The buffet at Hotel Hycinth’s Cafe Jade is a feast for the senses

Cafe Jade. Like the name, the signature restaurant of the two-month-old Hotel Hycinth is very Zen. Namaste to the statue of the Buddha that graces the entrance of the lobby. The restaurant’s expanse, its light and airy decor in soothing whites and beiges offset with shots of hyacinth purple, its wicker furniture and the garden just visible over the patio wall, immediately lulls you into forgetting that this is all in the midst of busy Thampanoor.

We’ve heard that the cafe’s buffet has been setting taste buds watering and it’s what we’ve come to dine on. “It’s a balanced buffet that celebrates South and North Indian traditional flavours and the best of global cuisine,” says executive chef Supratim Das, serving up plates of starters (available for dinner only).

As we tuck into melt-in-the-mouth crispy chilli fish and Chicken tikka char grilled to perfection, he adds: “The menu changes every day. But we usually have two starters, one of which is always vegetarian, three soups (Indian, Continental and Oriental), seven salads – both Western and Indian, four or five vegetarian main dishes and four non-vegetarian dishes, rice and breads and, of course, desserts.

There will be more dishes on the dinner and weekend buffet plus live counters for chaats, appams, dosas and so on. One of our signature dishes is Roast Turkey biriyani – cooked Thalassery dum style. It’s available only on the weekend buffet.” Alright then...

We would have liked to give the Turkey biriyani a go. But since that’s not on the menu today we head straight for the soups. There’s Tom Yum, Cream of Chicken and Rasam. The Tom Yum wins; after all it’s not every day you get authentic Thai food in town. It’s slightly sour, piquant and has oodles of flavour.

The salads are spread out invitingly on a separate counter and soon our plates are piled high with chicken and potato salad, an intriguing idli chaat, fresh lettuce and orange salad and the likes. We could have just had the salads and we would have been happy.

But that’s not going to happen when cloches full of Chicken in Lemon and Chilli sauce, Baked vegetables, Dingri paneer, Alleppey Fish Curry, Nadan mutton curry, triple vegetable noodles, Masala Bhat and so on tempt.

You just won’t have the heart to give them a miss. We eat everything, including second helpings, particularly of the baked vegetables bound together with gooey cheese (baked continental food and desserts, we understand, is one of Chef Supratim’s specialities), the flavourful Masala bhat, a Maharastrian spicy rice dish, and the delectable fish curry with fat pieces of king fish.

And yes, we do have plenty of space left for desserts – or, rather, we make the space! After a short rest we tuck into tasty Queen’s pudding, a take on the classic British dessert that is made of cakes soaked in fruit juices and jam, toffee and banana tart, chocolate mousse and Bengali sandesh. Bliss – inside and outside.

The restaurant also has a fairly extensive multi-cuisine a la carte menu that features, among others, kebabs, soups, starters, pizzas, pastas, Indian, Kerala and oriental cuisine. Pork and beef are not available on the menu. There’s also a special kids’ menu and a breakfast menu.

The breakfast buffet costs Rs. 449, the lunch buffet Rs. 549 and the dinner menu Rs. 699, plus taxes for all.

The buffet is open from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 12 noon to 11 p.m. Contact: 0471-2552999.