Brunch & Bubbly

Israeli couscous at Silks restaurant in San Francisco
Israeli couscous at Silks restaurant in San Francisco

by Tiffany Maleshefski

What’s the best thing about brunch? Mimosas. And the best thing about mimosas? Champagne. So thanks be to the brilliant minds at Silks, the stunning dining room inside the Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco, which has given the world the build-your-own Champagne cocktail bar. For $20, guests can enjoy endless Champagne cocktails they’ve designed themselves at the restaurant’s Sunday brunch. Guests can create their cocktails from a rather lengthy list of recommended recipes or go rogue and put together their own bubbly concoctions with an impressive spread of accoutrements.

We took the bar for a spin and started out with the more traditional: a sugar cube, a few dashes of bitters, and a lemon twist.

Verdict: Delightful.

We next moved on to one of our fave drinks of all time, the Kir Royal: crème de cassis liqueur and bubbly.

Verdict: We went way too heavy on the crème de cassis…but still delicious.

Other recipes include the traditional mimosa, an Aussie mimosa (pineapple juice and bubbly), and a cocktail called the Citrus (strawberries, mint leaves, simple syrup, lime juice, triple sec, and Champagne). Had laundry not been on our to-do list, we’d have probably tried all four. But alas…

While we were at it, we sat down to indulge in Silks’ famously decadent brunch.

While not the most traditional brunch item, one would be remiss not to start with the Israeli couscous, a simple dish of couscous and vegetables that’s given a wonderful dose of succulence thanks to a generous pouring of herb chicken jus, while a touch of mascarpone keeps all the elements clung together. It’s like a savory porridge.

Another pleasant surprise is the MO Hash, a chicken hash with poached eggs that is given an ample amount of punch thanks to a layer of salsa and a liberal helping of spicy chipotle hollandaise.

And even if you can only bear a bite, try a neat little square of Silks’ bourbon bread pudding that’s served with banana ice cream. Wash it all down with another Champagne cocktail of your own creation!

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You can click on each photo to enlarge to see dishes from Silks’ restaurant menu.

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