Restaurant Review: Essence Brunch at San Qi, Four Seasons Hotel

Restaurant Review: Essence Brunch at San Qi, Four Seasons Hotel

Nowshad Rizwanullah
San Qi Essence Brunch
San Qi Essence Brunch

The Essence Brunch at the Four Seasons Hotel is clearly designed to impress – from the stunning variety of food to the mouth-watering aromas wafting from numerous live stations, this is one brunch that is looking to not just outmatch, but overwhelm the competition with its weekly spread.  Two floors, four world cuisines and endless glasses of Piper-Heidsieck Champagne mean there’s something for everyone every Sunday at San Qi, the hotel’s flagship Asian restaurant (including a dedicated children’s room replete with fluffy toys and big screen cartoon screen). While not all the food is worth writing

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a blog about, with so much to choose from you’re likely to find enough to justify the steep price of admission. Usefully, the restaurant provides a handy cartoon floor map to help you find just what you like.

Brunch Map
Brunch Map
Salad


What’s a good brunch without a good salad – San Qi makes sure you’re covered. While there weren’t as many make-your-own-salad ingredients as would have liked, for the less creatively inclined there are plenty of ready-made items to stick your fork in, such as Artichoke & Chilli, Potato & Gherkin, and Beans & Rosemary salads. A Caesar Salad station also ensures the copious bowls of lettuce don’t go to waste.

Cheese and Cold Cuts


Again, you’ll find yourself spoiled for choice, picking between delicious Manchego, Gruyere, Parmesan, Gouda, Chevre and Asiago, and deciding if they pair best with Coppa, Felino, Salami Milano, Mortadella, Speck or Salami Napoli. Grab some bread while you’re there for a very European affair (then get over yourself before you miss the other good stuff).

Heena Jain and MissMalini
Heena Jain and MissMalini
Chinese


Come for the noodles, stay for the BBQ. The Roast Duck was delicious with its soy sauce drizzle and while the Char Siu Pork was too sweet, we still ate a lot of it. Don’t forget the Dim Sum steamer tucked away in the back corner, where you’ll find 5 steamed selections and three fried ones. Also on offer are Garlic Prawns, Stir Fried Chicken, Mushroom Pot, Mixed Veg and Tofu, among other things.

Dim Sum
Dim Sum
Thai


Normally one of my favourite cuisines but sadly the most uninspiring presentation of the brunch – institutional, buffet style warmers heating food that didn’t always look fresh (but in case you’re curious: Stir fried Spicy Chicken Mince, Stir Fried Chicken Cashew Nut, Phad Thai and Khao Pad). However, the Thai Salads were lively and bright (and very spicy!) and the appetizers were prepared in small batches to keep them crisp. Soup lovers will also get their fix here with Tom Yam, Spicy Thai Hot & Sour and Tom Kha. Give the fresh Red/Green Curry station a shot too while you’re there.

Thai Apps
Thai Apps
Indian


Serving a selection of live Kebabs, Curries, Biriyanis and Assorted Breads, this area is for the true nationalists who need a dose of haldi and garam masala with every meal. Unfortunately, we couldn’t tell you how good the food was – confronted with so much to choose from, some prioritization (and sacrifice) had to be made – and this is the stuff we eat daily! But by the look and smell of things, even finicky eaters would be tempted to dig in.

Chicken Tikka
Chicken Tikka
Japanese


Another station we didn’t have the room to get to, but a long list of Teppanyaki seafood, meats and vegetables made us wish we had. Also on offer: an equally wide selection of Tempuras and Okonomiyaki, as well as a handful of Japanese salads and appetizers.

Teppanyaki
Teppanyaki
Cartoon Sushi Chef
Cartoon Sushi Chef
Sushi Counter


Cartoon Sushi Chef looks a little unstable with his clever – possibly why he’s been limited to a rather small selection of fish. Either that or he’s just snorting the wasabi. Whatever the case, as sushi lovers we were a little disappointed with the run-of-the-mill selection of Salmon, Prawn, Tuna and Trout, with a few mysterious Veggie Maki Rolls thrown in.  What was on offer was fresh and unlimited, however, so we couldn’t really complain. (ie: It’s hard to whine with a mouth full of raw fish.)

Sushi
Sushi
Seafood Bar


I love a good seafood spread and between the Prawns, Crabs, Lobsters and Mussels I was happily (read: frantically) chipping away at the ice in an effort to pile up my plate. Throw in the freshly shucked Oysters (but throw out the overwhelming lemon foam) and I could have spent my whole meal standing right there. These items are pre-cooked (mostly blanched or fresh where appropriate) so make use of the assorted condiments for an extra kick of flavour.

Seafood Bar
Seafood Bar
Drinks


No one told us – and we were so deep into the excellent house cocktails and free-flowing champagne – that we didn’t notice the selection of drinks at the bar. Among what we missed were Mojitos and Daquiris, along with your expected wines, beer and spirits – all included in the meal.

Piper-Heidsieck Champagne
Piper-Heidsieck Champagne
Shark Attack
Shark Attack
Dessert


See that guy in the back with the dessert tray? Salim? Yeah – that guy deserves a promotion – and his own map. We literally felt like children walking into a candy store – not only because we were in unlimited desert heaven, but also because of the jars of gummy worms, sharks and coke bottles lining the side counters (Yes, we know). The selection in this back room is so vast it is only possible to list the offerings in categories: White and dark chocolate mousses, cheesecakes, brownies, fudges, truffles, strudels, tarts, waffles and homemade ice cream – with much more in-between. This is not just your best chance at making a corny “always room for desert” joke – this is also the proof.

Dessert Heaven
Dessert Heaven
Dessert
Dessert
The Verdict


Four solid hours of eating and drinking later – we were the first to arrive and the last to leave – we still felt like we had only experienced half of what was on offer. As we squeezed out the door and into the sunlight it was clear that we’d have to return someday – if only to ensure we write a more complete review. Watch out Kato, we’re coming for you next. (more pix here.)

Nowshad Rizwanullah and Akash Jain
Nowshad Rizwanullah and Akash Jain
WTF is a Meal for Two One?


Per Person: Rs.  3,000 + taxes (unlimited food and drink included)

The Details


San Qi
c/o Four Seasons Hotel
114 DR E Moses Road
Worli, Mumbai – 400018
Tel: +(91)-(22)-24818000, 24818001, 24818333