Our reporter Harriet Brace and advertising sales executive Vicky Bone went to Turnberry’s inaugural second brunch weekend on Sunday to see the spread for themselves.
FOR most, Sunday brunch probably conjures up images of croissants, hash browns, maybe some ham and cheese if you’re feeling continental, and tonnes of toast. One could, in fact, surmise that, while a tasty weekend treat, brunch is synonymous with carbs in no short supply.
But even the manager at Turnberry’s 1906 restaurant admits there is “nothing breakfasty” about the luxury resort’s five-star offering, with not a rasher of bacon or a fried egg in sight. And neither would you expect any less.
Served between 12.30 and 3pm, brunch at Turnberry Resort’s signature restaurant leans decidedly towards the lunch end of the scale. And the three-course spread places it firmly within the more formal way of things.
But once seated in the beautifully sculpted dining room, complete with views across the golf course and shoreline where, on a clear day, the Ailsa Craig and even Arran can be viewed in spectacular detail, Sunday Brunch is far from formal.
While the set-up retains the elegance that oozes from Turnberry’s every inch, the stylish but well-stocked buffet laid on for starter and dessert ushers in a more relaxed atmosphere.
And this is reflected in everything from the comfortable conversation of the waiting staff to the casual cadence of Steve Nelson’s superb saxophone-playing – which even gives Happy Birthday a certain smooth coolness of rhythm.
The spread itself covers all tastes without being disjointed, with a range of flavoursome salads, antipasti dishes, British favourites and sumptuous seafood creations, including prawn cocktail, oysters and potted smoked salmon for starter.
The dessert buffet beckoned before the main course had even been ordered, with bright strawberry and passion fruit mousse, juicy peach and blueberry crumble and rich chocolate mousse cake all crafted to perfection and patiently awaiting their turn to be tested.
A beautifully presented cheeseboard lurked temptingly alongside, accompanied by an impressive selection of savoury goodies to complement each Scottish dairy sensation.
Main course was to order and a choice of four dishes covered meat – including the mainstay Minute Steak Frit, cooked so expertly that a steak knife was surplus to requirement – fish and vegetarian.
Having been a non meat-eater for the past 15 years, I am familiar with the full scale of vegetarian options and am often unimpressed by the lack of the thought given to innovation and presentation. But I was not disappointed by Turnberry’s offering, as the orecchiette pasta avoided predictability and was full of taste.
As Vicky and I nonchalantly worked our way through the menu, housed for the afternoon in an enviable corner spot that sang of hazy summer mornings despite the unfavourable time of year, a host of couples, families and groups of friends came and went at their various paces, while tables were subtly reset around my colleague and I.
But despite the restaurant being fully-booked, and up to 180 covers possible depending on table size, there was no sense of urgency to our meal and a comfortable space was maintained around us even as coffee and Scottish tablet signified the approach of the end of our brunch experience.
It was no surprise to us that the addition of a second weekend to the Sunday Brunch schedule was by popular demand, or, as our host, restaurant manager Andrew Clark, told us, that waiting lists of 20 people and bookings up to five months in advance were not irregular when only one Sunday in a month was the norm.
We drove off slowly down the Turnberry drive – not just because of the speed limits. And we didn’t leave without booking another Brunch.
Sunday Brunch at Turnberry’s 1906 restaurant is held every first and third Sunday of the month, as well as on additional holiday dates including Easter weekend.
The three-course menu costs £25 per head or £12.50 for children up to 12, with access to the Wee Explorers Playroom included.
With the exception of the steak frit, prawn cocktail and oysters, the menu changes with each bi-weekly event. Wine by the glass costs between £4.50 and £10.50, and by the bottle between £19 and £41.
While reservations are not strictly required they are advised, as Sunday Brunch is often fully booked. To book contact 01655 331000.