An experience of its kind !
Rating – 4/5
This Hotel is located on the Nagar Road close to the Aga Khan Palace and was formerly called as Ista until it was eventually taken over by the Hyatt Group. As is usual with the five stars there’s an efficient Valet Parking on offer and you have to go through the usual Security checks which I seriously don’t mind at all since it’s for our own safety. A big thumbs down to folks who consider this as a waste of time and pretend as if this is a wastage of even 2 minutes of their precious time. Grow up Guys, seriously !!
So if you ask anyone who has visited Hyatt as what’s the first thing they noticed upon entering and I would seriously doubt if they will forget to mention about the Lobby Area of the Hotel. Trust me it’s a Grand setting with a huge and spacious lobby to greet the visitors with some exquisite interiors, a piano on one side and a decorated wall in the background where water flows from the top creating a nice effect.
All these ingredients put together present an absolutely delightful view of the place and I can easily say that it’s among one of the most beautiful settings for a Hotel that I have witnessed if I compare them to my stints in North America and Hong Kong. A special credit needs to go towards the Interior designer of this place and the same reflects in their banquet halls, hotel rooms and the restaurants.
I know a bit more about this place than I would generally know just by dining somewhere because I was involved in a huge training of sorts for the HSBC Software development folks and during that time I had the chance to make some observations. Though not all was perfect as the food served during that time was sort of average but I had decided at that time to give this place another try by visiting one of their three Restaurants and that’s what I exactly did on the occasion of my wife’s Birthday.
Hyatt Pune (different from Hyatt Regency) boasts of three dining places to be precise namely:
The Fish bowl (a lounge type setting perfect for drinking hobbyists to go with finger food)
Ban Tao (their special take on the Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine)
Eighty Eight (their buffet restaurant with a fair mix of Indian with international cuisine)
We chose to have our Dinner in Eighty Eight as we don’t fall into the category of drinkers and Chinese/Vietnamese cuisine we sort of like but not something that we would go out for every now and then. We zeroed in on Eighty Eight to taste a mix of the huge buffet and though the rating on Zomato was a bit of dampener to start with but we were glad we still went ahead and chose to dine here.
Ambience – I would rate them an outstanding rating of 5/5.
As we entered the Restaurant much like the Hotel’s lobby the area was huge, nicely decorated, well lit and tables were placed at a comfortable distance allowing you to have privacy during those dinner conversations where you discuss on topics ranging from climate change to the fate of big boss contestants so I like my seating area to be well spaced out 😉
There’s also a door towards the much darker shades available in the open air part of the restaurant which is apparently a smoking zone as well for you to take in Nicotine should you wish to. That area is dimly lit and situation among a decent cover of greenery and looked equally charming in the dark. I guess it’s not too difficult to admit that I absolutely loved everything that’s got to do with the ambience of this place 🙂
Food – I would rate them a respectable 3.5/5.
My rating for the food is slightly because of the ordinary set of starters and equally ordinary mocktail (presumably a slice/maaza with a hint of basil flavor) that was served while we were there. A brief on each course of the meal as below:
Starters – what gets served and the Quantity?
Starters comprise of three veg and three non vegetarian items, during our visit we could only find the Fish fingers with Tartar sauce and a mushroom based veg starter worthwhile. The rest of the items in starters were ordinary to say the least and not something that I expected to be served in a Quality place like this.
Main Course – The Main course was relatively good compared to the starters and I enjoyed most of the gravies including the cottage cheesem chicken adraki and the daal makhani with the star of the main course being Urlai roast. It was a dry/minimal gravy preparation of baby potatoes roasted in a fingerlicking masaala and I remember having a butter roti just with this dish as it was so good.
An addition like a Chicken/Mutton biryani would have definitely added a lot of glaze to an already decent main course and something that I thought was missing from the ensemble.
Desserts – Unsurprisingly with quite a large presence in terms of variety this was the best course of our meal and I really ate the sweets like a kid. I loved the Indian sweets more than the western ones 🙂
Service – I would rate them a respectable 3.5/5.
It would be an understatement if I say that the service needs to improve by a notch or two, if it was not for their Captain they would have figured poorly in my books. The Captain was a courteous person who attempted that anything which was not according to our taste atleast an effort be made to replace it with the improved version. Though it’s a different thing that there wasn’t a lot of change in the improved items but they deserve a pat on the back for trying and showing that they care about the customer feedback.
Impressions in brief:
1. Ambience – one of the most beautiful settings and perfect for celebrating special occasions.
2. The buffet spread – it’s a lavish buffet by all means with loads of options in salads and other tid-bits (Thin crust roasted chicken pizza was good) and options to order stuff from the live counter.
3. High quality desserts and a decent main course.
1. Service – wish if they can be a bit more forthcoming to listen to feedback and should strictly ensure that nothing cold gets served as it sets the wrong impression to start with. As mentioned before if not for the captain our outing could have been really bad as some of the servers had little clue on some of the most basic of things, not sure if they were new on the job. This feedback is only to ensure that they undergo proper training and other customers are able to have a better experience than this.
2. The starters – The chicken starter only had cumins overpowering the entire preparation and it felt that all you were eating was cumin and it didn’t matter whether it was chicken, paneer or soyabean, all would have tasted the same due to the magnitude of cumin used in the marinade.
Similar problems surfaced for the mutton starter which was also overpowered with loads of cinnamon.
In a nutshell the starters section of the buffet needs to be improved considerably if they want themselves to be counted among the top buffet serving five stars in the vicinity.
Despite the shortcomings we still enjoyed our visit to Eighty Eight, it’s definitely better than the rating of 3.3 which is how it’s currently rated on Zomato at the moment.