Eighty Eight – Gusto D’Italia Food Festival
When it comes to Italian food, most of the restaurants circle around Pizzas, Pastas or Risotto hardly serving anything beyond these run of the mill options. Food Prowl Team was invited for a food tasting of the Gusto D’Italia (Tastes of Italy) Food Festival at Eighty Eighty, Hyatt Pune from 5th May 2017 to 17th May 2017 which lets you explore the otherwise lesser known side of Italian cuisine. They have curated a 6 Course Menu that includes numerous mouthwatering dishes prepared with most exquisite ingredients including best of Cheese varieties. Italian without good cheese isn’t good enough after all! The Italian delicacies can be enjoyed 2 ways – either opting for fixed menu or going for the entire buffet.
The Express Lunch Buffet is priced at Rs. 750/- + Taxes and the Dinner Buffet at Rs. 1300/- + Taxes.
While you decide what all to eat, there are Cheese and Antipasti Platters to nibble on.
The Cheese Platter had a mix of Soft and Hard Cheese. I liked the Brie Triangles and the thinly sliced ones.
Antipasti had Ham, Bacon, Parma cold cuts that I always love to have, and those pure meaty flavors just instigate my taste buds.
Along with these cold platters come a freshly baked Flat Bread with Caramelized Onions and Fig topping. The warmth of freshly baked bread is mesmerizing and the mildly sweet flavors from caramelization and figs puffed magic to the bread.
It was evident that Chef Sarika Kamble – Chef De Cuisine has put in lot of love while making the dishes and didn’t hurry in to serve all the courses. The meal was well paced such that we could enjoy and appreciate all the preparations. We had soup, salads, mains and desserts. Some of the preparations really stood out – Pea Soup with Chicken and Chive Cheese, Honey Rosemary Glazed Lamb Chops, Mushroom and Brie Cheese Risotto and Spaghetti Bolognaise. That’s most of the mains!
All Salads had a fruit component, and the carnivores that we are, fruits don’t fly in our food, yet Baked Fig with Goat Cheese and Nuts was great.
We also tried Parma Ham and Melon and Caprese Salad. If salads and fruits is your thing, you’ll like these combinations for sure.
The Pea Soup was perfectly creamy but not very heavy and the Chive Cheese Quenelle added a very tantalizing depth to its flavor. It was so good that we even ignored the chicken that was added to the soup.
The Lamb Chops were the showstopper of our meal. The chops were cooked to the T, moist and pink inside while it was crisp on the outside.
The texture was the same throughout the chop. They were served with a very earthy jus to be drizzled on the meat and a Zucchini Roulade with Mushroom stuffing.
The Wild Mushroom and Brie Cheese Risotto was another stunner, al Dante rice, soft creamy brie cheese, and mild yet full flavor from the mushrooms.
There was a perfect balance between all the ingredients and both cheese and mushroom complemented each other gorgeously.
Like the Risotto, Spaghetti Bolognaise was also simple yet fabulous preparation.
Hearty pond beef with rich meaty flavor cooked in traditional tomato sauce, generously layered over Spaghetti and topped with sharp Parmesan Cheese. A very homely Italian preparation.
Pan Seared Sea Bass with Tomato Caper Anchovy Sauce and Parmesan Tomatoes was a nice soft fish with sweet and sour flavors from the sauce.
Parsley Buttered Prawns with Crab Cakes and Garlic Sauce, the big prawns tasted good in the buttery dressing, the crab cakes were deep fried and I prefer pan grilled ones as they have more sea like taste, it’s probably on personal preference and other than that it was a good combination of prawns and crab.
Last but not the least was Stuffed Chicken Breast, though good this was the only thing that could be improved by using either thinner chicken breast or hotter oil for frying, to retain the meat moisture on the inside.
For desserts, we had Berry Cheesecake and Pannacotta. Both had sublime textures and flavors served with Ice-cream and Pistachio Biscotti. The Cheese Cake contrasted with the Biscotti and together made an enjoyable dessert.
Overall the festival is highly recommended for Italian food lovers and even those who haven’t explored much of Italian Cuisine and would like to know more. The menu will change daily, but we are sure based on our experience whatever Chef Sarika Kamble has planned for the menu will be impressive and full of flavors and cheese.
Special Thanks to Suraj Singh Jhala and Heena Grover Menon of Karma PR for inviting us. Mr. Kamal Sharma (Director of Sales and Marketing) and Ms. Shruti Sengupta (Assistant Manager Marketing Communication) for hosting us and of course, Chef Sarika Kamble (Chef De Cuisine) who treated us to such an affluent spread of Italian Food.
Gusto D'Italia Food Festival, Eighty Eight, Hyatt Pune, Nagar Road | Food Prowl - The Hunger Stories