Bland flavours that exhaust taste buds

FOOD REVIEW

For the fine-diners in the City, there is no dearth of options and one more to add to this list is Caffe 9 which is surprisingly abuzz with people at almost all times of the day. In the outer circle of Connaught Place, next to the well known Alka Hotel, this double storeyed restaurant-cum-lounge is a place that confuses Metrolife’s taste buds.

We kickstart our food experience with mocktails AdamsApples, Orange Sunrise and Caffe 9 Punch. The bartender leaves us bewildered for the first drink is unnecessarily overloaded with cinnamon while the second tastes more of guava than orange! The so-called punch still tastes better with the strawberry flavour dominant till the last sip.

The Crispy Chicken Salad saves the taste, for the chef intelligently tosses deep fried shreds of chicken with vegetables in a regular dressing. Munching on the juicy chicken one goes through the entire menu and realises that the place has a lot to offer. From European and Mediterranean to Oriental including Indian, it has all the cuisines.

It is quite a task to sample something from each section. For the appetisers we choose to try out Tex Mex Rolls, Tacos with Mushrooms, a Pizza and Assorted Vegetable Kebab Platter. It is an exercise in futility to keep searching for the chicken chunks in Tex Mex Rolls which taste more like spring rolls stuffed with American corn, capsicum and onion. Yet, they taste much better than Tacos which has a chewy tortilla and fillings that taste stale.

Though largely bland, the delicious Tandoori Pomfret and vegetarian kebabs are the saving grace. Aaloo Nazakat with loads of sesame seeds is disappointing, the Shami Kebab is spicy and tender while the Galouti Kebab is too dry. A lot of effort was visible in preparation of Mirch Malai Seekh but it lacked the right balance of flavours.

Surprisingly, Caffe 9 Mix Grill (from American Continental section) turns out to be a sizzler with a flavourless piece of chicken breast and some lamb served with mysteriously seasoned rice with an unpleasant taste.

Even in the dish Roast Leg of Lamb, the lamb is displeasing in both its appearance and flavour. The chicken, cooked in oriental-style in Lemon Chicken Cantonese Style, too fails to impress.

The Lemon Basil Prawns though are sweet and succulent, making up for the dessert as  the sight of flambé chococolate syrup on the Sizzling Brownie, is enough to put one off desserts for a long time!  

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