The popular Anantara Riverside eatery is our pick of the brunch!
By Aiden Jewelle Gonzales
Trader Vic’s famed Aloha Sunday Brunch is back, with a vengeance! Located in Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort, one of the city’s most established luxury riverside stays, the all-you-can-eat buffet is just as prolific, with enhanced precautions so you can enjoy their Pacific Rim delights with ease of mind. À la minute preparations and direct table delivery, coupled with their relaxed family atmosphere, ensure the quintessential serene Sunday.
Despite not being one of the self-proclaimed ‘ladies who lunch’, we immediately understood the appeal of a standing mid-morning appointment to while away time when we walked in. The Polynesian-themed restaurant, with its Tiki pole reproductions lining the entrance; exposed rafters and ‘thatch’ ceilings; and breezy, sun-drenched patio; was a carefree bubble of good food, drink, and spirits that you’d never want to leave. A live band playing a mix of summer tunes and hapa-haole classics, on this occasion the notable Siam Cubano band, added to the festive atmosphere, while fun touches like ceiling-suspended canoes and patterned pillars guaranteed that my eye wouldn’t stop wandering around – and wondering at – the vibrant space.
Despite the invitation to let your worries dance away with every beat of the drum, it’s clear that health and hygiene are taken seriously. The servers at every food station are masked and gloved, each table is numbered for ease of food delivery, and we were even provided with individual Tiki-themed paper pockets to store our masks while we eat.
FOOD AND DRINK
The wealth of food and drink at this brunch was, in my opinion, unrivalled almost everywhere – and I’d been to my fair share of buffets. Starting at THB 2,400++ per person, you’re treated to signature dishes from the breadth of the Pacific Rim, from Japanese bites, to Australian classics, to seafood so fresh you can almost smell the sea breeze. The ‘basic’ option – though it’s anything but – includes free-ﬂow soft drinks, juice, and mocktails, while the option inclusive of alcohol, at THB 3,200++ per person, offers an additional free flow of sparkling, red, and white wine; beer; and, my personal favourite, Tiki cocktails to your heart’s content. Splash out on the tipples and then splash around in the resort pool, complimentary access to which, I was delighted to learn, is included in the brunch; the cherry on top of the proverbial – and very delicious – cake.
We started our meal off on an effervescent note with some sparkling wine, but I would have been remiss if I didn’t try the signature Mai tai from the ‘home of the original Mai Tai’ itself, and it certainly lived up to the claim. Before you dive into the veritable cornucopia around you, make sure to peruse the à la carte menu of Trader Vic’s Signatures, any of which you can order to your table as many times as you desire. I’m not embarrassed to admit that we had seconds of the succulent Lobster thermidor with that fundamental cheese crust. For kids who are less impressed with the gourmet offerings, they also provide a Kids A La Carte Menu with classic kids’ fare, such as Chicken nuggets and Spaghetti bolognese.
When deciding where to start with the buffet, I would suggest heading out on to the breezy riverside patio and straight for the teppanyaki grill, where you can write down how many portions of Salmon, Tiger prawns, Hibachi steak or more you’d like delivered to you – a plus as no one can judge just how many of the toothsome treats you’re planning to have. On the far side of the patio is a ﬂaming barbecue grill. I recommend the Lamb, the juiciness of which is elevated by the cooling accompaniment of the moreish Mint jelly sauce. If you’re still feeling the call of the sea, just follow the hypnotic blue glow of the magnificent ice bar in pride of place, which offers bounties such as Alaskan king crab and some of the freshest Oysters I’ve had in the city. As with any buffet, it’s a marathon, not a sprint, so don’t overstuff yourself with all you can sea.
Make sure to try the other ample offerings, including a pasta bar with made-to-order sauces; a whole selection of roast meats including a delectable Honey-glazed ham that’s the perfect marriage of sweet and savoury (pair it with their silky-smooth mashed potatoes for best effect); and their sushi bar with prime cuts of sashimi and sushi. I’m glad that I maintain that we use another stomach for dessert as the plethora of options was an entire meal by itself, from Kit Kat and mini macaroon-topped cupcakes, to melt-in-your-mouth morsels of chocolate fudge, to shots of deconstructed blueberry cheese and lemon meringue pie. Leaving the brunch at the end, I knew it wouldn’t really be goodbye for me, but a hui hou; until we meet again.
The Seared foie gras with onion compote, lemongrass balsamic sauce and brioche, one of their à la carte offerings, which proved in a single bite why this dish is considered the consummate delicacy. If there’s one drink you should try, it’s the Bangkok tiki, a concoction that embodies the tropics – we just couldn’t get enough!
Ground Floor, Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort
257/1-3 Charoennakorn Road, Thonburi, Bangkok, 10600
Time: Every Sunday from 11.30am to 3pm
Price: THB 2,400++ or THB 3,200++ (inclusive of alcohol package), kids under 11 dine for free. All prices include complimentary pool access for the day.
Facebook and Instagram: @tradervicsbkk