Thursday, October 05, 2006

Vampire, The Buffet Slayer

Sundays hold a special place in the affections of most people. Despite the cold, fetid breath of Monday morning breathing down the back of one's neck, it’s still possible, if not downright essential, to unwind, forget one's worries and release the pressure on arteries as stretched as those of Jakarta itself. Some people find Sabbath nirvana via the hang gliding, parasailing, bungee jumping, shark wrestling route. Others however prefer to spend a supine Sunday in a rather less healthy manner, doing as little as humanly possible aside from shoveling copious amounts of food and alcohol into their corpulent frames at one of the capital's many five-star hotel brunch buffets.

As a devout believer in this second path to enlightenment, I thought that a little roundup of some of these calorific orgies would be in order. Hopefully, some of you reading this now will be at one of these luxury buffets, resolutely chewing your way through the rear half of a cow and smearing red wine mustard all over your copy of the Post. For the rest of you, no doubt perched on some ghastly formica stool in some apocalypse of a shopping plaza food court, let's take a look at what you're missing.

Most Sunday brunch buffets clock in at between Rp.100,000 and Rp.200,000 and feature a dizzying array of international cuisine. You'll usually find a multitude of tables heaving with Japanese, Indonesian, European, South-East Asian and Chinese cuisine. In addition, these prices usually include a free flow of some kind of alcoholic drink such as beer, wine or sparkling wine pretending to be Champagne. All you have to do is to follow the example set by Monty Python's gargantuan Mr. Creosote character and place a large helping of each one of the hundreds of exotic dishes on offer into a large bucket and garnish with a fried egg on top.

Favourite venues and which to digest a month's worth of calories at a single sitting include the Intercontinental Hotel (251 0888) just off Jl. Sudirman which does mean line in Oyster Shooters and the aforementioned pretend champagne. The JW Marriott's buffet (579 88888) is also excellent as are the ones in the Grand Melia Hotel (526 8080) on Jl. Rasuna Said, the Mulia Hotel (574 7777) on Jl. Asia Afrika near Plaza Senayan and the Four Seasons Hotel (252 3456) in Kuningan. There are plenty more Sunday buffets in town aside from this lot although a special mention should go to the new Satoo restaurant in the Shangri-La Hotel (570 7440). Satoo offers the titanic Sunday buffet experience every night of the week for a fraction under Rp.200,000 although no alcoholic drinks are included in this price. It's not the cheapest meal going perhaps but there's an absolute cornucopia of food on offer, including authentic Indian dishes and Peking Duck.

They say that gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins and certainly these buffets could have potentially fatal consequences if the breathing difficulties I encounter after a four-hour splurge are anything to go by. Just roll out of bed at about 11 AM on Sunday morning and rock up to a five-star hotel of your choice at midday. Then all that remains to do is to check into a hospital 5 hours later for quintuple bypass surgery.

Simon Pitchforth