Saturday, December 7, 2013

Travelle {Review}

Brunch is one of my favorite meals of the day but it's also one that I don't always have the luxury of enjoying. Weekdays are out because of work and most of my weekends I'm either teaching, have appointments, errands to run or there's just some place I need to be. But thankfully, I recently had a chance to spend a few hours with an awesome friend, catch up on things and best of all, have an amazing brunch. We were blown away from the beginning of our experience of Travelle, a restaurant inside Chicago's Langham hotel

Located on the hotel's second floor, Travelle features Chef Tim Graham's contemporary take on the Mediterranean cuisine. Drawing inspiration from the region's rich culinary history, the kitchen takes guests on a culinary journey that extends from the shores of Southern France to the exotic spice markets of Turkey and beyond. Sourcing the best local ingredients and offering Chef Graham's interpretation of Mediterranean-inspired cuisine, each dish is simply and creatively presented.  
Travelle features interiors created by renowned designer David Rockwell, showcasing the pure lines of Mies van der Rohe's modern architecture. The wood and metal finishes pay tribute to the architect's industrial-age aesthetic, while a central digital art installation and floor-to-ceiling windows convey a contemporary elegance.  
Beyond the bronze-enhanced glass entrance, Travelle's Wine Room offers a tasting table for up to 10 people and also can serve as an intimate semi-private dining room. The contemporary main dining area features a chef's table and seating for up to 125 guests as well as a glass-enclosed show kitchen, allowing guests to enjoy a culinary performance. 
Occupying a corner of the building, Travelle's window-framed bar is ideal for pre-dinner drinks or late-night cocktails. While its leather-upholstered seating and ebony accents suggest old-world charm, the richly patterned stone floor and distinctive spun-brass pendant ceiling present cutting-edge design.  
The adjoining lounge, overlooking the Chicago River, features panoramic cityscape and skyline views. A 30-foot digital artwork lines the lounge wall while midcentury-inspired furniture recalls the era of classic cocktail culture. Live entertainment fills the space Thursday through Saturday evenings where libations and conversations flow in a convivial setting.

It's absolutely stunning from the moment you step in. The one thing I immediately noticed was the central kitchen completely surrounded by clear windows so you can see all the magic happening before your very eyes. It was almost like being at home in an open kitchen, but on a much more elegant scale.

We started out with mimosas, the only way to start a proper brunch! Melissa and I peruse the menu and even before having any food come out, we were impressed. Their brunch menu offered so many delicious items, making it hard to choose. Some things to note - their Seafood Elevation. Unlike a tower of seafood coming to your table all at once, their Seafood Elevation comes in waves, where you're given a sampling of various seafood over a few courses.

Speaking of seafood, there's plenty of it represented on their menu. Much like a traditional charcuterie board of sausages, cheeses and breads, Travelle offers a 'Seacuterie' board which includes items like a scallop boudin sausage, octopus 'mosaic' carpaccio, and a fish paté. We enjoyed a Seacuterie board as one of our starters and it was delicious, different and a creative way to look at seafood a bit differently. 

Another starter we had was their beet, puffed quinoa encrusted goat cheese and tangerine supremes. I loved how colorful this salad was and the varying textures really worked nicely together.


the Moroccan Benedict
Merguez sausage, mint & piquillo sauce

For our entrées, both Melissa and I got an eggs benedict. This happens to be my favorite breakfast/brunch dish of all time and not only does Travelle have it on the menu, they six different varieties. I opted for the Travelle Benedict with included succulent lobster, spinach and a truffled hollandaise sauce. Amazing! Melissa chose the Norweigan Benedict where smoked salmon, fennel and a choron sauce [which is similar to a Bernaise sauce made with tomato paste.]

White Chocolate, Apricot French Toast Bread Pudding

And because we couldn't pass up dessert, we opted for the Grapefruit Pithivier. I'm not really a grapefruit fan, but this dessert may just have converted me. Graprefruit supremes are bruléed and served with a Campari gel and a scoop of honey ice cream. The presentation of the dish was almost too pretty to eat.

Overall, we had a fantastic and delicious time at Travelle and I would definitely recommend it while visiting the city... or during this time of year, if you're checking out the holiday windows at the Macy's on State Street. It's a short walk over the Chicago River bridge and the Langham and Travelle are directly across the street from the Trump Building. I would like to come again and try out dinner for a taste of their Mediterranean inspired dishes but as for brunch, I really enjoyed this and would definitely go back!