THINK of brunch and you're likely to think of a late-morning fry-up accompanied by a plentiful supply of freshly-brewed coffee and a pile of Sunday newspapers.

The relaxed in-between meal, bridging the gap between breakfast and lunch, is a staple of New York's relaxed cafe culture, yet its origins can be traced back to Victorian Britain, when lavish hunt breakfasts spanning several courses were served up by an army of servants for country house parties.

Brunch was glamorised by the Hollywood set in 1930s California and its appeal broadened after the war. Prawn cocktails, hash browns, and eggs Benedict were all part of the Sunday brunch menu of the 1950s.

Now the weekend brunch concept is enjoying a 21st century renaissance, with restaurants, bistros and hotels serving up several courses, from cooked breakfast dishes to mouth-watering desserts.

At Hollins Hall in Baildon, the Champagne Sunday Brunch gives the concept an elegant twist. Taking place on the second Sunday of each month, in Heathcliff’s Bar and Restaurant, it offers an array of classic brunch choices, including a full English breakfast, meat and seafood platters, and a selection of starters, salads and sweets, as well as traditional roast dinner options.

Invited to sample the menu, I felt spoilt for choice at the sight of the buffet. Beautifully presented, it looked almost too good to eat. Alongside various pastries and croissants were cooked breakfast choices, including eggs, bacon, sausages and tomatoes, then platters and bowls filled with salad, pickles, dips and sauces. Soup of the day was carrot and coriander which looked delicious, but faced with several courses, something had to give. We began instead with cold starters, including prawn salad, coleslaw and beetroot, and a crunchy salad with crusty bread.

The buffet is complemented by a variety of main dishes, ranging from roast topside of beef with Yorkshire pudding to fish and vegetarian dishes.

I went for the fish in a delicious creamy sauce and a helping of the tasty tortellini dish, with vegetables. My sister had a hearty serving of roast beef and lamb with a generous Yorkshire Pud.

Served with a glass of Champagne, it was a treat to enjoy a leisurely brunch in an elegant yet relaxed country hotel setting. Sunshine poured through the windows as we looked out to the terrace where a wedding party was gathering. Other diners around us included couples, a mother and her daughters and a family party.

Returning to the buffet table, we filled our next dish with fruit - chunks of fresh melon and grapefruit with berries - and before I knew it I was popping a slice of lemon cheesecake on a plate too. The chocolate tart looked just as tempting, so it was a tough choice.

We ended our indulgent brunch with coffee and a selection of delicious cheeses and crackers.

Catching up with loved ones over a relaxed, beautifully prepared and delicious brunch is a pretty perfect way to spend a Sunday.

* Hollins Hall is at Hollins Hill, Baildon. The Champagne Sunday brunch is £29.95, served from 12noon to 2pm. The next one is on June 12. Call (01274) 530053.