Reviewed: Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff’s Champagne Brunch

High-end resorts like Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff have always had fabulous breakfasts, but it seems that weekend brunches are the new mark of luxury. To our delight, the hotel’s fine-dining restaurant, which stands out from the foodie crowd for its pretty views and acclaimed menu, sees brunch the way those well-heeled Joburgers imagined: Elegant, indulgent and anything but rushed. Grab a glass of prosecco (no, make it real champagne) and kick off your weekend in the best possible way. 

With its sweeping views across the Johannesburg Zoo and neighbourhoods of The Parks plus reinterpreted South African fare, Flames Restaurant at Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff makes an impression at any hour. But on the weekend, this posh spot elevates comfort food to works of art – think three cheese and zucchini quiche or oak smoked beef brisket with potato terrine, kale, rainbow carrots, beef crackling and port reduction. Whether you’re looking for a decadent way to mark a special celebration, an extravagant girls’ day out or just a weekend treat, spend your Saturday or Sunday in splendour at the Champagne Brunch, where the sparkling is cracked open between 13h00 and 15h00. 

Priced at R795 per person, brunch at Flames Restaurant isn’t just any old eggs and bacon affair. It’s a splurge, but it’s a drawn-out affair and there’s so much food that you’ll need to pace yourself. At this light-filled restaurant with a high-brow dining room, the weekend feast includes a glass of Champagne Baron Albert L’Universelle Brut or La Preference Demi-Sec, a cold platter for two, one hot dish each from the kitchen, a selection of local cheese and sweet treats. If the weather is kind, request a table on the terrace surrounded by the lush greenery of the hotel’s stunning grounds, which is perfect for al fresco dining and offers panoramic views of the City of Gold. Promising to add a touch of class to your weekend proceedings, the cold platter stars delicacies such as fresh Nelson Mandela Bay Oysters, maki and California rolls, a zesty Mediterranean quinoa salad, three cheese and zucchini quiche, tarte flambée topped with bacon as well as a light and refreshing soba noodles with prawn, avocado and yuzu.

For mains, you’ll choose from upscale à la carte offerings accompanied by gentle music, including 16-hour sous vide pork ribs with a soy and honey glaze served with butternut purée, miso green beans and sesame seeds as well as zucchini risotto made with bocconcini, slow-roasted tomato, Kalamata olives, pine nuts and confit lemon. All of the dishes are seasonal and locally sourced, and many of them are grilled or prepared in the elegant pit-fire in the kitchen in a wide-ranging display of sophisticated food craftmanship. For a decadent brunch, try the truly crispy, golden Southern Fried chicken – garlic and sage chicken escalope, pomme purée, Parmigiano-Reggiano and Tenderstem broccoli. We also recommend the juicy and delicious kabeljou served on a bed of Israeli couscous with asparagus, sundried tomato and parsley beurre blanc. 

On the cheese platter, there are all manner of cheese and crackers, and of course, homemade chutneys and preserves. When dessert arrives, the sheer mass of sweet stuff could be intimating, but thankfully the pastries taste as good as they look. The pleasantly sharp lemon meringue pie is a standout, but our favourite is the chocolate torte that’s full of rich, fudgy dark chocolate flavour. Once you’re high on sugar, there’s a cocktail list to work your way through too, including the Bikini Weather made with vodka, bitter orange syrup, lemon juice and sparkling wine and the All 4 Seasons G&T; a G&T with a refreshing burst of grapefruit, rosemary and thyme that’s become something of an Instagram sensation. 

What’s more, the atmosphere is lively and diners err strongly on the smart side of the smart-casual dress code. Although, truth be told, everyone will be too busy staring at the views – especially during the months of October and November when the jacaranda trees come into their gorgeous mauve aura bloom – to take much notice that you’ve made an effort. The Champagne Brunch operation is extremely well-oiled, managing not to rush diners: There’s an art to feeling looked after, and at Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff that art has been perfected. Come for afternoon brunch, move on to a cocktail or two and maybe even make an evening of it by checking into the hotel for the night. You are in Westcliff after all! 

67 Jan Smuts Avenue, Westcliff  

011 481 6000  

www.fourseasons.com 

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