The mere mention of Italian cuisine brings to mind the aroma of fresh herbs, savoury soft cheese, homemade pasta and Margherita pizza accompanied with some quality wine.
This was exactly what I expected and "almost" got on my visit to La Brezza -- a fine-dining specialty restaurant at the Jaypee Greens Golf and Spa Resort in Greater Noida.
La Brezza, on the first floor of the hotel, has been built keeping in mind minute details of the Italian style. It is simple and chic, with a decent collection of wine displayed in cellars along the entrance walls to give you a peek at what the restaurant has to offer. And it was bit surprising that a five-star hotel doesn't stock old, classic wines for its customers.
Nonetheless, the music is soothing and doesn't interrupt your conversation in case you are out on a date, for which, by the way, La Brezza is perfect -- looks and feels fancy, with decent enough food to keep one occupied.
Coming to the food, the restaurant has a good variety of cuisine to offer -- some authentic Italian and others a good mix of Italian with an Indian touch. But the best part about La Brezza was their starters or, as they said, "some food just for your entertainment".
The berry guava with chia seed detox, masala potato cornett with mascarpone with an Indian touch, risotto tart, and potato Bravaas with pineapple dip -- these mini starters, each distinct in taste, were lip-smackingly amazing. It took me barely five minutes to finish off all of them.
The berry guava and masala potato cornett deserve special mention for being exceptional in taste -- one a chatpata berry-licious mix, the other a crunchy masala potato filled small cornetts.
Another scrumptious spread were the salads -- especially the prawn mango salad (apple, fennel, avocado, grapes, mangoes and prawn with chilli mango dressing). It makes for a juicy and light start to the main course.
On the other hand, their so-called classic caesar salad was nowhere even close to being a classic. What La Brezza offered me some lettuce with caesar dressing, herb croutons and some pieces of chicken. Google does a better job at giving the recipe of making a "classic" caesar salad and the chefs should pay attention to this.
Compared to the "entertainers", the dishes of the main course were a little low on flavours. Even though all the ingredients used were fresh, mains like lamb rack with ratatouille veg and Parmentier potato was not unique to the restaurant, unlike what the staff claimed.
But the pan-seared sea bass with salad of beans, potato and cherry tomatoes had a juiciness to it. It was light on the stomach, flavourful and tender; it went well with a drink in hand.
At the end of the dinner, one awaited a sweet ending but this only goes for one dessert -- the Italian Bamboloni (fried doughnut with vanilla and lemon curd). Unlike the doughnuts that we get here, the Bamboloni was a perfect balance of sweetness and didn't demand much space in your stomach.
However, the tiramisu, presented in a tiny cup, was just flat in taste due to the absence of quality coffee in it. The chocolate cannoli was also just ordinary.
What disappointed me the most was after all the different cuisines, La Brezza's chefs did not even once offer a pizza or pasta -- the two delicacies Italy is known for. I did have it on my way back home, but the pasta lacked vegetables and was so common in taste that it could be found in any small restaurant in Satya Niketan at an affordable price.
The pizza, or to give it in a more fancy name, al salame piccante, had a nice aroma to it with fresh toppings, the nice flavour of cheese and a thin crust. It tasted good but could have tasted better if served on time.
Where: Jaypee Greens Golf and Spa Resort, Greater Noida