Located inside the luxurious Sanctuary Hotel on the exclusive South Carolina island of Kiawah (about an hour’s drive from Charleston), Jasmine Porch is an upscale, relaxed Lowcountry restaurant that offers sweeping vistas of the Atlantic. It also happens to offer an absolutely stellar Sunday brunch buffet, complete with a wide variety of well-made dishes, endless mimosas, and live jazz guitar, and we recently had the opportunity to experience it at the invitation of the resort.
The dining room is about as low-key and relaxed as it gets, with oak plank floors, comfortable rattan chairs, well-spaced tables, tan curtains, and plenty of windows to let in natural light. And its buffet offerings from chef Jeremy Holst include both creative spins of traditional brunch favorites as well as spot-on versions of classic Southern specialties.
The breakfast offerings are certainly smaller than the more lunchy selections (there’s no omelette station), but there’s sausage, hickory smoked bacon, French toast, breakfast pastries, and eggs Benedict to satisfy those looking for their breakfast fix.
But the buffet really comes alive with its post-breakfast selection, spread out across six tables. An appetizer table has housemade pimento cheese, roasted jalapeno hummus, crab and spinach artichoke dip, and a variety of cheeses. Arugula salad, bacon-studded potato salad, and pasta salad are on another. The large central table is overtaken by a wide variety of charcuterie and pickles (some of it housemade) as well as local oysters, shrimp cocktail, and seafood salads. And a carving table is home to prime rib, herb-rubbed and cooked perfectly medium rare. But the real piece de resistance is the “Jasmine Favorites” table: loaded potato soup, shrimp and grits with sweet peppers and onions and rich Tasso ham gravy, quinoa with heirloom carrots, blackened mahi with turnip onion soubise and baby kale, barbecue-glazed meatloaf with mashed potatoes, sorghum-brined pork loin with sweet potato puree and pecan crumble, and buttermilk fried chicken with honey and fresh biscuits. Every item is replenished regularly enough that nothing ever seems warmed-over or stale, and each of the “favorites” are entrees in their own right – especially the fried chicken, which is up there with the best I’ve ever had. Make sure you save room for the dessert table (tantalizingly set up right at the main entrance), which boasts a wide variety of pies, cookies, and other treats, all prepared in-house.
And to wash it all down? All the bubbly you can care to drink, served straight up or mixed with a variety of fresh juices. And plenty of coffee and tea, of course.
There are a lot of mediocre Sunday brunch options out there, and brunch buffets are especially difficult to pull off because of the short shelf life of the food served. But you know a winner when you see it, and the Sunday Brunch served at Jasmine Porch is one of the finest that you’ll ever encounter.