What do we do when we have a free Sunday afternoon? Head out to the Garden Grille Restaurant at the Hilton Garden Inn, Trivandrum to check out their recently relaunched brunch. It was the third Sunday after the revamp and Shine Paul, the Marketing Manager had made the arrangements for us.
Briefing us, Shankar Saranjibi, the new Executive Chef at Hilton Garden Inn, Trivandrum said, “Our weekend buffet offerings, the Saturday evening and the Sunday Brunch, has been completely refurbished. We are showcasing Indian cuisine on Saturdays and Sundays have more of Western and International cuisine. We want to give our guests more ‘value for money’ by giving them more choices. We want them to feel ‘at home’ with unlimited offerings. We have tried several innovations and I am sure our guests would like it.”
The menu for the Saturday evening buffet and the Sunday Brunch has been completely revamped with about 100-120 dishes, 50 varieties of Pizza and about 30-40 desserts. There are 10 live stations – for Chaat, Soup, Pizza, Pasta, Grill, Tandoor, Eggs, Dosa, Pancakes, Waffles, Desserts, etc. Apart from the unlimited food, there’s an offer of unlimited Beverages too (only Beer & Mocktails).
I started off with one of the mocktail Rainbow shots, a refreshing concoction of ginger and lemon, perfect for a hot sunny day. Apart from the regular cold coffee, watermelon/orange ice tea, there were test tube shots which were a good way to check out multiple mocktails.
From the live chaat counter, we had Samosa chaat and dahi puri chat, the best authentic tasting chaat that I have had in the recent times in Thiruvananthapuram. Moved on to Laksa soup, a coconut milk based spicy noodle soup popular in the Peranakan cuisine. This soup is usually served with condiments /accompaniments /sauces/various toppings of vegetable and meat, egg and seafood. My first time and it was really good.
For starters, we had grilled fish slice, squids and prawns followed by fish tikka and phaldari tikka from the Tandoor. The Ajwaini Mahi fish tikka was very well marinated, soft and juicy, and I enjoyed it a lot. According to Naveen Nair, the Sous Chef, “It’s the combination of fresh seafish and the ajwain, a traditional north Indian spice, that made all the difference”. Next came, Gobi kempu bezule – cauliflower chilly fry, which was a bit salty for my liking, and Chettinadu chicken varuval, very crispy outside but soft inside.
We moved on to Pizza counter where we had a slice of thin crusty chicken hand-tossed pizza. HGI Trivandrum is known for its pizzas and must admit, they have maintained that reputation. At the fresh Pasta counter, there was a choice of in-house made Beetroot pasta and Spinach pasta apart from the regular stuff. Very health conscious options indeed!
As mentioned earlier, the main course was a mix of different cuisines. Some of the highlights of the vegetarian section were Paneer Kolhapuri, Subz Tawa masala, Kashmiri pulao, Parmentier potatoes, Vegetable moussaka, and Vegetable & chickpea tagine. Malabar Mutton biryani, Crispy Pork in hot chilli sauce, Spinach & mushroom stuffed beef loin, Meen manga curry and Murgh lababdar made up the non-veg section. I had crispy pork with some buttery soft rolls and it was delicious. The few spoonfuls of mutton biryani that I had were perfect in aroma and taste.
The dessert section offered a plethora of choices from the bakery – cakes, muffins, pastries, brownies; and of course, Indian sweets. My favourites – Burfi, Gulab jamun and Cham cham, it was all there. The selection was mind-blowing. We also had waffles and Spanish Churros from the live station.
The Saturday evening buffet, priced at Rs.1,499 + taxes gives free entry to their DJ parties while the Sunday Brunch (Rs.1,599 + taxes) gives kids free access to the swimming pool but we didn’t utilise this option. Overall, we spent close to three hours savouring the delicacies. It was a very relaxing experience on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
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