When our Uber driver dropped us off at the entrance to The Setai, the first thing we noticed was the "Leading Hotels of the World" plaque. From that moment, we knew we were in for a special experience.
Although we are not staying at The Setai on this trip to South Beach, we were invited to enjoy the famed Sunday Jazz Brunch. Upon arrival, we were greeted by the Maitre 'd who showed us to a beautiful table at one end of The Courtyard. The Courtyard is an outdoor space protected from the elements by a semi-opaque retractable awning. Jazz music is already playing when we arrive, transforming the otherwise peaceful garden atmosphere into an entertaining venue perfect for Sunday Brunch.
Soon after we are seated, a waiter arrives with a bottle of Roederer Champagne and two glasses are poured. Mimosas and Bloody Marys are also available. Our waiter then invited us to accompany him on a quick tour of what has to be one of the most comprehensive brunch buffets in the country. The Jaya Restaurant has been completely transformed into a series of serving stations with an international flair. For those interested in a late breakfast, a pan of Eggs Benedict stands at the ready along with every other breakfast item you can imagine, including blueberry pancakes. Of course, eggs are prepared to order, if you wish.
Nobody can walk by the "raw tower" without trying the oysters, shrimp or clams.
Being more of a lunch-person than a breakfast-person, I was more interested in the Dim Sum station featuring beautiful, delicate shrimp dumplings. But, I soon learned that the ethnic cuisine does not end with Chinese. An array of Thai and Indian dishes are presented in exotic copper braziers. Selections included a Thai coconut soup, Thai chicken wings, fish curry, pork and fried rice, among others.
From India, there were just as many, if not more choices. I was stunned to see they actually had two Tandoor ovens where fresh Naan bread is baked!
Those with more American tastes are not forgotten. Offerings included a carving station featuring a beautiful roast beef, leg of lamb, baked chicken, and much, much more.
It is safe to say that there is something for everyone on the buffet. This description does not even cover half of the items offered. We begin filling our plates, or should I say, our first plates. While Rickee goes for the Eggs Benedict and pancakes, I head directly for the Thai and Indian selections. As we begin to enjoy our meal, photographers are preparing to shoot an upcoming fashion show that will take place at the other end of the Courtyard.
Return visits to the buffet found me trying a wide variety of Thai, Chinese, and Indian specialties. All were delicious, but the Butter Chicken was my favorite. Each time we returned from the buffet line, we found that our previous plates had been removed and clean utensils placed on the table. The linen napkins were even replaced. Our champagne glasses were refilled whenever they got below half full.
The dessert table was something to behold, with a few items adorned with gold accents. The cinnamon sugar doughnut holes fit in nicely with the peach cobbler. They even had Thai sticky rice with mango! But my favorite was the liquid-nitrogen ice cream station.
The fresh ice cream mix is poured into a mixer along with liquid nitrogen and voilá, instant ice cream! It was creamy and delicious and the perfect ending to a delicious brunch.
Whether you are in South Beach for a weekend trip, or as part of a pre-/post-cruise stay, the Sunday Brunch at The Setai is a culinary experience you will not soon forget. At $80 per person, it is not cheap, but with free-flowing champagne, seemingly limitless choices, and one of the most beautiful venues in Miami, it is well worth the splurge. Just don't eat breakfast before you show up!
For more information, or to make reservations, visit www.thesetaihotel.com/culinary-offers-events.php