For a food lover, it’s pretty difficult to beat brunch as a concept. Two meals in one, bringing savoury and sweet together for a prolonged, relaxed meeting of hearts and minds (and stomachs!). Unlike the other meals that mainly seek to serve a purpose, brunch is best when it’s accepted for what it is: pure indulgence, from design to delivery. So it goes without saying I was delighted to be invited for a special brunch at the Plantation Club, Outrigger Resort’s most exclusive section of their gorgeous hotel in the South of Mauritius.
Found nestled in a corner of the Outrigger Resort, The Plantation Club is designed to give guests an even greater luxury experience during their stay. Once you’re up the steps and out on to the decking, you’re seduced by the French colonial architectural style before even getting near the food. Stunning black and white tiles give the sense of luxury to the restaurant and bar area, while the rectangular swimming pool, canvas day beds and mountainous, sugar cane filled backdrop remind guests they are still on a tropical island.
Once you’re guided to your seat by the welcoming team, you’ll be offered a view of brunch in it’s finest form. A carefully crafted menu is broadly split into the traditional three courses, although each is a succession of small plates, combining local and international ingredients. A true fine dining experience, but served in a welcoming, relaxed (and distinctly unpretentious) environment that perfectly suits the surroundings; much like how Mauritian mountains don’t brag about their beauty.
As you begin to wonder about the food to come, the Gin & Tonic jazz band will arrive with a island-style version of classic jazz and soul numbers. There is something so charming about this trio, who are as friendly as they are tuneful and – Instagram followers will know – they are now our wedding band! I must say that their rendition of Louis Armstrong’s ‘Wonderful World’ left not one dry eye on the terrace!
And of course, a welcome drink on arrival: ours a Raspberry Mojito made with Mauritian white rum from the Chamarel distillery, fresh mint and local sugar. A perfect, refreshing start to the experience.
The first course for us started with a charcuterie and cheese selection and fresh bread piping hot from the oven, served with salted butter.
Followed by oysters with a ‘coffee and macadamia nut emulsion’, dramatically served on a bed of dry ice to keep them cold and ready to enjoy. Being honest, I stuck to the cheese and ham(!), but James tells me the oyster was fresh and bursting with a coffee aftertaste – that left him reaching for mine…
Although I was very much guarding my plate with the next three miniature dishes as part of the first course: soy glazed salmon and wasabi, scrambled eggs with crab on brioche and smoked marlin. All delicate flavours that complimented one another as they passed to and from the table. The first course ends with a watermelon and tomato gazpacho soup, served ice cold with watermelon to cleanse your palette and leave you ready for what’s to come.
I guess, given the style of this brunch, that readers can guess we were also enjoying free flowing Mumm and Veuve champagne after the mojito had got us going, although a selection of fresh fruit juices, local beers and spirits or a host of other options are also there for the taking.
Our second course began with what became one of my favourite dishes of the day – a fresh Prawn prepared in French Thermidor style with the island twist of coconut milk added to the blend. A beautiful example of the Mauritian take on French cooking and perfect for it’s environment. A chicken and fois gras take on a hot dog followed, along with a goats cheese hazelnut tart, before the absolute show stopper wheeled it’s way our side: Beef Wellington, carved and served at the table. Our waiter proudly plated our Wellington up individually and it was easy to see why – with crispy flaky pastry enveloping a succulent fillet of beef. The Wellington would be a fine meal if served alone, especially when twinned with the wine on offer from Chateau d’Esclans (Whispering Angel), which is a delicate mix of Grenache, Syrah and other lights body favourites.
Dessert arrives in a platter form to bring the feast to an end, and ours was a mixture of chocolate muffin treats, tarte au citron, waffles and fresh fruit, served with cream and sweet treacle sauce. What isn’t included on the menu but what I would hugely encourage is the brief break that we took in between our main and the desserts to stroll around the Planation Club, lounge in the sun and dip our feet in the pool.
Similarly, what’s particularly lovely about the Outrigger Brunch is that after you’ve finished the hours of brunching, the Plantation Club is yours to hang out and take it all in for another few hours until mid-afternoon, meaning you can soak up the sun, take in the views and enjoy the tranquil but luxurious surroundings.
I mean, this is brunch, right, it’s not meant to be rushed.
The Outrigger Resort Plantation Club Brunch is open Saturdays only from 10am – 2pm and costs 3800 MUR Rupees per person (inc. free flowing drinks).