Italian cuisine is in the process of sweeping Mumbai off its feet after the tsunami of South East Asian fare that hit us not so long ago. We have been quite fortunate to try the best there is in the city to be able to understand the nuances of the cuisine and the essence of what each chef has to offer with regards to showcasing Italy on a plate. Sure, there have been expat chefs flown down to give Mumbai an experience as authentic as eating out of an Italian kitchen, but seldom have we had Indian chefs dish out stuff that’s ‘numero uno’. And we are proud to say that we came across one who not only thouroughly impressed with his food, but won our hearts through his simplicity and passion.
Stax, the contemporary Italian restaurant at Hyatt Regency, and their Chef Rajiv Das have now started a Sunday Italian Brunch. We were invited to have a relaxing time. It was a fun Sunday afternoon indeed, and this is how we spent it.
The Sunday Italian Brunch is priced at Rs 1600 all inclusive with refreshing mocktails and juices and Rs 2500 all inclusive with premium drinks! The Sunday Italian Brunch is designed in a brilliant way where the antipasti and desserts are displayed at the counter and the mains are served at your table. The elaborate antipasti buffet includes soups, scrumptious salads, in house flavoured butter, charcuterie with classic Italian cheese like bel paese, parmesan, bocconcini, fontina, pecorino, reblochon along with a wide selection of homemade pasta, pizzas, grills, and roasts. They even have lovely artisan bread, a wide range of Italian desserts and gelato.
We were served a citrusy welcome drink as the theme was ‘Citrus’ for that week. It was really refreshing. We fell in love with the decor the moment we stepped in, they had the one thing that we’ve always wanted in our dream house – glowing rocks! 🙂 That got us grinning; but seriously the wine glasses with the variety of Italian wines and the spread looked absolutely stunning. The theme of the hotel is glass. Huge windows meant that the whole restaurant was gleaming with natural light. The swimming pool is open to guests who come for the buffet, so after a relaxing brunch, you can enjoy a refreshing swim or you could even jump in the pool to work up an appetite before enjoying the lovely spread. Unfortunately we were not prepared to go swimming, and that also gives us another reason to go back for another Sunday brunch.
We instantly fell for the artisan bread and the yummy flavoured butters that are made in-house. They had four kinds of flavours – Lemon & Paprika, Mixed Herb, Walnut, and Saffron. We both loved the Walnut and Saffron butter, they went so well with the freshly baked bread. We’re huge fans of artisan bread, charcuterie, cheese and butter. The assorted cheese were displayed with crackers, prunes and apricot. There was a aged Grana Padano wheel which added to the decor, you could just pick up chunks of it to have with the cold cuts. It was amazing.
I went for the salads, they looked really beautiful. It was really nice to see so many options! They were dressed well and each salad was unique. I personally enjoyed the Poached Chicken and Wild Arugula salad, the Glazed Ham and Plum salad with grained mustard and Shredded Braised Lamb with Pomegranate and Mint salad. They also had the Char Grilled Calamari salad with Cucumber and Dill Vinaigrette, it looked stunning. The DIY Salad Bar looked fun with tall bottles of different dressings with fresh vegetables and lettuce ready to be tossed and the pickled olives sort of screaming out to be picked up! The Rocket Pesto, the Parmesan Sour Cream and the Gorgonzola and Spinach Dip would go so well with the crudités. The aroma of the insalata station was incredible.
There were two soups as well which looked delicious but we skipped it and decided to go ahead with the main course.
For mains, we started off with Pan seared Red Snapper with a Cauliflower Mash and Olive Caper Sauce. The freshness of the fish with how delicately it was cooked, made it a really delicious dish. We loved the creamy cauliflower mash and the olive caper sauce too. It was light and sort of put the spotlight on the fish without being over powering and it was healthy too. Italian cuisine is all about using few ingredients and making the most of the true flavours and Chef Das and his team did a great job.
The next dish we had was the Oven Roasted Chicken with Mashed Potato and Red Wine Jus. It simply looked like art on a plate. It was plated so beautifully with grilled veggies and asparagus adorning the plate and the beautifully roasted chicken smothered in red wine just made us salivate. I couldn’t resist and picked up a drumstick with my fingers and enjoyed every bit of it. I strongly feel that cutlery shouldn’t stop you from enjoying your meal and the chicken was finger licking good.
We loved how every dish was different, very simple ingredients, but put together and made really well. The idea of serving the mains at the table ensures that guests experience Italian food the way it should be had, i.e piping hot. We were so glad to taste the next dish that we still can’t stop talking about it. Duck Rigatoni with Parmesan. We’ve had a lot of pastas and we won’t say that Rigatoni is one of our favourite but the way this dish was made, changed everything for us. The sauce was so flavourful and the duck meat was cooked to perfection. The pasta was evenly coated and was served with a generous shaving of Parmesan. It’s an absolute must have, and is now one of our favourite dishes there.
Next we had the creamy Salmon and Arugula Risotto. Being risotto buffs, we can get really fussy about this Italian favourite. But we were all smiles as the risotto was cooked perfectly. Each grain had a bite to it and the arugula flavour with the beautiful pink salmon just warmed our hearts. The basil oil added a lovely flavour to the dish.
We then had the Herb marinated Lamb Steak with Garlic Mashed Potato and Pepper Jus. It was OK as a dish, would’ve loved it if it was done medium or medium rare. It was too tough for our liking. The marinade was flavourful and the pepper jus had a lovely kick to it though. We were also served the Grilled Bratwurst with Caramelised Onion and Rosemary Jus. There is something special about Italian sausages that make us weak in the knees. Being big fans of bangers and mash, this Italian version swept us off our feet. The sausage was bursting with flavours and it had bits of rosemary and other herbs in it. Truly sensational.
What we loved about this brunch is how everything was done so beautifully. It’s a good experience for guests to learn about the finer nuances of Italian cuisine. Be it pairing Italian wines with the courses or the way things are served, Stax is truly going that extra mile to give everyone an extravagant Italian experience. We saw that with how the lasagne was served. Lasagne as a dish is very rustic, and at Italian homes it’s baked in a big tray and shared with the whole family. Keeping with traditional, Stax serves lasagne is the same fashion. It was really sweet to see a server go around the tables with a big tray of lasagne and serve guests, the way it would’ve been served at a get together in Italy. For us it completes the whole experience. We too were served a portion of the creamy Ricotta and Spinach Lasagna. It was lovely golden brown on top and smooth n creamy to eat. It was the best we’ve had in a long long time. Not to forget they have some really good pizzas, vegetarian pastas and mains that change every week.
We were so stuffed with the meal that we didn’t really feel like having dessert. But when you see verrines of Pannacotta, Tiramisu and baked Yoghurt, you can hardly say no. I picked up a platter with our favourites to just have a teaspoon of each. We loved the wine poached pear, and the sinful Tiramisu which was garnished with a lady finger. OK to be honest I had two of these. We loved that they had the sweet semolina cake with pistachio and a big dish filled with delightful Panforte. We also enjoyed the Jamun Gelato too and the Cannoli was just a perfect way to end our Italian brunch. It was truly a treat!
We had the pleasure of chatting with Chef Rajiv Das,
It was interesting to know that an Indian Chef had put together this brunch that was nothing short of an Italian extravaganza. His passion and love for food reflected in everything we had today. We enjoyed it a lot and wouldn’t hesistate to call this Sunday Italian Brunch, one of the best brunches in the city.
If you have truly enjoyed reading about our experience at Stax, and would like to sample some of this remarkable Italian fare… Use voucher code STCPL15 to avail a 15% discount on (food and soft beverages) for the Sunday Italian Brunch at STAX.