Tucked a stone’s throw away from Madison Square Park at 27 W 24th Street, behind an inviting black patterned exterior is Junoon, the Michelin Star rated Indian restaurant that has been creating a New York City buzz since 2011.Junoon has very recently launched a provocative brunch menu full of fusion flavors that combine traditional brunch items with Indian flair. Furthermore, the bottomless brunch comes with endless mimosas and bellinis and a fabulous party atmosphere! Just entering the restaurant, you are enveloped in the vibrant smell of spices that make your mouth water with the promise of what is to come. The stunning atmosphere of billowing orange curtains and a fifty foot walkway with Indian sandstone sculptures carved to represent the Tree of Life cast shadows in candle light against the walls.
Brunching in New York City is a long-beloved past-time, and Junoon is a welcome addition to a local’s list of favorites. The captivatingly decorated interior includes the Patiala lounge--where we enjoyed our delicious meal--is named after an extravagant Maharaja. The walls are lined with comfortable couches, beckoning you to relax and admire the large ornately carved canopied tables and gorgeous antiques that tastefully fill the room.Our waiter Michael began by offering us our first (of many) bellinis. It is important to note that these bellinis were particularly delicious. They smelt of fresh peaches, and tasted mild and natural. Unlike the sugary concoctions at most bottomless brunches, these were light and refreshing without the heavy sweetness typical of most belinis.
We had the $38 prix fix brunch, which included an appetizer and entrée, as well as our unlimited and delicious drinks. We spent a good bit of time agonizing over which items to order, as everything sounded amazing. A serious debate was held over whether to order the Savory French Toast, stuffed with creamy chicken korma and topped with a sunny-side-up egg or the Sweet French Toast stuffed with apple cardamom chutney and topped with cinnamon whipped cream. Opting for the later, we knew a savory dish was needed as well. There is a Junoon Lamb Burger, served with mozzarella and gruyere cheese, fried onions, green chili-ginger-mint aioli on a brioche bun, served with chaat-fries--a tempting option. However, we decided upon the Janoon Omelet, with onions, spiced mozzarella and spiced Indian potatoes. Of course we chose to add lobster (an extra $8).
There are three choices of appetizers on the prix fix menu, and we are sure we would have enjoyed all of them. We finally decided on the Naan French Toast (we at Joonbug really like French toast, apparently) and the Lahsooni Gobi, crispy cauliflower florets with a tomato-garlic chutney sauce. Also, we got a side of thick-cut maple bacon (because it was very necessary).
First we tried the cauliflower, which are better described as fried crispy bites of spicy goodness. A fork falls right through these things and even with a crunchy exterior; they melt in your mouth. The garlic-tomato chutney had just a touch of spiciness from chili flakes sprinkled on top. Honestly, this was one of our favorite dishes, (our waiter informed us they are also on the dinner menu) and we could have had a meal with just a giant bowl of these Lahsooni Gobi. The naan was covered in powdered sugar and surrounded a decorative bowl filled with spiced maple syrup. They were sweet and warm, and reminded us of zeppoles or beignets. They were truly scrumptuous.
In between having our bellini glasses tirelessly refilled, our attentive waiter Michael introduced us to the manager and chef. Manager Michael Dolinski said that the goal of this brunch is to really highlight the spices of India in a modern and different way, as well as to throw an amazing party for the patrons on a weekly basis. With two huge dining areas—one particularly set up for large parties—and an awesome DJ, we were more than convinced that they were achieving their vision.
Chef Adin Langille presented us with our stunning entrees. He described in detail how he had taken a block of brioche bread, fried it and stuffed it with the apple chutney. He then placed it in a pool of jaggery and black cardamom maple syrup. Finally, he added a liberal swoop of spiced whipped cream and a serving of warm berries. The meal (which we couldn’t help but finish) was outstanding, and the height of comfort food. It was reminiscent of warm apple pie. Our favorite part was the whipped cream, which was almost a bit bitter, but matched perfectly with the sweetness of the spiced maple syrup. The bacon, hand-cut in house is from a family owned Wisconsin farm. It was, honestly, the best bacon we have ever tasted. It wasn’t crispy, and conversely melted in our mouths with every bite. The omelet contained extremely generous chunks of fresh lobster, was lovingly prepared and well-complemented by the Indian spiced potatoes. Chef Adin was traditionally trained in French and modern American cooking, having cooked in kitchens such as those of Alain Ducasse, Michael White and Eric Hara. He brings just the right touch of Western technique to the flair of Indian spice and flavor.
After we finished eating, we were too stuffed to want to move. However, we miraculously dragged ourselves to the other room where the DJ played and groups of extremely fashionable New Yorkers danced the night day away. Complete with bottle service and live acoustics, you would think that you were in the hottest NYC nightclub, but it was only 4:30 pm.
The service, the atmosphere, but most importantly the food were all impeccable at Janoon. Perfect for your next big party, or a fun date, brunch is served every Saturday from 1 to 4p.m. and followed by 2 hours of drink service and dancing. Or join them for dinner, and experience the excellent traditional Indian food that got them their Michelin rating. Either way, we know you won’t be disappointed!