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Bangkok Post
Bangkok Post

Sunday brunch with a Flourish

The delicious chicken shawarma, tender-and-flavourful beef prime rib and perfectly seared tiger prawns were holding me back from the Canadian lobster highlight.

The pan-seared tiger prawn cooked freshly on-site.

Not yet reaching the seafood-on-ice centrepiece, our experience at Sindhorn Kempinski's Extravaganza Sunday Brunch had already been marvellous.

The weekend lunch buffet took over the breezy glass-facade space of the hotel's Flourish restaurant.

Newly relaunched, the affair aims to welcome back gourmands with an improved version of its well-loved all-you-can-eat offerings.

Bedecking the 130-seat venue for the occasion were food counters and cooking stations showcasing a selection of international cuisines from Thai and Japanese to Arabic and Italian.

Upon entering, guests are received by a giant ice tower where prime-quality imported seafood including Fine De Claire oysters, Alaskan king crab legs, cold-water prawns, Canadian lobster and European black mussels are on display.

Lining the front of the restaurant's open kitchen were various warm dishes, among them Thai curries, stir-fries, noodles and a selection of Thai-styled salads including yum thua phlu (winged bean salad) and nam tok gai yang (a spicy salad of grilled chicken, roasted rice powder and herbs). Freshly baked Italian pizzas and a house selection of pasta were offered just next by.

The seafood-on-ice tower.

To celebrate the success of the hotel's signature Japanese gastro bar, which was launched in the midst of the pandemic, a selection of sushi and sashimi was provided by Ki Izakaya's Japanese head chef Hiroyuki Yokoyama. This included top-grade hamachi, salmon and a few choices of maki (sushi rolls).

At the end of the buffet hall stood a lengthy charcuterie counter. It displayed the likes of hand-carved Iberico ham, dry-cured saucisson la perche, griebenwurst blood sausage, coppa and liver pâté alongside artisanal camembert, Taleggio, Tomme Noire des Pyrenees and truffle brie cheeses.

In terms of variety, I cannot say the line-up was extensive. But it was comprehensive, while the quality and tastes were more than just satisfying.

The carvery station, on the day that I visited, featured roasted pork knuckle hams, salt-crusted baked sea bass and Australian prime ribs with red wine jus.

The pork knuckle was unexpectedly supple and succulent with a mild sweet hint, probably from being honey-glazed, I supposed.

I couldn't resist sampling the 5kg sea bass, a fish of that weight rarely found at other venues. The meat proved firm and tight yet cottony soft while naturally flavoursome; nice seafood sauce on the side provided enhancement.

My outstanding beef prime rib, meanwhile, was among the best a buffet line in the city could offer. It was tender and tasty with an ideal proportion of meat and sweet trimming fat.

The sushi corner by Ki Izakaya.

For à la minute dishes there were pan-seared prawns, either river prawns or tiger prawns, depending on the best supplies for the week. The prawns were cooked freshly on site so that the meat would never be dry, cold or stiff. Indeed, they were pleasantly springy and full of sweet prawn taste.

An all-day-dining international restaurant, Flourish is also very much loved for its Middle Eastern cuisine, one of the specialities of Lebanese chef Omar Hazim.

Hazim's repertoire of hummus, moutabal, muhammara, labneh and chicken shawarmas has been treasured by discerning connoisseurs of Middle Eastern food -- from tourists and expatriates to diplomats -- as some of the best in town.

The chicken shawarma, in particular, keeps tasting better and better every time we're here.

Every venture, of course, has its hits and misses. And if there's a thing to complain about it would be the lack of options for pasta dishes. The live-cooking pasta station offered only penne with Parmesan truffle sauce and nothing else.

Worse still, that one dish, cooked in a Parmesan wheel, didn't meet our high expectations.

Representing the sweet finale of the Sunday feast were the memorably delicious baked cheesecake, vanilla mousse, crème brûlée, mini fruit tarts and house-made ice cream.

Flourish's Extravaganza Sunday Brunch is held from noon to 3pm. It is priced at 3,200 baht per person including fruit juice and water, or 4,800 baht with free-flow sparkling wines and cocktails.

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