In honor of the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress’s 30th Anniversary, the quintessential Sunday Brunch at La Coquina will return for an encore on Sunday, February 2, 2014.
This brunch is an elegant, intimate experience unlike any other. It begins in the hotel’s grand lobby, where guests are greeted by a talking parrot named Merlot. A host escorts each party down a narrow stairway that’s encased with a unique black wrought iron sculptured cage, adding to the mystery. Heading down the stairs, it feels like you’re going into a dark basement, but the view from the landing is anything but. La Coquina features floor-to-ceiling glass windows overlooking a fountain, with views of the gardens and lake beyond.
You may be wondering what this lovely space has been used for since the 2012 closing of La Coquina. Some rumored that it had been torn down or turned into a spa. Well, it’s still the same, and the hotel now uses the space for weddings and other special events. To the right of the dining room is the entrance to the kitchen, with walls plastered with the dozens of Best Brunch awards from years past.
Executive Chef Kenneth Juran, who led La Coquina for over 20 years, escorts guests into the kitchen to begin their ultimate brunch experience. La Coquina serves brunch inside of the kitchen, with small stations all around that feature seafood, freshly made waffles, antipasti, fruits, and cold salads. Chefs prepare the day’s featured entrees to order for each guest. Outside in the dining room, Executive Pastry Chef Steven Rujak’s array of exquisite cakes, chocolates, and other sweets tempt guests from a dramatic window display.
We enjoyed learning all about the history and the future of La Coquina from the chefs and hotel executives. And of course, we took the opportunity to lobby them to reopen La Coquina on a regular basis. The chefs are passionate about their craft, and they bring their artistic flair to everything they do- including Sous Chef Tournant Kyle Anderson, who even played the baby grand piano for us while we enjoyed our brunch!
The menu for the La Coquina revival is the same as when the brunch began in 1984. The chefs created some of the signature dishes for us to preview. We started with an array of gorgeous caviars, served on toast with La Coquina’s secret-recipe shallot crème fraiche. The Beef Wellington with Puff Pastry, Mushroom Duxell, and Truffle Madeira Sauce was insanely delicious. I was so impressed by the tenderness and rich flavor of the meat. We also sampled a light and refreshing Whole Roasted Dover Sole With Lemon Herb Butter and a delightful garnish of shaved asparagus. The Parsley Crusted Rack of Lamb was accented with a pesto-like mint sauce and creamy, lightly herbed roasted marble potatoes.
I can’t wait to return February 2 to try the Breast of Pheasant with Ravioli, and the famous Belgian Waffles with Devonshire Cream. We heard from the pastry chefs that these waffles are their favorite item they make, so they must be incredible! We sampled several desserts, including a mind-blowing passionfruit custard pie, done in the style of a key lime pie, perfectly tender macarons, and a perfect chocolate-almond cookie. A variety of wines, both sparkling and still, will be available to complement each meal. During our preview we enjoyed Perrier-Jouet Fleur de Champagne Belle Epoque 2002. This Champagne’s citrus, dried apricot, and fig accents revealed different flavors throughout the meal, but retained a silky, supple, feel.
The resort setting is gorgeous… when you go, make sure to take a stroll around the grounds afterwards. Take a look at the pool, grottos, and romantic swinging bridge, then find the walking path for a relaxing turn around Lake Windsong. It’s a lovely way to extend your enjoyment of this unforgettable Sunday Brunch extravaganza.
Live entertainment; resort attire preferred
$69 per person (plus tax and gratuity)
Open for seatings 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Call to make reservations: 407.239.3830