Echo is an Italian restaurant at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel, overlooking the Galle Road. It’s almost always full, with a cross section of customers from power suited professionals to foreign families and groups of friends.
Natural sunlight falling on crisp white tablecloths and glinting off the glassware makes Echo an inviting restaurant, with a relaxing atmosphere. At night, everything takes on a romantic glow. And although the food didn’t live up to expectations, this restaurant is quite full at any given time, meaning they must be doing something right.
Service was good, apart from a dessert mishap. Smiling faces, and fluent staff swoosh about at regular intervals, so you don’t have to waste time waiting to make eye contact just so you get served.
Our meal started with the best part of the entire meal. The free bread. Unlike the usual bread and butter offering, the Italian version comes with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Echo gives you a choice of three breads- bread sticks, wholewheat bread, and the softest hunks of Italian bread with olives. Dipped in the oil and vinegar, it tastes divine. Interestingly, the internet tells me that this is a practice made popular by Italian restaurants in America, and that you would be hard pressed to find a restaurant serving this in Italy itself. Oh well, I for one am glad for this not-so-authentic menu inclusion.
Our antipasto, the bruschetta (Rs. 440), was nice and tasted very fresh, but I wished the bread was a little toastier. My friend who ordered the spinach and ricotta ravioli (Rs. 990) swears by it, and reaching across the table for a bite, I couldn’t help but agree. It was full of flavor and the spinach and cheesiness of it was perfectly balanced. My own dish of farfalle with smoked salmon in a vodka based sauce (Rs. 1320) was disappointing. The flavor was of regular fish, and not the delicate flavor usually associated with smoked salmon, and that too overpowered the entire dish.
The Crème Brulee (Rs. 400) is served with fruits, and the waiter got confused with our indecision between that and another pudding that came with ice cream, which we meant we ended up with the crème brulee served with a scoop of ice cream. We also had the dessert trio (Rs. 400), which includes tiramisu, pana cotta and a red wine pear. The desserts were so-so; the brulee could have been better.
Quantities are large, and there are many exciting sounds dishes on the menu. Our meal for two averaged at Rs.1500 per person, which was a good deal for all that food and the fine dining ambience. If you’re on a budget, do go for the pizzas which are reasonably priced and more than sufficient for two people. The restaurant also hosts a popular antipasti buffet on Wednesday afternoons.
The ambience and experience at not so crazy prices makes this a restaurant worth trying out for yourself. Be wary of the mains you order though.