A definition-defying lunch

The Oxford Dictionary defines brunch as "a late morning meal eaten instead of breakfast and lunch."

Those supplying the definitions to The Oxford Dictionary have clearly never indulged in Sunday brunch at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. Sure, the brunch at the resort's Seven restaurant offers a meal, just as the dictionary definition suggests, but this is no ordinary meal. In fact, this brunch is really an extravagant event.

Seating is offered inside and outside on the terrace. Since the Sunday brunch is offered only between November and May, which are the cooler and drier months on Grand Cayman, outdoor dining is usually comfortable. 

Plan an approach

Although the brunch at Seven restaurant doesn't start until noon, it's probably best to eat a very light breakfast or skip breakfast all together. With the number of different foods available, all prepared to The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman's exacting standards, it's smart to arrive on an empty stomach to be able to taste as many items as possible.

Brunch veterans often plan their dining approach, though different people like to start at different places. Some people actually start with dessert first. That might seem strange, but studies have shown that eating something sweet at the beginning of a meal will not only help prevent overeating — something easy to do at Seven's brunch — but it will also help in the absorption of the vitamins and nutrients of any vegetables you eat. 

Food

The food is served buffet style at various stations throughout the restaurant. One side of the bar area is dedicated to high-quality cheese and charcuterie. On the other side is sushi — maki, nigiri and sashimi, plus the classic accompaniments — all of the same high quality as is served in Taikun, The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman's sushi restaurant. 

On the far side of the restaurant, there are areas for breads and pastries and next to that, a station with salads. Adjoining the salad station is a carving station with items like prime rib, roast pork and poultry. 

Further down the row are classic breakfast foods including bacon, sausage, French toast and an omelette station, as well as savoury dishes like melt-in-your-mouth-tender beef tenderloin slow cooked in a sous-vide bath for 36 hours. 

Yet another station presents various raw, cooked or smoked seafood including oysters on the half shell, Atlantic lobster claws, stone crab claws, cocktail shrimp and smoked salmon or smoked trout.  There's also a caviar station with all the expected accompaniments.

Finally, there's the dessert table. For the Sunday brunch the day of the Super Bowl, many of the desserts took on an American football theme including cupcakes decorated with chocolate footballs over green icing made to look like turf.

Champagne

There are many restaurants on Grand Cayman that serve Sunday brunch and most of them offer an unlimited sparkling wine option. One element that differentiates The Ritz-Carlton's brunch, however, is that while others pour Prosecco, Cava or Crémant, Seven restaurant is serving Champagne — Moët & Chandon Brut Imperial Champagne to be precise. 

There are good reasons why Champagne is the preeminent sparkling wine: The region's soil and climate, when combined with a classic grape variety blend and more than 300 years of sparkling wine-making experience, makes Champagne distinctive in taste, aroma and elegance. 

The Ritz-Carlton servers are generous with their pouring of Champagne from the moment the brunch starts at noon right up until last call at 2:45 p.m. 

Service

The brunch is a buffet, which means food isn't plated and then served by the waitstaff. However,  guests still receive the kind of service for which The Ritz-Carlton brand is famous.

In addition to keeping patrons' Champagne flutes and water glasses filled throughout the meal, the servers also provide many other ancillary services: A dropped fork, knife or napkin is quickly picked up and replaced; an accidental spill immediately cleaned; a special request — like coffee or espresso — fulfilled with a smile. 

There are also some added special touches that remind guests that they are at The Ritz-Carlton, like the welcome cocktail offered upon arrival right outside the restaurant's front door.

Although the Oxford Dictionary defines brunch in the most general of senses, the brunch experience at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman should really have its own entry that reads something like this:  "An experiential early afternoon Champagne dining event at which an extravagant meal is eaten instead of breakfast, lunch and, given the amount of delicious choices, possibly even dinner."

 

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This article appears in print in the March 2020 edition of Camana Bay Times.

 

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