By Michael Karlo Lim
BRUNCH is when breakfast staples meet the heavier lunch fare in the estuary of midmorning through noon.
Traditionally done on Sundays to accommodate late rising from a Saturday night’s stupor, it is a brilliant invention that allows one to ease into the rest of the rest day. Coffee and tea are served as standards but libations include a variety of “hair of dogs” — drinks to cure hangovers from the excesses of the previous night. If anything, this partial science has been a convenient excuse to extend the revelry or to kickstart happy hour really early.
Marco Polo Plaza Cebu’s Café Marco debuts its new regular offering, Sunday Brunch+. Guests can opt for Brunch Only and help themselves to a spread of roast beef, smoked meats, seafood, quesadillas, tacos, sushi, tempura, sliders and so much more. We the extra, of course, would opt for Brunch n’ Bubbles with free flowing wines, cocktails and other drinks.
Bloody Mary’s and brunches are the best of friends. Its name is usually associated with many female figures but one rather funny name origin theory is the Englishman’s mispronunciation of the Slavic drink, Vladimir — a theory made quite plausible by linguistic challenges and the slurring of speech from the consumption of which. Café Marco’s signature has the classic tomato juice to settle the stomach, salt to replace lost electrolytes and to retain water then vodka to relieve hangover pains.
Using Belvedere Premium Vodka and the usual suspects of salt, pepper, fresh lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, and lemon wedges; their homemade tomato juice and homemade hot sauce make it definitely theirs. A dedicated DIY station at the buffet allows one to do just that or one can leave personal preferences with the bartender for an expertly handcrafted drink. Its classic garnish of a leafy celery stick came with a skewer of olives, cheese and shrimp. Bent on making it a Really Happy Meal, my variation included a Pulled Pork and Beef Patty Slider and, for a local touch, a skewer of lechon meat cubes and its crispy skin.
Did I mention the free-flowing Mimosas yet? The golden blend of champagne and orange juice, is a “hair of dog” of the fancier breed. You’ll have to admit that there is no way to say Mimosa without some involuntary posturing. The citrus flavor and the fizz are the waker-uppers while the alcohol stays the regret of having had one too many the night before.
So far into the meal, I’ve managed to balance the liquids with solids by grazing across the themed sections. The buffet’s pass-around feature with hors d’oeuvre miniatures of all their dishes helps bring these to the guests’ attention. Sample-sizing allowed for more, well, sampling, too.
Stuffed and soused, I decided to just gaze longingly at the dessert selections from my table and drown my sugar cravings in an endless cup of black brewed. Plus, as it is, is all about indulgence and excess. The staff brought about the minis of their smoothies already quite decadent in their scale that I shuddered at the thought of a full serving. It then felt as if there was some malicious intent when they also offered a freshly-baked batch of their iconic Malicious Cookies. I’m only human. Who was I to say no?
Café Marco’s Sunday Brunch+ is available every Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Marco Polo Plaza Cebu.