Sunday Brunch At Waters Edge.

For much of Sunday evening, dear readers, we flopped around from place to
place like beached whales, paying for the excesses we had committed earlier in
the day. You see, thanks to Waters Edge, the ‘burbs finally have their own
claim to a Sunday brunch and we decided to check it out. The whopping spread
was no match to our piddly appetite, and the aforementioned lethargy ensued.
Here’s the story of how that went down.

After having suffered through several overpriced brunches with substandard
food that doesn’t merit the sticker shock, we were justifiably cagey about the
latest offering from Waters Edge. But the picturesque location with a view of
the Diyawanna Lake, the prompt and attentive service and the overall quality of
the brunch, all conspired to make us eat way more than necessary.

Ambience & Service

Location, location, location. Nowhere is that more relevant than at Waters
Edge, which offers an unobstructed view of greenery and the pleasant
realisation that you have escaped the trappings of the city. The Sunday brunch
is spread out over a sweeping expanse of the hotel, starting from the al fresco
section of the Italian restaurant
Pranzo,
through a connecting passage into an inner, air-conditioned section. With a
bread station here, a tandoori section there and cuisines laid out everywhere,
it can be a slightly confusing arrangement. Our recommendation is to take your
time and explore the buffet in its entirety before tucking in.

Service can be a challenge when you have an ambitious spread that needs to
be constantly replenished, and a steady stream of diners with an assortment of
demands. For the most part, though, the staff at Waters Edge were well on top
of things, paying attention to (crucial) details such as changing our plates
promptly, and offering refills of water. The individual food stations were
efficiently manned, making the whole operation seem fairly seamless.

Food

The Sunday spread at Waters Edge is a veritable United Nations of cuisines,
spanning a geographical sweep from Italian to Sri Lankan and Indian to Middle
Eastern, to say nothing of Chinese, Thai and Japanese. All of those cuisines
were represented in the appetisers section, which featured a variety of
bite-sized terrines, salads and sushi. Our only quibble with the appetisers—as
with the dessert station—was that many of the dishes were not labelled, adding
to our rapidly building confusion about what to pick.

We are generally leery of Japanese food off conveyor belts or buffets— the
delicacy involved in creating the dishes just doesn’t seem to lend itself to
those mass formats. But we’re happy to report that the avocado and tuna maki
rolls and the salmon nigiri we tried at Waters Edge were fresh and
well-crafted. The fresh seafood theme continued with the marinated salmon
(pictured below), which was sliced to order. Served with an array of
accompaniments such as sour cream, finely chopped onions, parsley, capers and
lemon, this was a thoughtful addition to the spread. Restrained and minimalist,
it allowed the freshness of the fish to shine through.

The other bits and bobs we tried were a mixed bag. We were surprised by the
silken texture of the pumpkin dumplings (served individually on a spoon). The
roast leg of lamb, also sliced to order, was suitably tender and
melt-in-the-mouth. But the pancakes wrapped around slivers of Peking duck were
not quite as delicate as we would have liked, and the sous vide egg (presented
in a shot glass) was a good case study for why sous vide and buffets should not
mingle.

When it came to the mains, I took a leap of faith and went with the Indian
option. Here, it’s important to mention that few things can lift my spirits
like naan and dal makhni. I have exacting standards when it
comes to Indian food, and I’ve been more disappointed than not in the last year
that I’ve called Sri Lanka home. But the sight of a real tandoor (pictured
below) at Waters Edge gave me hope. A few minutes later, I was positively
overjoyed to tuck into a crisp, flaky naan studded with pieces of garlic, along with a
rich and buttery dal makhni that I
struggled to find fault with. The chicken tikka I ordered was moist and
smothered in a tangy tandoori marinade, but it would have been perfect had it
been served warmer.

The Chinese and Thai selection was less successful, though. Our dining
companion found the egg and prawn fried rice too dry. The sea bass in Thai
lemon sauce was slightly overcooked and the sauce lacked that bright, lemony
tang you expect from a Thai sauce.

The Desserts

Given how much space has been afforded to sweets on the buffet, it’s only
fair that we review them as a separate category. Even if you’re indifferent to
sugar, you’re likely to feel at least a little curious about the colourful
spread of desserts at Waters Edge. There are desserts of every description on
this display: from luscious-looking red velvet cake to tiny chocolate tartlets
doused in edible gold, and strawberry financiers to a chocolate fountain with
fruit and marshmallows to dip into the river of chocolate thus created. But
only a handful of these were labelled, which meant that we were mostly unsure
about what we were eating.

The red velvet lived up to its billing with a moist crumb and a
not-too-sweet buttercream frosting (although a cream cheese frosting always
elevates red velvet cakes by a few notches, don’t you think?). Despite the
unnecessary edible gold, the chocolate tartlets served on a crumbly biscuit
base, also made for a satisfying bite. On the other hand, the strawberry
financier had a disturbing amount of food colouring and we thought that the
pieces of papaya that were provided to dunk in the chocolate fountain were just
a bad idea. The sleeper hit of the desserts, though, was a dark chocolate and
caramel tart. The perfect combination of dark chocolate and sticky caramel on a
buttery tart base, this was a decadent yet perfectly balanced dessert.

A description of the desserts would be incomplete without a (frankly
puzzling) innovation: ice cream kotthu. Ice cream, marshmallows, jelly, fresh
fruit and who-knows-what-else are given the kotthu treatment, and mashed
together into a soupy bowlful. Our dining companion made easy work of the
saccharine ‘kotthu’, but I was just left scratching my head.

We understand the need to appeal to a variety of palates, but the desserts
at Waters Edge would benefit from a little editing and a lot more labelling.
With a carefully chosen yet slightly slimmer selection, quality and quantity
could coexist happily.

Conclusion

With more hits than misses, the Sunday brunch at Waters Edge was not
dissatisfying in any way. At Rs. 2,990 per person, it isn’t exactly a cheap
meal. However, it’s not an unfair price to pay for spending your Sunday staring
at a languid lake while being plied with lots of mostly tasty
morsels.


The Waters Edge buffet is in Battaramulla,
at the end of Parliament Road. Call 011 2863863 for
reservations.

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