlic butter. Delicious. I ate the lobsters with a few spoonfuls of rich paella, which was also abundant with seafood.
We were glad we saved room for dessert because Spiral’s sweet spread is a delight. There was a whole row of ice cream in delicious flavors, as well as jar upon jar of gummy candies that would make even the most jaded of adults feel like a kid again. There were also pastries and cakes of all kinds along with truffles and pralines. You could also customize crepes and bowls of halo-halo.
But for me, the true stars of the dessert atelier were the enormous chocolate fountains. Three kinds of chocolate flowed from them—chocolate, strawberry and white. You could choose from a variety of fruits, cookies and marshmallows to dip in them. I went for marshmallows covered with strawberry chocolate.
It was a really sweet way to end a fantastic meal.
Around us were families and friends—Filipino and foreign, in groups big and small, also enjoying Spiral’s brunch. We even spotted Joey de Leon with his wife and daughter.
It was past 3 p.m. by the time we left—stuffed and happy, ready for the rest of a beautiful Sunday.
Spiral’s Sunday brunch is from 12 noon to 3 p.m. Rates are P2,950+ for adults and P1,500+ for kids 4-11 years old. For reservations, call 8326988 and 5515555 ext. 6988; or e-mail [email protected]
PHOTOS BY JILL LEJANO