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Food & Drink

A Brunch to Remember at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott’s Acqua Restaurant

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The Woodlands Waterway Marriott’s signature restaurant, Acqua Restaurant, recently revamped their weekend Brunch menu, so the Hello Woodlands team set out on a flavorful mission to investigate what the buzz was all about.

Seated at a window on a beautiful Saturday morning, we had the opportunity to indulge in a variety of items from the buffet and experience the new and improved Brunch Menu. All while watching residents bask in the sunshine and Swan boats paddle up and down the Waterway. After being warmly greeted by the staff and our fantastic server Annalie, we had the opportunity to meet Chef Shuvankar Mahapatra.

Chef Shuvankar Mahapatra in the Acqua Restaurant kitchen at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott; Photo by Rod Prado / Hello Woodlands

Meet the Chefs

Chef Mahapatra first learned how to cook with his mother and grandmother, then from a desire for independence and a love for cooking he pursued and earned his Diploma in Culinary Management from the Culinary Institute Kolkata Campus in West Bengal, India. His culinary career began in 2004 at The Erstwhile Renaissance Hotel Convention Center (now a Marriott) in Mumbai, India and took him across the globe to Baltimore, Doha, then Canada. After progressing in his career in Canada, he then met and collaborated with Chef Michael Batke (now the Executive Chef at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott) in Westin Calgary.

Born in Canada, Chef Michael Batke also grew up cooking with his grandmothers, sparking the fire to create using food. Chef Batke apprenticed at Chateau Lake Louise in Banff National Park, Canada gaining his Red Seal Chef Certification. His experience includes working at four diamond fine dining restaurants, the 2010 Winter Olympics, and even had the honor of cooking for kings, queens, princesses, and princes, representing Canada in Sweden cooking for the Canadian ambassador and 250 of her delegates representing Canadian food. Chef Batke was also on the opening premiere show of Eat St. and is a co-owner of an Argentinian-inspired restaurant in Calgary, Alberta.

Chef Mahapatra shared that Chef Batke played a pivotal role in mentoring him in Canada. Fast forward to today, they now work side by side together as Executive Chef (Batke) and Sous Chef (Mahapatra) at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott. In September 2023, Mahapatra transferred to The Woodland Waterway Marriott, assuming the roles of Sous Chef and Restaurant Chef at Acqua Restaurant & Lounge. His primary objective is to deliver high-quality, fresh food to diners.

Teaming up with Chef Batke, who boasts over 30 years of culinary experience and corporate knowledge, they curated a menu featuring a selection of dishes for Brunch, Happy Hour, and Breakfast, highlighting local ingredients and herbs, as well as sustainable, locally sourced produce. The Brunch menu offerings include a brisket made from locally raised Texas beef and a bread pudding transformed into French toast using excess bread to reduce waste.


Let’s Do Brunch

The mouth-watering smells of breakfast – fresh biscuits, bacon and sausage, and made-to-order omelets – greet you from the buffet as you walk into the dining area of the Acqua Restaurant. Diners can also enjoy fresh fruit, oatmeal, breads and pastries, pancakes, grilled vegetables, breakfast potatoes and more while sipping on steaming cup a coffee, tea, or juice. And stay tuned – a wide variety of fresh squeeze juices and smoothies are coming soon!

Brunch Buffet at the Acqua Restaurant at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott; Photo by Jennifer Bruse / Hello Woodlands

If a buffet is not your style, you can order off the menu where the descriptions alone will make your mouth water. We had the honor of tasting four of the custom creations, created by our esteemed chefs – Chef Batke and Chef Mahapatra.

Bread Pudding French Toast served with passion fruit mascarpone Chantilly cream and topped with strawberry compote (we may have even taken some cream to go for later!)

Bread Pudding French Toast; Photo by Jennifer Bruse / Hello Woodlands

Butcher Block Skillet – USDA Prime 6oz beef striploin, skillet breakfast potatoes with sautéed onions, sweet bell peppers, fire grilled asparagus, spiced watermelon pickles, and two sunny side free range eggs (Major WOW factor! The most beautifully constructed brunch award – unofficially of course. This completely changed the brunch game for me!)

Butcher Block Skillet; Photo by Jennifer Bruse / Hello Woodlands

Lump Crab Benedict – Lump crab cakes, grilled asparagus, and poached cage free eggs topped with an Amarillo hollandaise (Benedict fans rejoice! As gorgeous as it is delicious.)

Lump Crab Benedict; Photo by Jennifer Bruse / Hello Woodlands

Avocado Bruschetta served with two cage free eggs your way, heirloom tomato, garden radish, and baby arugula (I don’t think I’ve tasted as fresh and flavorful avocado spread as I did in this dish!)

Avocado Bruschetta; Photo by Jennifer Bruse / Hello Woodlands

Plus you can always opt for the Italian Eggs Benedict, Cajun Shrimp & Grits, and other delectable delights on the Brunch menu paired with a Mimosa, Bloody Mary, Morning Margarita, and so many more options.

Plan your visit for brunch on Saturday or Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Acqua Restaurant. In addition to revamping the brunch menu, The Woodlands Waterway Marriott also just launched their new Happy Hour menu – now available Sunday through Thursday from 3 to 6 p.m.

The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel and Acqua Restaurant & Lounge is located at 1601 Lake Robbins Dr, The Woodlands TX 77381. Learn more and plan your dining experience by calling 281-367-9797 or view the menus here.

View more photos from our Brunch experience on the Hello Woodlands Facebook page: