Colombo wants for good Italian options. While there’s no lack of Italian restaurants none of them quite does justice to the real gusti d’italia
. It’s not that Bayleaf
, Il Ponte, Echo are bad exactly – just that they aren’t quite good enough. On occasion though Colombo’s wannabe trattorias can surprise you with the quality of their cooking. The other day we stepped into Echo and discovered they serve up a very respectable anti pasti buffet for Rs. 1200+.
Anti pasti are basically starters so you get trays of bruschetta, cold meats, cheese, pizza, salads, soups, sauces and light pasta dishes, and you can help yourself to as much as you want. While a starter-buffet might not seem all that promising it’s actually a very good concept. Load your tray with bits of carpaccio, Gorgonzola, bruschettas, olives and artichokes, wolf it all down and you’ll find you’ve still got space for more, much more.
As the individual dishes are light and delicate you can just keep eating. Take too many of the curries or heavy creamy options at the regular Cinnamon Grand buffet
and you’ll soon find yourself unable to continue the important task of gorging yourself beyond all reason. Slivers of ham, morsels of mushroom and strips of sundried tomatoes, however you can pick at for hours. It actually makes for a very convivial lunch - heaped plates of finger food, 50% off glasses of wine, regular trips to the buffet. But of course the concept and sheer plenitude aside is the food actually any good?
Well it’s not bad. Everything on offer, with the exception of the cold meats (poor) was of a reasonable standard. The gorgonzola bruschetta was excellent – creamy and sharp with little bits of walnut added for all-important crunch; we cleared out whole trays of these. The basics like pesto sauce, the sundried tomatoes, the various dressings were done well and, like all buffets, the secret is in the mixing and the combinations. Get a slice of margarita pizza (fine) cover it in olive tapenade, some sundried tomatoes, bacon scratchings and make it great. Drizzle pesto, parmesan and sundried tomatoes on anything and it’ll become instantly delicious. In the true Italian style everything on offer is fresh and light- a minimum of ingredients, a few simple flavors- stacks of mozzarella cut with the sweet sharpness of sun-dried tomatoes and basil’s medicinal herbiness for example.
It’s really a very good buffet and we suggest you stick to it because for Rs. 500 you get the option of ordering one main course and one dessert from their al la carte menu. While this sounds like good value as these dishes would normally cost much more than Rs. 500, it’s honestly not worth it. The mains we had- risotto made with creamy arborio rice but somehow lacking flavor, and beef ravioli, unexciting and a little cloying, were forgettable and the desserts were actually appalling. Three scoops of Elephant House ice cream (not really 5 star) and an insipid hotel buffet tiramisu. Even at Rs. 500 the main and dessert are a waste of money and stomach space – stick to the buffet(about Rs. 1500 net) and use the space you save by not having a main to devour more artichokes, olives and mozzarella.
Stick to the antipasti buffet, the mains arent worth it. Good for vegetarians. The limo soda was exceptional.