Faux grass and chequered picnic cloths are laid out around the entrance to Lagoon restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton. It’s the perfect location for a picnic-themed brunch. It’s spacious, bright, and lush (despite being indoors) and the ceiling is painted to look like a blue cloudy sky, while towering fake palms are dotted around the room. In winter, the whole space opens up to the hotel’s bucolic gardens, too.
Tables, including picnic benches, are set with red and white table cloths and little silver buckets of cutlery, and the theme also pops up in small details such as the fresh juices served in mason jars with stripy paper straws. It has a casual, communal feel, and food is served to the table to share – a big change from the previous big buffet brunch.
Far from being a quiet afternoon, this event is busy and bustling with a DJ playing lively music and plenty of entertainment for kids like bouncy castles and face painting. On our visit, the brunch is packed, despite it being the summer holidays, so it also surprises us how good the service is. Staff are quick, attentive, friendly and informative without being intrusive, and willing to go the extra mile to make your experience as enjoyable as possible.
Dishes change on a weekly basis. Expect platters of small bites like bread, cheese and air-dried beef, and smoked mackerel on toast, plus some Asian snacks, too, such as popcorn chicken with wasabi mayo. While we aren’t totally sold on the Camembert and caramelised onion maki rolls, we love the fresh heritage tomato and grilled peach salad, and the delicious beef hotdog smothered in emmental cheese, sour cream and crispy veal bacon.
You can order steaks and seafood, such as lobster, from the live grills or foie gras with brioche, apple compote and coffee sauce. Mains on our visit included poached fish with fennel and tomato, hoisin roasted chicken and lamb leg stuffed with purple potato and carrot. It’s all very close to being perfect. The lamb, for example, is a little dry, but it’s saved by the feta and za’atar stuffing that gives a rich, creamy and delicous Mediterranean-local twist to the dish.
There are also kids’ options like mini burgers and chicken nuggets available.
Dessert is a highlight, with a good mix of indulgent options like chocolate fudge cake and light jars of fresh fruit and cream. Perfect to dig into over a leisurely cup of tea or coffee.
The Bottom Line
A busy brunch for big groups with hearty tapas-style food.