The Grandmother's Table Sunday Brunch @ Bene, Sheraton Grand
Not every Sunday, you get to witness history in the making. I was lucky enough to be part of the very first Grandmother’s Table Sunday Brunch organised at Bene, Sheraton Grand in association with Grover’s Zampa wines. Grandmother’s table is traditional Italian concept where the senior lady of the house invites over her long and extended family over for a brunch on Sunday afternoon. It is frequented by the younger generation and hence the name. But most of all it is a family tradition and the wide variety of food served on to the table forms the major attraction and so is the feeling of belonging. Chef Giuseppe Lioce from Bene, Sheraton was able to replicate that successfully by including his own close friends and fellow food aficionados.
The event in all its grandeur kicked off with a customary Grape Stomping with free-flowing bubbles from Grovers’ Zampa. The pass around included Italian favourites like Potato Croquet and Roman Sliced Pizza. The Bruschetta topped with Fresh Basil and Tomato was the ultimate favourite and the Eggplant with Fontina Cheese and Onion Jam was intriguing and an acquired taste. There were also Focaccia and Olive Bread that made the rounds. The live band played popular numbers and contributed to the cheer of the jubilant crowd. Boris Stephens from Sales welcomed me and showed me to the open bar. Grape Stomping was a lot of fun and definitely a favourite with the crowd. After it ended, we proceeded towards the long tables that were laid to seat us where various courses would arrive in due sequence. The suspense of the menu was killing us all and chef preferred to keep it that way before their final appearance.
Chef Giuseppe started the event with an aroma distribution of basic Italian flavours with a smoking pot of condiments that form the very essence of the meal-truly a unique and entertaining gesture. Chef kept us cheerful throughout the afternoon with his jovial nature and attention to the utmost detail.
Our table was laid out and the gastronomical appeal was unparalleled to anything I have ever witnessed before. There were an array of Antipasti laid out which contributed to the glamour quotient of the event. The Roasted Beetroot with Italian Goat Cheese and the Barley and Seafood Salad along with Calamari and Baby Octopi incorporated elements in fine dining. I was able to satiate myself with a generous serving of the same as seafood has always been my prima choice. The Marinated Olives and Seasonal Vegetables complimented the Scagliozze or the Fried Polenta along with the popular Caprese Salad. The Arancini Siciliani arrived in no time and made us crave for some more Parma Ham. I also helped myself to a serving of the Smoked Salmon with a dash of lime. The Star of the first course was however the all vegetarian Egg Plant Parmigiana that made its humble appearance with a taste and aroma that was a sure statement of excellence in culinary skills. Throughout it all, the company of good friends and great Bubbles courtesy Grover’s Zampa made our afternoon brunch a classy affair.
It was time for the Mains and Chef left no stone unturned to make sure we were treated in a majestic manner. The Pasta arrived in trolleys with choices for vegetarians-Spinach Raviolli in Slow-Cooked San Marzano Tomato Sauce and Beef Lasagne Ricotta for the Non vegetarians. I was unable to decide which tasted better-the beef or the spinach and kept an open mind.
It was the turn of the Barbeque Grilled Platters to arrive with much pomp and drama. The Trolleys carried Barbecued Chicken, Grilled Beef, Pork Sausages and Grilled Norwegian Salmon along with a delectable selection of Jumbo Prawns. The Grilled Vegetarian Platter also accompanied the course.
The Third Main was in the form of a Roasted Chicken with Rosemary Potato in a Truffle Sauce and Crespelle, Gorgonzola Cheese Crepes Stuffed with a mix of Zucchini, Bell Peppers and covered in Pecorino Cheese. The Italian Home Salad-Insalata Mista followed next, and was delectable to say the least.
Chef informed us that there was another round of Pasta to arrive, and I was concerned as I was almost ready for the last but most important course-Desserts. It was a joke on his part and no sooner, did the Dessert Platters made their appearance. We were served Fruit Cones where the traditional Ice cream cones were stuffed with an exotic variety of fruits known as Frutta in Italian. The Wooden Box of savouries included everything possible under the sun ranging from an Apple Strudel, Opera Cake, Almond Cake, Sacher Cake and Chocolate Eclairs to name a few.
As we walked out of the venue, a few of us were lucky enough to talk about our afternoon experience over for a short video by Nitin Kandhari. It was an afternoon well spent in the company of good friends, great food and amazing wine. Sheraton intends to make it a regular phenomenon in the coming weeks, and that is definitely something to look forward to.