(Joyce’s note: I know I know, it’s one month too late to do a recap of a Christmas brunch. But hey, this will be useful for this Christmas! It’s never too early to start planning these things.)
Last year, we went to Mosaic for its Christmas buffet brunch was partly due to our inability to get a table at Herons. Mosaic was our second choice. This time around, I booked ahead and managed to give Herons a try.
For the ease of food planning and crowd control, you only got to book one of the two available seatings: 11:30am or 1:30pm. Each seating was 1.5 hour long to leave 30 minutes for turnaround. By the looks of it, Herons offered a much more extensive buffet brunch menu.
For $56 per person, here are some highlights:
- Smoked Salmon and Traditional Benedict
- Miniature Pancakes and Waffles, Warm Berry Compote
- Chilled Crab Legs
- Smoked Trout and Peppered Mackerel
- West Coast Oysters
- Confit Duck and Orange Salad
- Dim Sum Station
- AAA Smoked Prime Rib au jus
- Honey Glazed Ham
- Butter Glazed Turkey Breast
- Miso Poached Cod Loin
- Classic Beef Bourguignon
- Braised Fennel Ravioli with Crab
- Valrhona Chocolate Fountain
- Chef’s Selection of Festive Delights
Overall impression? Over-promised and under-delivered. We chose Herons because of its long, diverse menu, but we soon realized that they didn’t bring out everything on the menu. And it’s so obvious, too, given that they printed out ALL menu items on their signage even though you may not find them all. There were things that we wanted to have (e.g. waffles) but they were nowhere to be seen. Another issue was that they pretty much stopped refilling (e.g. crab legs and desserts) when we’re only halfway into our seating. Errr…we weren’t quite done eating, but we’re already seeing empty trays. And we got the early seating, which means they would have prepared additional amount for 1:30pm and they could’ve made more if they were to bring some extra for refill.
Flavour wise, because I attended a number of conferences and events at the hotel before, I was happy with its food quality. At this buffet, there was nothing stunning about the food, but it was above average quality. I was quite impressed by the variety of food on the counters. I like that they shucked the fresh oysters in front of you (time consuming, though) and the dessert station was heaven. They also had a kid’s station; it’s lowered so it allowed kids to help themselves which was a nice touch. Having said that, we did get some sub-par prime rib. For someone who orders her meat medium rare, this prime rib was just too rare. It’s so rare that the chef basically warned us before he even cut into it. I was surprised that they didn’t do anything about it. There’s no spare piece of meat; they didn’t take it back to the kitchen. I was also surprised that they would allow such mistake. I’d assume that they monitored the meat temperature while roasting it, and there’s a formula, based on weight, to calculate how long it takes to cook a piece of prime rib. Honestly it’s quite disappointing.
At the end of the day, between the two, I think we prefer the Mosaic brunch. The quality was more consistent throughout and it’s cheaper. The service was also better. The servers at Herons weren’t so keen on serving our table. I may come back to Herons for brunch/lunch or dinner, but I wouldn’t recommend this Christmas buffet brunch.
Herons Restaurant and Lounge at Fairmont Waterfront
900 Canada Place, Vancouver