We always have this ideal Sunday morning in our mind which starts with a leisure breakfast at The Pen followed by an easy walk to church down the Nathan Road on a Sunday morning. But in practice we often opted for the second best, but a much easier option instead, which was to sleep in until we must get up to be on time for church.
Well, a couple Sundays ago, we finally managed to check out the breakfast at the legendary hotel, on that particular day when church service started one hour later than usual. And as a bonus, we were greeted by the welcoming sight of the gigantic Christmas tree and twinkling lights draping down the pillars from the high ceiling as we stepped into this splendid building. The hotel truly have the most impressive Christmas decorations of all places in town, year in year out.
While one could opt for a simple cup of coffee or tea plus simple pastries as breakfast at the lobby cafe, we were more in the mood for something more proper, so we walked upstairs to The Verandah, where breakfast is served daily with a generous spread at the buffet table inside the saloon-style dining room on the Mezzanine Floor. We were caught by surprise when they informed us the restaurant was full, but we didn't mind waiting for just a quick moment when a table soon became available.
It is not uncommon for high-end hotels in Asia to serve a full spectrum of different dishes even during breakfast hour, something we almost took for granted these days. In that regards I guess the breakfast buffet table at The Verandah was just about average (or slightly above), offering a decent variety of choices but definitely not the most I have seen in places of similar caliber. They basically got everything I have expected - eggs and rice congee prepared to order at their respective cooking stations, the usual selection of breakfast meats and vegetables, a few Cantonese dim-sum items, pastries and breads, waffles and fruits, juices and milk, cold cuts, cheese and salad. They were all decent but nothing stood out as spectacular.
I usually paid special attention to my breakfast pastries, and while there were quite a few selections, I found them just alright. Soft and fluffy yes, but the dough didn't have enough flavors and for most, definitely not buttery enough, the typical problem of pastry chefs opting to adopt too much to local preferences.
Nonetheless, we enjoyed our time at breakfast and thought the meal set us in the right jolly and relaxed mood for the rest of the day. The ambiance was impeccably pampering - most of the time the hotel lobby might be infested with herds of people lining up in a long queue wanting to score a table at the highly-coveted but otherwise ordinary afternoon tea, but in the early morning even though the restaurant was "full", I never felt it's crowded, nor there's any line for anything. Perhaps it's the only time when the hotel truly lived up to its fame of being one of the most classiest in this side of the world.
Wonder if we could do breakfast at The Pen more often...