(CNS Foodie): For Mother’s Day, we tried out the brunch at The Lighthouse in Breakers. While food and service clearly are among the top considerations when deciding on a place to eat, there is no denying the fantastic location of this restaurant, which is right on the water with a spectacular view. Ironically though, we opted to sit inside and were actually glad we did because it was quite windy outside and I don’t really enjoy eating while being wind blown; hence the slight deduction for ambience in this review. We also were happy for the air-con and proximity to the food.
We booked our table for right at the beginning of the brunch (it runs from 11:30am-3pm) and our timing could not have been better. We were seated right away and our server came quickly to take our drinks order. Throughout our meal the waiter was very accommodating and friendly. While table service for a buffet is limited to bringing drinks and clearing plates, nonetheless we appreciated the efforts of the wait staff.
There were a few lapses, though. Once, after going up to get a second plate of food, we returned to dirty plates at our table. However, when the waiter came to clear, he apologised. He also answered all our questions about the food and drinks and if he didn’t know the answer, he got it quickly from someone who did.
We started with the drinks special, “Sunday Sangria”, which caused a bit of confusion. The photo on the card was of a pitcher of traditional sangria with red wine and orange slices. However, listed were prosecco, fragolino, moscato and rosé versions (though I never could determine if rosé was actually offered) and only the prosecco, as the house wine, was available by the glass (at $12, and $35 for the pitcher) and it came loaded with diced fresh fruit – watermelon, grapes, pineapple and strawberry. It tasted lovely but I do not enjoy eating my drink so I found all the fruit rather off-putting.
But thus refreshed, we headed to the salad bar, which, like the hot buffet, had a few special items added for Mother’s Day. To celebrate the day, the raw bar offered tuna sashimi, in addition to the usual marinated New Zealand mussels, octopus ceviche, Alaskan rum-cured smoked salmon, steamed prawns and tuna tartare. My only complaint about the sashimi is that I could not find any wasabi to accompany it, and I could not discern any special flavours infused in the mussels by the marinade. The rest of the seafood was lovely and I especially liked the ceviche; the octopus was tender and delicious, so my concern about it being chewy was unfounded.
The salad bar also included Caesar, mixed-green and potato salads, all perfectly fine, but nothing special; grilled rosemary chicken salad, a flavourful, light version of the usual mayonnaise-laden item; and a beet root and green bean salad with feta. Since I never have come up with a good reason to eat beetroot, I cannot comment on that particular salad. There was also a seafood salad added in for Mother’s Day, which was a nice mix of lobster, scallops, shrimp and calamari. The seafood was nice and fresh, but I did find it a bit bland.
After several more sips (and chews) of our prosecco, we headed back for the hot food. The carving station, which normally only offers roast prime rib, included roast leg of lamb as well. Both were presented rare but anyone wishing for more-well-done meat could ask the server to cook it longer on the grill. Accompanying the beef was a red wine reduction, with a marsala wine reduction for the lamb. I found both to be a touch on the sweet side, though I admit I am more of a mustard/horseradish person for my roast beef and mint sauce for lamb.
The hot items also included chicken stir-fry (a Mother’s Day special which again I found too sweet, but it did evoke the flavours expected of a Chinese dish); BBQ ribs (fall-off-the-bone tender and not slathered in sauce, but tasting nicely of the BBQ); grilled mahi mahi in coconut lime sauce (I have never met a mahi mahi I have really liked and this did not change my opinion); penne shrimp and mushroom ravioli, both in a tomato cream sauce and both added for Mother’s Day, though there is a pasta station otherwise (I enjoyed the penne pasta but loved the ravioli; the delicate mushroom flavour came through the light, creamy sauce perfectly); and a vegetable array of broccoli, julienne carrots and roast potatoes, plus fried plantains (while I appreciated that the vegetables were nice and crispy despite being in the chafing dish, they were boring).
There was also the requisite breakfast offering, this time a chafing dish containing bacon, sausage and scrambled eggs. I steered clear of that since there were so many better choices and I just see no point in cooking scrambled eggs and then leaving them in a heated dish; nothing good ever comes of that. It looked like most people passed over this as well.
As for the dessert, thank goodness I am a firm believer in pacing myself to allow room for sweets at the end. The nice variety of items included caramel flan; assorted mousses and cakes, including a Mother’s Day layer cake; and fresh fruit. While I enjoyed the flan, the overwhelming favourites were the mixed berry cheesecake, which struck a nice balance between the traditional heaviness of the New York version, and the lightness required after a big meal, and the bread and butter pudding, which was nothing short of divine. Specially added for the day, it was beautifully warm, light and spongy, topped by a vanilla sauce and sprinkled with blackberries, raspberries and blueberries. The lovely concoction called us back for seconds and, to be completely honest, thirds as well.
Also worth noting was that even though we stayed for about two hours, we never felt rushed, though we did feel a bit guilty as we left because the queue was out the door, with cars deposited up and down the road due to the limited space of the car park. And, despite the restaurant filling as we sat, there was plenty of room between tables so it didn’t feel crowded.
Overall, a lovely way to spend a few hours on Mother’s Day and we all agreed it was worth a return engagement.
The price for this special brunch was $35 plus 15% service; regular Sunday brunch costs $29 plus service.