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Throwback to decadence

Friday, June 01, 2018

The Weekend Brunch at The Clearing House (TCH) is the complete experience, with  honest-to-goodness taste and sumptuous food while you soak in the sunshine and relish the fresh flavours.  Joanne Pereira comes back refreshed for the week ahead

Ballard Estate, nestled in the city’s historic harbour front, speaks of an era kept alive.  Of Italian Renaissance architectural styles that stand out, elegant yet functional.  The endearing oasis with its laidback charm tells a tale—in fact, many a tale of a prime business district from back in the 1900s housing predominantly shipping, clearing and forwarding headquarters in their wake.

In its bosom, known for its decadent food, is The Clearing House (TCH).  The Weekend Brunch is a shout to surrender to a promising menu of hearty food, with many a contemporary twist.

The ambience

You can’t help but fall in love with its structure; it actually has a chimney retained from the original industrial structure!  Bearing in its wake a living testimony to the adjoining ice factory that is still operational, the stately architecture reflects the grandeur of the area back in the day.  You step into the foyer and the sunlight follows through the sky-lit roof; allowing you a full view of the chimney, while the bartender mixes his colourful cocktails with rays of sunshine thrown in.

TCH, with its grand ’70s NY feel, features a scalloped wooden ceiling, a community table and a rustic Malad stone finish around the day bar. You could choose a cozy table for two near the full-length arched wooden windows.  Or sink into the blue and beige sofa propped against the adjoining Chamber.  We choose to drink in the entire affair with the latter.

From the Pick Me Up section (in the range of around 500 bucks) we dived into the Jamun Martini requesting for only a hint of the Martini, it is after all just the beginning of the catch-your-breath weekend.  The luscious freshness is rewarding. TCH culled an impromptu sour cherry mocktail that built the appetite with its tart cleansing of the palate.  The avocado smoothie is overwhelmingly chocolatey and on enquiring, TCH does offer a greener, all-avocado one.  The menu lists Living The Dream which highlights Aperol, fresh grapejuice, ginger at a heady `800. If the key ingredient, like the star fruit is not available listings like Star Power will not be conjured.  For larger groups you may want to order the Pitchers.

Warming up

You will turn evangelist with the Eggs Benedict (yes eggs!), with a side of caramelised onion, new potato and a generous dollop of truffle hollandaise sprinkled with abundant parsley. 

We opted for the cured salmon atop the muffin which left us mmmoaning; TCH sure has zeroed in on the best supplies.  You could choose parma ham instead.

Next up was the Arugula and Green Apple salad with pecans. cranberries and a refreshing sherry sesame dressing. Granny Smith would sure approve.  In fact the many vegetarian options line you up for the meaty repast ahead or as a light meal in itself.

What’s on offer

The Crispy Prawn Soft Shell Tacos topped with bite-sized avocado pieces in the guacamole, a tangy salsa topped with sour cream pays tribute to Executive Chef Nitin Kulkarni’s mastery over flavourful, uncomplicated food (in the price range of  `500-600+).  Each ingredient stood out and so we adventured to the Chilli Con Carne on Crispy Waffle with soft golden potato straws from the Brunchy section. While the chilly filling is spot on, you would have to rush to gobble it up or your waffle turns soggy.

What caught our eye, as it came wafting out of the kitchen, were the TCH Burgers, a sight that could match burger heaven with its generous tenderloin patty, onion rings and delish toppings.  The Brunchy menu needs a revisit to check on the Crepes, Truffle Mushroom Brioche and others that get you drooling though you are nearing satiation. The nachos are popular with the kids, but avoid a filler, particularly if you want to do justice to the entree and leave some space for a sweet ending.

The crusty yet succulent Grilled Kingfish with a gentle dill flavouring, at `735, transports you to the ocean, accompanied with a delectable side of prawn and tomato pilaf.  The Thai basil butter is a revelation in itself.  For those who swear by medium rare, trust the tenderloin to Chef Nitin’s care.  You are sure to lick up the potato mash with the sauce as you try not to slip into food coma.

The fryer was not functioning, so no Churros.  The Passion Fruit Crème Brulee Cheesecake with its crackling sugar crust with blackberry compote and jaggery caramel, however, are enough to transport you to food paradise.

Pastry Chef Husna Jumani enlightens us, "We dwell on seasonal fresh and use organic ingredients.  To cull the Weekend Brunch menu, we acquainted ourselves with the preferences of our patrons over the last year to include what was trending, gluten-free desserts and a guilt-free week ahead."  Psst… TCH also has a Sweet section for those who prefer dessert as their main course.

The price

The cost for two could set you back by `4000-5000. The food experience equips you to face whatever comes your way, as you head back to the garma garam city.

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