Review – Sunday Brunch @ Ssence at Hotel Surya, New Friends Colony, New Delhi.
After a lot of buzz and much of planning, we went to the newly renovated coffee shop at Surya Hotel named Ssence (pronounced Essence) to sample their Sunday Brunch. We were a group of 14 (schoolmates initially but now in our 50’s) and pre-purchased our brunch vouchers through Groupon at a discounted price of Rs.1399 per person all inclusive with unlimited soft beverages. Their Dinner buffet is offered at an identical price whereas the weekday lunch is offered at Rs.999 at the same website (Groupon). However, usual price for Sunday brunch including taxes is @ Rs.2000.
The renovated restaurant has a huge area now combining the earlier coffee shop plus their Indian cuisine restaurant “Seven”. The decor and ambience is very lively and refreshing with use of bright lights and vibrant colors as against the earlier woody décor of their erstwhile coffee shop. It’s well spread and spacious. The entire feel of their coffee shop is with a lot of openness. They also have provision for private dining area for 10 to 12 person.
I was surprised to see the innovative use of cold cabinets (much like the ones in food supermarkets) for buffet display of pickles, dips, salads, cold cuts, smoothies, shots etc. to save space along with convenience to pick & choose. There was an Ice-Well with various salads and at least 10 types juices (fresh and preserved) and other drinks like shakes and sweet / salted lassi. Also on offer was a range of select whole fruits.
They have a see though live kitchen & live counters for many dishes. Food is awesome and fresh. The live counters are interactive and give you lot of options to customize your dish like Lava grill for Veg & Non Veg, live soup counter for soup made as per your taste, live pasta counter, live south Indian food counter, a special section for health food for those who count their calories.
Besides the usual continental & Chinese Cuisine, there was an enyire counter dedicated to fresh Sushi. What surprised us the choice of Indian cuisine which was very selective and special for a buffet. Dishes like Mutton Raan, Gilawati Kabab, Bhatti ka Murg, Fish Tikka etc, are not usually part of a buffet. The taste was surprisingly authentic.
We also got a chance to meet their Director F&B and Executive Chef Sanjay Behl, who took us through the various aspects of their buffet with a lot of enthusiasm. He then introduced us to his Indian cuisine specialty Chef Arif Qureshi, who is from the legendary family of Tundey Kababi from Lucknow and that clarified the reason for such authentic taste of their Mughlai / Indian cuisine.
A special mention of their excellent desserts range and Cold-Stone ice cream, which is a part of their buffet and is a unique experience. We rounded off our brunch with Jasmin Tea / Select Coffee with some fresh cookies.
Service was attentive and fast. I have often experienced problems with removal of used / empty plates from table but we found the service to be spot-on with this aspect too.
By far, this is ‘one of the best’ buffet in town and currently delivers the best VFM amongst all others on offer in Delhi NCR. Would I recommend it…. Certainly yes.
Written by Rajeev Gulati