This 50+ year luxury hotel chain has all of 3 hotels in Pune of which two are located pretty close to each other, near Agha Khan Palace, on Nagar Road. The Hyatt Pune (their upscale, five star hotel) has three restaurants, of which Eighty Eight is the only one that serves breakfast.
Now while their lunch and dinner buffets have garnered mixed responses, their breakfast has almost always been reported as satisfactory to great. During my maiden trip to Eighty Eight, Hyatt, I thought that the 41 different types of items on offer made for a pretty big spread; I couldn’t even stick to my ‘I’ll have one of everything’ policy. Not that it was overwhelmingly generous, mind you, but given the price (I used a groupon coupon) it made for a pretty lavish breakfast.
So getting here was pretty straightforward, parking was not an issue and the hotel and the restaurant were all exquisite. The place is pretty big with both indoor seating and an outdoor seating option where one can really enjoy Pune’s delightful winter weather. The decor is very tastefully done, too.
Anywho, so we started with the breads, cereals and the chefin dish breakfast items –
Grilled tomatoes and mushrooms, both of which were a little too soggy for my liking, nice and briny bacon crisps, sweetish-tangy baked beans which went very well with the toasted brown bread, and the star of the show – country style potato. I haven’t had potato wedges this awesomely fresh and crispy in a long, long time.
Moved on to muesli with dry fruits. Yes, they had almonds, cashews, dates, raisins, melon seeds, figs and apricots on offer which made for a pretty kickass, crunchy and rich cereal. Oh, and I had it in soy milk which gave it a nice twist, too. Regular milk was available too, in full fat, low fat and slim options. I skipped the masala chhaas and strawberry shake to avoid overwhelming my intestines early in the morning 😛
Next on my table came the South Indian breakfast which was surprisingly close to authentic IMO (and I’ve stayed in Tamil Nadu for 2 years).
I managed to balance on my plate – super-crisp, fresh Vadas, soft and light Idlis and the Tamil Nadu-variety non-sweet Sambar (not the uber popular Udupi-style sweet Sambar, which was a pleasant surprise). There were several chutneys to choose from including the Mulagapudi/Gunpowder chutney, coconut chutney, tomato chutney, beetroot chutney and also some kind of sweet chutney.
I also ordered a lovely thin, crisp plain dosa from the live counter so I could properly savor the myriad chutneys I had managed to decorate my plate with.
In the same section, there was also Sabudana Khichdi, which was just above average; bread pakoda, which was plain sad, and a live counter serving freshly fried porous and ‘radhaballavis’. I had 2 pooris along with ‘aalu subzee’ both of which were almost-home style. The pooris were deep fried in a large iron kadhai and were served piping hot, just the way mum serves you back at home 🙂 Not to sound biased or anything, but this section was what really won it, for me.
There was also a live station serving omlettes and I don’t know if this is a system but the omlette had little to no salt in it. Not sure if I had to explicitly list out what ingredients I wanted in my omlette, but it had all of eggs, onions, tomatoes and cheese in that order. That’s it. No salt or pepper. Strange.
There was also a small section with Bakarwadis, Kaju Matris, Sev, Farsan, Kachoris and Dhoklas on offer. Everything was nothing out of the ordinary; I must say I’ve had better. Then again, this isn’t exactly their specialty and the South Indian spread had already made my day so I ain’t complaining’.
This was followed by shockingly amazing masala tea served in a cutting-style glass. I mention the shock explicitly because I haven’t had masala tea this awesome, like, ever. Let me remind you that this is Eighty Eight we’re talking about and I’m used to Mumbai and Kolkata’s roadside tea stalls. They’re kickass, mind you.
The cappuccino was hyper-customized right down to the quantity of milk, decoction, sugar, steam, etc. Another winner. Got to hand it to them for the hot beverages, because that’s what really makes or breaks my day.
The Pineapple and Orange juices were absolutely pure, with zero adulteration of any kind. Loved how the orange juice was a tad bitter.
Fruits and Cold Cuts –
The fruit station had fresh watermelon, musk melon, pineapples, papayas, bananas, oranges, apples and grapes on offer, of which I only had (both) the melons.
There were 4 cheese on the cheese counter – Brie, Edam, Cheddar and Cream cheese, all of which had their own distinct tastes ranging from sharp to creamy.
The smoked chicken was another classic – nice and smoky and as soft as butter. Loved it !
Desserts – this was the section that I had saved my appetite for, and rightfully so.
From the live counter, I called for a fresh waffle with cream and blueberry compote An absolute delight, this – warm, crisp and went very well with the super sweet compote.
There were –
bite-sized, delectable muffins that were just the right amount of sweet, crispy and caramel-ey; danish rolls with a sour twist from the kiwi fruit slice that I could help having multiple helpings of; mini-chocolate doughnuts that obviously weren’t as good as your doughnut-parlour doughnuts but pretty awesome nonetheless; and delightfully fruity fruit cakes.
All in all –
Food – 4/5
Service – 4.5/5
Ambience – 4.5/5
Value for money – 4/5 (courtesy of Groupon)
I highly recommend the breakfast buffet to anyone who’s looking for a good quality decent-sized spread that doesn’t cost a bomb, with the hospitality and ambience of a five star restaurant as bonus. Cheers !