The Renaissance, brunch that takes you places
The Renaissance Hotel, Prospekt Mira. The far side of an immense, dangerous city. Brunch starts at midday, finishes at 5 p.m.
That's a long way. Can I make it out of bed, out of my flat and to the hotel before brunch finishes? Even if I can, will I be in respectable enough condition to be admitted? Last Sunday I couldn't even speak.
There's nothing like planning your weekend in the knowledge that you will be condemned to rise unnaturally early on Sunday. I didn't fancy my chances.
Did I make it? I don't know. I have the most vivid memories of a most wonderful brunch. What's not clear, though, is whether I actually got up, zombie-like, and trekked off to brunch, or dreamed the whole thing. Dreams are not usually so satisfying, though.
Sunday is the Sabbath. Usually I find myself resenting that, questioning whether or not my local church really needs to sound its bells loud enough to wake God Himself. But, to taste heaven; that's something else.
The Renaissance Brunch. The Shadow would laugh it off as small fry, an out-ofthe-center hotel. Who would stoop so low for a Sunday meal? But this is no ordinary out-of-the-center hotel. Who wants to be stuck in the center? Too many confusing traffic restrictions, too many people. Prospekt Mira is spacious.
And the Renaissance itself? An island of dreams, an oasis of decadence, subtly located beside the Olympic stadium. And oh boy, is brunch ever served! The packed-to-the-gills parking lot says, well, it says a lot. It says that this is a popular brunch spot, which is why there were so few tables available.
Working totally undercover, I moved smoothly and silently and fed well. There was an enormous carving station, overloaded with fresh meats: Suckling pig, ribs and some fishy fellas. I must have devoured a whole pig before moving onto the salads and sparkling wine. A little on the gassy side for a Sunday morning, but I guess that is unavoidable.
Revitalized, I bypassed the Asian cooking station, where I could have sampled anything from Tokyo to Mongolia, and the pasta station, offering the cheeriest of Italian welcomes, and made straight for the dessert table. I do remember the overwhelming excitement that tormented me as I contemplated the variety of creamy options, but then, nothing.
And woke up back in my flat. Flat out on my bed and unable to move. Was it real? Well, I was full, so full that I didn't eat for another 24 hours. The Renaissance brunch is, surely, as good as any. And "eat all you like" is an invitation to danger, especially on a Sunday.