This week, let's head to Hamilton's Kitchen for our Sunday brunch.
HK, of course, is the ever-better restaurant inside the Alfond Inn. As the hotel's sole restaurant, it serves three meals every day, but Sundays bring a little something extra, including a Build Your Own Bloody Mary or Mimosa option. What is usually reserved as the chef's table, at the head of the dining room in front of the window into the kitchen, becomes a spread of Bloody Mary accouterments and brightly decorated with tomatoes, celery stalks and vodka bottles. But hold on, this isn't a help-yourself Bloody Mary bar.
Instead, you're given a checklist that allows you to choose the ingredients you want, including the brand and flavor of vodka, plus such things as chili powder, chorizo and bacon. Hand your selections to your server and it will be made to your specifications and brought to your table. There's a checklist for customizing your mimosa, as well, but sadly it did not include bacon.
The brunch menu is heavier on the unch than on the br. I selected the Farmer's Breakfast, which included two eggs, cooked to order (even though the menu said sunny side up), sausage links, skillet potatoes and English muffin bread. My eggs were beautifully cooked (over easy, thank you) and accompanied by sauteed asparagus and a small salad of dressed greens. I thought at first that the English muffin bread was a menu misprint but that's exactly what it turned out to be: bread made in the style of an English muffin, complete with characteristic nooks and crannies, and then sliced and toasted. It came with some house-made jam but I liked it with just the ample slathering of butter.
Actually, I ended up having three eggs because after we had placed our order, the restaurant's chef, Andre Roberts, or Chef Dre, as he's known, came by with a delicious amuse bouche of a sort of Benedict with a small Lake Meadows egg atop a slice of steak sitting on a crostini, with a bit of rich hollandaise. If you ever see that on the menu, grab it.
One of my guests had the grilled chicken and mozzarella panini, which had delicious oven-roasted tomatoes and a generous stacking of spicy baby arugula between the toasted slices of bread. The thin and crispy fries that accompanied were quite tasty.
Another companion had the Classic Chicken Cobb Salad, with chopped eggs,blue cheese, tomatoes, bacon (wonderful bacon) and chicken, which tasted as though it had just recently been grilled.
The dining room is well suited for a brunch atmosphere, though it would have been nice to sit out on the verandah that overlooks the Alfond courtyard. There are tables there, and heaters, too, but my companions and I didn't think even the heaters could keep us as toasty warm as the dining room. And besides, we were able to enjoy the live music inside, too.
Hamilton's Kitchen is at the Alfond Inn, 300 E. New England Ave., Winter Park. Brunch is served Sundays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The phone number is 407-998-8090.