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Brunching is one of my favourite pastimes. But there are brunches and then there are Brunches with a capital B. I mean, pancakes and burgers are sure delicious, but a brunch with caviar and champagne is simply in a league of its own, don’t you agree? A real indulgence!
So when I heard that the most elegant hotel in Athens, the historic Hotel Grande Bretagne (a Luxury Collection Hotel), was offering weekend brunches in their beautiful Winter Garden atrium for a limited time, I simply had to taste it.
Although the timing of my visit was not the best one (it was a Saturday before Christmas and the lobby was a bit crowded because of an event for children), the brunch itself did not disappoint in the least.
The hotel’s Winter Garden atrium is already one of my favourite places for coffee or tea (they serve a delightful Afternoon Tea there, you just have to try it). Consequently, I was very happy for the opportunity to enjoy brunch there as well. The menu was created by Executive Chef Asterios Koustoudis and his talented team.
We were greeted with a smile by the staff upon arrival and seated to our table that featured a comfortable couch on one side. The brunch consists of carefully selected sweet and savoury delicacies. We were asked to choose between three possible selections for the appetizer and the main dish. There are also different options for the accompanying beverage. We gave our order to the staff and soon plates full of delicious food started to arrive!
On the table
The first thing to arrive was an elegant metal basket with homemade warm croissants, hazelnut praline filled puff pastry swirls, cakes, raisin bread and more.
The baked goods tray was accompanied by little pots of handmade jams and marmalade, fresh local butter (cute detail: the butter has the Hotel Grande Bretagne crest embossed on its surface!), chestnut tree honey, vanilla scented cream and Greek yogurt with fresh fruit.
Our chosen beverages also arrived at about the same time. I chose the absolutely delicious “Indigenous” smoothie, with tahini, orange juice and a touch of cinnamon. I enjoyed it so much, I could easily have ordered a second! I also had a cappuccino with my meal, but you can have any kind of coffee, tea or hot chocolate.
Then it was time for the appetizer: I had the avocado, king crab, emmer wheat and celery option, while my friend went for a dainty salad of lettuce, cherry tomatoes, olives and truffle gruyere cheese flakes. I am always the one who will try something new that I haven’t tried before. Happy to report that the king grab was as delicious as one would expect!
The main dishes followed once we had finished with our starters. My friend had the organic Eggs Benedict with lobster and citrus hollandaise sauce, and for a moment I was tempted to have the same thing, but I’m a big fan of caviar (I had brought loads of it back from my trip to Istanbul a few years ago), so I chose the soft-boiled organic eggs with Balik salmon and caviar instead. What a delight this dish was! The presentation was simply a work of art (actually this applies to all dishes we had). The eggs had this elegant little wreath of caviar on top that was so charming, I hated to have to ruin them in order to eat them!
Of course, such a scrumptious brunch wouldn’t be complete without dessert. There were raspberry tarts and dainty lemon pies, little choux filled with flavoured cream, chocolate treats and even a dessert with gold flakes on top. The sweets are of the French school, i.e. not overly sweet but fresh and elegant.
Overall, the brunch experience at the Winter Garden atrium was a delight. We really enjoyed our meal, even though the hotel that day was quite busy. Perhaps it was because of this, that there was one minor mishap: we didn’t get the champagne that is included in the menu. However, we were having such a good time that we didn’t realise it until much later, after we had left the hotel. Everything else was excellent, both in terms of taste and presentation.
The weekend brunch is offered at the Winter Garden of Hotel Grande Bretagne until January 27th, but I sincerely hope they will repeat it because I’d love to go again. It is more than just your average brunch; it is a real treat you deserve to enjoy.
Info: Weekends at Winter Garden
Winter Garden City Lounge | Hotel Grande Bretagne, Athens
Saturdays & Sundays until January 27th | 11.00-14.00
+30 21 0333 0000