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The concept of Sunday Brunch may not be as popular or institutionalized in Bangkok as it is in some Western cities, but there are a number of high-end dining rooms that are providing this leisurely dining experience. Most are serving internationally-based cuisine, but one restaurant that deviates from the norm is the Tandoor Indian eatery in the Holiday Inn Crown Plaza on Silom Road.
Indian food may seem to some as more suited to elegant dinners than brunch or lunch even, due to the fact that Indian cuisine is usually heavier than many other cuisines, but as with other commonly held misconceptions, some Indian cuisine lends itself perfectly to a brunch buffet.
As the name suggests, the Tandoor restaurant is usually a practitioner of the art of tandoor cooking which originated in the northwest of India. However, on Sundays, the menu broadens considerably to include many other regions of the country. And, the offerings are never exactly the same from week to week as the chef decides at the last minute what to prepare based on what is available for fresh ingredients.
Included each week, though, are several cooked-to-order items that are prepared outdoors on the terrace that the room adjoins along a long wall of windows. Actually, you can also see the tandoor chefs cooking too, through the window to the regular kitchen.
Whoever does the cooking, the results are delicious, even though the food is primarily served in chafing dishes that have to sit out for differing periods of time. Most of the dishes lend themselves to this treatment better than other cuisines, however, since there are a lot of sauces and stew-like consistencies involved in Indian cooking. The drying out that happens frequently with buffet food is for the most part avoided here, providing a definite advantage.
Trying to sample everything available in any buffet is a recipe for disaster, or heartburn, so we tried to pick and choose to get a representative sampling of dishes. And describing any of them in great detail mayor may not help you since the dishes change from week to week. But a brief overview is in order to at least provide an idea of what you can expect to find here.
There is, to start, a good selection of lassis available. Lassi is a chilled drink made from a yogurt base and flavored to produce very different tasting drinks. It contains either a sweetener, salt rose petal essence or, in the case of Tandoor, a special fruit mixture that produces an especially tasty concoction.
There are also, as mentioned, outdoor-cooked foods that, we were told, you could find in roadside dining spots in different parts of India. Our favorite was a crepe-like creation called a dosa which was filled with vegetables and potatoes and was large to be a meal in itself, which in India it often is.
Other delicacies that were sampled included some chicken tikka and a mutton stew, deep-fried mashed potato disks, a paneer dish with a tomato-based sauce, yellow lentil soup and tomato soup and a prawn dish cooked in a wok.
There were many others, of course, probably about 30 in all, so the selection is big enough for any appetite. And the beautiful, ornate surroundings of Tandoor will provide you with a relaxing atmosphere to leisurely enjoy the dishes you decide to try.
So, although the concept of brunch may not be as popular here as in other locales, some of the practitioners of the tradition here are certainly up to the task of providing a pleasurable experience. The Tandoor is one and it's also a place where the experience will be unique, featuring Indian cuisine, and an authentic Indian atmosphere complete with live music.