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Born-again in style

Hyatt Regency Delhi’s rather noisy atrium café has metamorphosed into a sleek space with a buffet. Marryam H Reshii explores the new cafe...

india Updated: Feb 12, 2009 17:01 IST

There was a time when visiting five-star hotels used to be a cause for breathless wonder; stand-alone restaurants, by comparison, were very much the poor country cousins. In the last ten years, stand-alone restaurants overtook hotel restaurants. Now, with the latest wave of renovations in hotels, the tables might just turn all over again.

Hyatt Regency Delhi’s rather noisy atrium café has metamorphosed into a sleek space with a buffet that is, if anything, hugely upgraded from its former avatar. The best part is that it features one element that is a worldwide trend — the water bar. The hotel is the only space in Delhi to serve and display so many different brands of water. They have two brands of sparkling water — French Perrier and Italian Pellegrino, and several brands of still water, the most unusual being Norwegian Voss, but there’s Sole, Evian and Acqua Panna too.

The buffet costs Rs 1,450 plus taxes. To avail of the best value for money, here’s a list of premium ingredients on offer. Do keep in mind that individual elements change from meal to meal and from day to day. There are always at least two kinds of olives that cost a fortune. On the day of my visit, there were Greek kalamata olives and Italian bella di cerignola, both exorbitant.

In the salad bar, there’s a huge bowl of steamed prawns each and every day, which in itself looks like an art form. Sweet and fresh, it’s tempting to make a meal of them alone, with the slightly spicy thousand island dressing served alongside.

There are tiny bowls of prepared

salads featuring smoked salmon as well as a tiny cold meats section. Every meal has around three cheeses, all of which are of surprisingly high quality, not to mention high value. There’s also an extended chaat counter with several accompaniments that I have vowed to try on my next visit.

My favourite counter is the mezze one. It usually has around five mezzes, including a stuffed vegetable: I chose a mild, flavourful tomato stuffed with rice and loved the simplicity of the cauliflower with tahina. The hummus was excellent and the idea of toasted as well as plain pita bread nifty.

To be sure, certain things work better than others. There was a chicken sausage that seemed completely out of place among other brighter stars in the firmament and the seafood salad needed upgradation. The kebabs in the Indian section (you order them at the appropriate counter and wait for them at the table) ought to have been better. What was unmissable was the farm-bred chicken roasted on a spit grill. The birds burst with flavour and have a different marination every day.

The dessert counter has degustation portions of chocolate, cream and fruit based desserts and an ice-cream bar with interesting add-ons.Try on your next visit.