I may not be a native, but I’ve been here long enough to know that doing brunch at the Brown Palace is a thing. When my friend Boulder Foodie invited me along to try out their famous Sunday Champagne brunch for gratis, I excitedly jumped at the chance.
Housed in the historic 1892 hotel (the second-oldest in Denver) the Brown Palace brunch truly feels like a special event. Walking through the gorgeous sky-high atrium and lobby, it feels like you’re walking into another era as soon as you step through the doors. Ellyngton’s, one of several restaurants and bars at the hotel, is where the all-you-can-eat brunch is held only on Sundays at 10am-2pm.
Please note: Financial compensation was not received for this post. My Brown Palace Sunday Champagne brunch was free of charge. Opinions expressed here are my own.
With a traditional color palette of cream, burgundy, and forest green, Ellyngton’s feels upscale and fancy in an old-timey sort of way. A little jazz band made up of some adorable older gentlemen set up in the middle of the room played tunes. Although Ellyngton’s is a formal setting, with white tablecloths, fully wallpapered walls, wall-to-wall patterned carpet, and brass chandeliers, the friendly and attentive service made me instantly feel at ease.
The meal began with a festive start with our champagne glasses being filled with Moët by our waiter. (Fun fact: Despite being French champagne, the name is derived from Dutch creators and is actually pronounced “Mo’wett”.)
Knowing that it was an all-you-can-eat buffet, I tried to come to brunch as hungry as possible. I knew I wanted to try so many things so I decided to do small portions during the first pass around the room. I figured this way I would be able to get a taste of everything I wanted to try and then still (hopefully) have room to go back for larger portions of the things I really liked.
The buffet spread was overwhelming, with tables full of food and specially dedicated omelet, pancake, and carving stations.
First, I drew my attention to the fresh seafood table which was filled to the brim with oysters, jumbo shrimp, and mussels. An impressive ice sculpture etched with the Brown Palace insignia and long stem roses frozen inside loomed over the cold seafood bar. So crazy! Do they have one of these puppies carved every week?
My first plate had a mini Rosenberg’s Everything bagel, an oyster, jumbo shrimp, some meat from the charcuterie plate with a cracker, Israeli couscous salad, ceviche shot, and fresh berries. The waiter told us not to miss the special horseradish cocktail sauce for the shrimp, so I made sure to put a little blob on my plate.
Out of everything on my first plate, my absolute favorite was the shrimp cocktail. The shrimps were magically delicious and enormous huge.
My second plate was comprised of warm, savory items from the carving and pasta stations. I picked up some rigatoni with shrimp, a piece of salmon with caper sauce, and some roasted vegetables.
My faves on this plate were the pasta and the veggies.
Next Boulder Foodie and I shared a plate of made-to-order pancakes. One with chocolate chip, the other (my choice) with blueberries, sprinkled with coconut shavings and powdered sugar, and we also picked up a side of the blueberry blintz. My fave on this plate was the blueberry pancake!
We also ordered some mini waffles from the kitchen as there are a number of made-to-order items you can get from your waiter that isn’t part of the buffet. The mini waffles were so cute and the perfect size.
Next, I headed over to the dessert table. There were so many beautiful desserts on the table – including a banana fosters station and a chocolate fondue fountain. Lots of the desserts looked so fancy, with gold flecks and special decorations. I wished that the desserts were labeled because I couldn’t identify everything and I also wished the portions were smaller (!!) because by the time I got to dessert I was already pretty full and it felt wasteful to take a whole slice of pie/cake.
I went with two lemon-flavored desserts – one a sorta lemony custard and a lemon pie slice along with some fresh fruit. My favorite on this plate was definitely the lemon pie. Fresh and yummy!
Despite my better judgment, I went in for one last plate of savory food, going back to the carving/pasta station. This time I got some prime roast (asking for just a TINY slice), and loaded up on the tasty rigatoni and shrimp pasta and the veggies, and went back for one more jumbo shrimp. After eating this I was absolutely 100% stuffed!
I really enjoyed the Brown Palace brunch at Ellyngton’s. It’s great for having a long, leisurely brunch (I’m talking hours long). Since they really only have one seating during the entire brunch time, you never feel rushed (no one is waiting for your table) and can take as long as you want. I felt like a totally fancy person eating there and loved the formality of the room and service.
Yes, it’s a bit expensive, but given that it’s all-you-can-eat and drink, you can get a lot of value out of your brunch if you plan correctly (come hungry/thirsty and schedule it so you don’t have to rush off to something else straight after). It’s probably the fanciest “boozy brunch” I’ve ever been to!
I definitely recommend for celebrating a special occasion, or if you just feel like being a little extra.
Here is the 2020 pricing for the different tiers:
- Just brunch: $53.95
- Domaine Chandon: $63.95
- Moët et Chandon: $73.95
- Children 5 & under: Free
- Children 6 – 12: $20.95
- Dom Perignon by the bottle: $315.00
Ellyngton’s (at the Brown Palace Hotel) – 321 17th St, Denver, CO 80202
- Decor: Traditional, upscale, and old-school elegant
- Crowd: Groups celebrating special occasions, older couples
- Recommended: Carving/pasta station, raw bar, dessert table