Spaghetti Kitchen calls its buffet, Gusto D’Italia, the biggest Italian affair in Bangalore. And like most buffets it has a p-r-e-t-t-y exhaustive array of dishes, to suit every whim and appetite. A sunny weekday afternoon found us, the Tadka Girls, catching up over a leisurely lunch at the restaurant in upmarket Koramangala. The restaurant seemed to have been decorated in an informal, outdoorsy kind of style..tables with wrought-iron bases, large windows, a splash of turquoise at one end, coloured glass hurricane lights..all of which contributed to the light, airy and pleasant atmosphere.
We started with a pretty but much too sweet mocktail for the designated driver and a hot toddy for the sore throat sufferer*. Some warm bread quickly appeared on the table along with a garlicky bean dip that we quite enjoyed. Soon after, a couple of sips of a very standard chicken consomme had us wandering off to the buffet for more interesting fare.
The buffet tables were loaded with a range of salads, dressings, a live pasta counter, the mains in their chaffing dishes and some artfully arranged pastries. A sculpture made entirely of margarine and a vegetable carving were pointed out as products of the chef’s hobbies and we duly admired these 🙂
After we had taken some pictures of the restaurant we were ushered back to our table with the assurance that the appetizers would be served to us hot and fresh. We started with the Chermoulah chicken thighs. Though crumb-fried chicken is one of our guilty pleasures, this interpretation of the classic dish left us shaking our heads – the chicken had been very thinly sliced and had become a tad leathery during the cooking process.
The prawns that came dressed in lemon butter sauce and for the the spice enthusiasts, in a vibrant harissa, an African chilli-based condiment, were both flavourful. There were also chicken drumsticks in a thick green basil-y marinade that seemed to be a little worse for the wear after a stint in the hot case.
Among the vegetarian appetisers, the Involtini funghi stuffed with spinach were good, the mushrooms perfectly cooked and the filling soft and cheesy. The Parmesan cream cheese potatoes..what can we say..some of the potatoes were not cooked through and the liberal dose of the heavy dressing did not help matters. There was also a paneer dish, yes, paneer, marinated in Moroccan spices and tossed in a light tomato sauce which we quite liked.
At this point we had to call a halt to the steady stream of starters arriving at the table and head onto the pizza, pasta and mains. We were pressed to try the restaurant’s signature penne a la vodka in which the strips of almost-raw onions were quite unappealing. The chef then offered to toss up another pasta dish for us but by that time we were quite content to just watch him at work. Two kinds of thin crust pizza then appeared and we nibbled on these, leaving mains to sample on another day.
There’s nothing that we usually enjoy as much as the sweet course while eating out but the desserts served definitely disappointed that day. The worst offender was the Tiramisu served in a shot glass – a creamy concoction with no espresso, cocoa or mascarpone flavour coming through. The vanilla gelato seemed to be laced with artificial flavouring rather than the real stuff. The cassata too seemed dry and tasteless apart from the thick layer of ganache on the outside. A square of a dry brownie completed the platter and did nothing to satiate our sweet tooth.
Overall there were hits and misses in the food, as there are in most buffets. The service and hospitality on the other hand were splendid and do deserve a special mention.
* Drinks are not included in the cost of the buffet.Spaghetti Kitchen Restaurant & Bar, 1,SJR Primus , 1st Floor, Adjacent to Raheja Arcade , Koramangla, Bangalore. Lunch buffet – Rs. 399 per person Dinner buffet – Rs. 499 per person