The Flying Elephant’s new Sunday brunch raises the bar with gourmet South American fare, among other cuisines
IF elephants could fly, should they go to Latin America? After attending the Sunday Matinee Brunch at Park Hyatt’s The Flying Elephant, presided over by dynamic chef de cuisine Vamsi Krishnan, you bet they should—and to a bunch of other places as well.
The restaurant is a glorious expanse of space, with oodles of natural light. The Sunday Matinee turns it into a culinary multiplex with different cuisines across different levels. Chef Krishnan’s focus is on the live counters where guests get to interact with the culinary team while experimenting with flavours. While happy patrons abound, it does not appear crowded either.
In the spotlight
Today’s focus is South American specialties and we are promised some unique interpretations. The salad selection is great, but the real winner is actually European—a variation of the prosciutto e melone starring an exceptional Black Forest ham—the fresh sweetness of the melon perfectly complements the smoky caramel flavour of the ham. While the hot Peruvian aguadito soup is the perfect comfort food, the chilled avocado and coffee bean soup is sensational—creamy and so full of flavor that you want to stand up and applaud. Combining Peruvian and Japanese cuisines produces the nikkei maki, and it is among the best sushis I’ve tried anywhere. Think salmon ceviche in a maki roll and you will know why I am excited. The tacos and quesadilla are excellent and the flavours explode on the palate.
Demonstrating the restaurant’s ability to innovate is the spectacular coffee-cured tenderloin. I just wish they had taken the meat off the pan a whisker sooner. It is always a treat to eat pizza that does not have a tomato sauce base, so when you get one with pesto and edamame beans, enjoy with reverence. The fresh scampi in beurre blanc is exquisite, though the rotisserie chicken had a smidgen too much of the chimichurri rub. The dessert counter is vast and delicious, but take our advice and look no further than the churros.
The tandoor section serves staples with a twist and the chutney papad paneer and tulsi machchi tikka are worthy of a loud balle balle. All in all, a wonderful brunch accompanied by a delightfully crisp prosecco. However, I’m curious why there isn’t much pork (besides the ham) on the menu, for a South American-themed brunch? That said, there is no doubt that The Flying Elephant has just raised the stakes for Sunday brunches, with each weekend offering a different speciality region. I can’t wait for the elephant to reach Tokyo.
At the Park Hyatt Chennai. From Rs 2,295 onwards. Details: 71771655
— Amar Devadason