Il Grande Pranzo at Focaccia, HRC


Here are a few Italian words you need to learn before hitting Focaccia, Hyatt Regency Chennai - antipasti, primi, secondi, dolci and Il Grande Pranzo.

Yes, Pranzo Saturdays are back! Rechristened Il Grande Pranzo, this Saturday brunch buffet at HRC's trattoria style restaurant specialises in the food of Southern Italy. Il Grande Pranzo lives up to its name- there are lots more on the menu this time around, both hot and cold antipasti and a huge display of seafood, prawns, crabs and mussels that are cooked in their shells with dips and sauces to accompany. Also pasta, pizza, soups, grills and breads.  It's going to be a long, leisurely meal. Don't worry that you may eat too much - every time you get up to help yourself at the counters, all that walking will help you lose a few calories and make space in your tummy! That's because the buffet counters are spread around the restaurant and the desserts are arranged in the adjoining room - not kidding! Now got an idea how vast the spread is?

All about the cheese

Start with cheese and wine though on the day that we were invited, the restaurant did not serve alcohol. Not a problem for they made us some refreshing fruit-based mocktails. Of the cheeses, there was Grana Padano and a cheese fondue that was a bit too runny.

Gorgonzola stuffed zucchini; cucumber with mesclun; Parma ham & melon; mushroom tarts

Among the antipasti, I liked the beef carpaccio, parma ham and melon and the mushroom tart. Tiny portions of vegetarian antipasti like the zucchini rolls filled with Gorgonzola and mesclun filled cucumber looked pretty in their equally tiny serving dishes.

At the deli counter

What's a buffet without cold cuts and deli specialties? With slices of smoked salmon, Parma ham, cooked ham and salami, you could even make yourself a sandwich with the interesting breads, dips and salad ingredients.

Pizza

Three kinds of pizza were laid out on paddles - veg Margarita, another with mozzarella, aubergines and peppers and a third with onion and chicken. Freshly baked, they were delicious.

Choice of pasta; penne arrabiata

The live pasta station had a variety of house-made pastas, gnocchi and risotto with a choice of arrabiata, cheese and pesto sauces and sausages, broccoli, prawn and mushroom. My pesto with tomato and basil could have done with a little more olive oil and a more pronounced basil flavour. The gnocchi tossed in arrabiata was also good but the best was the creamy risotto with prawns and mushrooms.


Roast leg of lamb
There was a huge arrangement of seafood - prawns, crabs, mussels and fish. The crustaceans were served in the shell and had sauces to go with them. There was also roast leg of lamb that had the enticing aroma and flavour of rosemary. A smooth jus complemented it. With it, a selection of breads and the focaccia roll was just the thing to mop up the juices.

Warm chicken and olive frittatas

There were trays of chicken chunks, tenderloin, prawn, and sausages. Just tell the chefs what you want and  they grill them and send them on to your table. All the meats were pre-marinated and were beautifully tender.

Marinated and ready for the grill

In case you're a non meat eater, there's eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini and pineapple that are grilled. There were some extremely dishy tagines and in them were secondis like potato stacks and cheesy cannelloni.

After the grilling - pineapple slices, "snail sausages", tenderloin; prawns

After all this, we still managed to save space for dolci -dessert. Everything looked tempting. The smooth, creamy pannacotta called out, as did the tiramisu and the chocolate pot. Most delicious was the zabaglione served over wafer shards and a thyme scented meringue. A fitting end to a wonderful pranzo.

Mix fruit tart; trio of verrine; vanilla pannacotta

Cake pops; truffles and fudges; tiramisu; chocolate pots; dark & white chocolate bark; zabaglione


Il Grande Pranzo is on every Saturday at Focaccia, Hyatt Regency Chennai. Timings are from 12.30 - 3 pm. With alcohol - 1699/++, non alcoholic - 1399/++. A swim in the pool is 500/++.

Do call +91 446100 1234 for table reservations.



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