What better way to start my fall break than to finally redeem my GiltCity coupon (purchased in July) for a leisurely brunch at Mister Collins. Following it with a massage was just the icing on the proverbial cake (or in this case, donut – see infra), but I assure you, even if you don’t have an hour and a half of deep tissue with a woman named Helga scheduled for after your brunch, you will have a relaxing and very scrumptious Sunday morning. I had never been to Bal Harbour before, so after getting stuck in 95′s fast lane without a sunpass and deviously driving over those rubber orange dividers (oops), Emily & I finally made it to Mister Collins.
I was skeptical about what this GiltyCity package was really going to be like. Recently, so many articles have been published about these sorts of “deals.” Just last week, Food & Wine published an article about Brunch deals not being worth it. Particularly relevant to GiltGroupe, some have coined the phrase ‘JiltCity,’ so I walked in quite weary about if the promised deal was going to come true or not. I was especially interested to see if the “pastry to go, wrapped in a GiltCity bag” would actually happen. In addition, was the promised bottle of champagne going to be the size of a minibar bottle? GiltCity and Mister Collins (and that lovely, lovely, full-sized champagne bottle) surpassed my expectations by a long shot. What I’m about to describe will sound like a lot of food for brunch, but keep in mind that a smart person redeeming this type of deal (ME) plans ahead: you go late enough that you won’t be hungry again until 8 pm or later, if even at all. Or, you go the day after Yom Kippur.
We started off our meal with zucchini bread & orange scented brioche, with 4 different spreads: an almost savory mango-chutney, rich butter, apple compote, and jam. We noshed on this while enjoying our first glass of Roederer Estate, which we soon-after turned into Mimosas. Ordering our allotted two items off of the “In the Beginning” portion of the menu, we opted for the trio of donuts & the duck confit hash. Both selections were standouts. Breaking the Lake Meadow Farms egg over the confit, the confit and crisp potatoes were the perfect medium to sopp up the yolk. The arugula provided a nice peppery contrast to cut the richness. Which came first, the egg or the confit?
The donuts (or doughnuts, depending on your preference. which way do you spell it?) were truly irresistible. They were the perfect texture and density – not too light, like some yeast donuts (in my opinion), but not too heavy either. The fillings were the star. Key lime was actually tart as it should be; blueberry filling boasted perfect blueberries that maintained their sweetness with a tinge of tartness as well; apple compote was understated, sophisticated, and reminiscent of the fall season I am missing out on. Without any further ado, some food porn (these donuts are not shy):
Our server understood that the deal came with a lot of food, so we really coursed this out and waited a while before we put in our orders of Lobster roll with fried pickles and shrimp and grits. The Chef is from South Carolina, so you can imagine how yummy this was. The Anson Mills grits were…wow. Coarse, creamy, cheesy, buttery, rich…everything good grits should be. The tomato broth and the shrimp provided a brightness to the grits that disallowed them from being too heavy, which was fabulous since I just ate duck and doughnuts and champagne and bread and….you get the picture. The homemade andouille sausage had a nice crispiness to it as well. Emily’s lobster roll was made without any mayonnaise, letting the quality of the lobster shine through. It was served simply on a buttered and grilled split roll, with melted butter on the side. It was fresh, clean, and classic. Who needs mayonnaise? The roll was served with by far the best fried pickles I’ve ever had. I’ve been known the literally peel the “fried” part off of the pickle before (especially at Burger&Beer Joint), either because its too seasoned or just too much. These had the lightest coating on them, and came with housemade, grainy honey mustard, a welcome change from the buttermilk/ranch dressing normally served.
The mac n’ cheese was a lovely breakfast the next morning, each noodle coated inside and out in cheesiness, as clearly nothing else could possibly fit in our stomachs (although we were offered coffee/tea to end our meal, as promised by the deal). As advertised, we were given a GiltCity goodiebag, filled with individual bags of little treats: bittersweet chocolate covered nuts, dusted in gold. White chocolate discs covered in dried fruits, decorated with pink and green deco print. Spiced caramel corn. Probably one of the most elegant treatbags I’ve ever been given- Mister Collins, do you guys fill pinatas, and if not, can I trick-or-treat at your house? Our meal was perfect. Every ‘t’ was crossed, every ‘i’ was dotted. The food left nothing to be desired, except another trip back as soon as possible. Brunch is served on Sundays from 11-4. -Stefanie
P.S. I didn’t eat again til the next morning. For $55, this was quite the (steal) deal.