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MouthShut Score

78%
3.78 

Food and Presentation:

Ambience:

Customer Service:

Value for Money:

36, Alkapuri Society, Behind HDFC Bank, Alkapuri, Vadodara 390007, GJ

+91-265-2354937

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For Italian Food Fanatics Only...
Mar 07, 2008 10:49 AM 8586 Views
(Updated Jul 30, 2010 06:02 PM)

Food and Presentation:

Ambience:

Customer Service:

Value for Money:

There used to be a very nice lounge type of restaurant just behind the main HDFC bank in Alkapuri, Vadodara called Mélange. We used to


go there many times and enjoyed the atmosphere, the DJ, the live music, the chefs cooking in the transparent glass kitchen, the wifi network and the crowd of working executives of the nearby area who used to generally hang out there either in groups or with their laptops if alone. It was one of the only restaurants in Baroda that had a DJ playing live music. To add to the atmosphere, there was a Dutch student who had come to Baroda on a student exchange programme and had liked Gujarat so much that he decided to stay back even after his course finished. He used to manage the place as its manager.


So we were bound to be very upset when this place closed down. We will never know what caused it to shut shop, but we did notice in few months that there was some type of renovation going on there. Both my wife and me thus concluded that it must have only downed its shutter for a change in decor and will open soon. And then one day we saw an advertisement of the famous restaurant chain “Little Italy” in the local TOI. When we checked the address of the joint, we realized that it had opened in place of our old favorite Mélange!


However it would be several weeks before we could actually visit this place.


The Approach and Parking


Since we were quite familiar with this place we did not have much difficulty in finding it. Even for the first timers, its located in a prime area and the approach is fairly simple. Parking is across the road and ample for 6-7 cars. Any more than that will have to be managed, but the same is possible as there are only residential complex adjacent with ample parking across from them. Also the security guard at the entrance helps with the parking. Since we are early eaters in any case we didn’t have any problem.


The Atmosphere and Décor


The place is newly opened and has a good décor with dimly lit atmosphere. The old scenario of the glass-paneled kitchen is not there any more, several more tables have been added. Probably the kitchen is removed from its earlier place and shifted to the backside somewhere. In spite of the small size of the restaurant, with two level sitting, they have managed to create a pretty decent ambience. The lighting is adequate, neither too low nor to harsh. Music is low and tasteful and conducive to good table conversation. Overall a very romantic atmosphere, good and nice to enjoy a quite evening with your spouse or family.


The Crowd


With the kind of rates that they have, can the crowd be anything but NRIs! Well I will talk about the rates a little bit more later, but will tell you here that the crowd is mostly Gujratis returned after their sojourns abroad or those visiting their relatives. I could make that out by the acquired accent of their language, their dress styles and also overall attitude, full of beans.


The Food & Service


Now to come to the crux of this review, the food. Ok so as you all know by now, Gujarat is a dry state. So no question of any hard drinks here. I am not sure if Little Italy restaurant’s in the other cities offer any alcoholic drinks or not but this one surely does not. I hope I mentioned earlier that Little Italy is part of a large restaurant chain with outlets in almost all the major cities of India including Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore etc. And to now explode the second bombshell, it’s a pure vegetarian restaurant. I really wondered why a specialty Italian restaurant has to be vegetarian, but was informed that all LIs across the country are vegetarian.


Under such circumstances, we moved straight to the starters. We ordered some clear veg soups and salads to begin with. To their credit the soup was excellent. The salads were in the typical Italian style and flavor, i.e. rather bland. The portion sizes were just enough, not too large not too less.


The main course consists of several varieties of pastas, pizzas, and other such Italian dishes. We ordered one each from the above two dishes. The dish sizes are ample but the taste though ok, leaves a lot to be desired. I am aware that an Italian restaurant is not likely to have the typical Indian flavor of spices and in fact I myself am pretty used to eating bland food, but I still felt that the food could have been better flavored.


The order taking, the service, the timing is all quite perfect though and the waiters are well versed with the atticates of dining and serving.


The soups are costing about Rs 80-100. The salad is approx Rs 200 and most other dishes are in the range of about 250 apiece. Even though these rates may seem reasonable to most Mumbaikars, and Bangloreans, but for Baroda standards are pretty high.


Conclusion


To sum up, I would say that if you are primarily interested in eating a sumptuous meal, go to the nearby five stars coffee shop and enjoy the well laid out buffet for Rs 500 apiece. However if you are looking for a very romantic evening with some specialty Italian food and you know for sure that the Italian kind of flavoring suits your palate, then LI is a good change. However having been there once, I don’t see us going there very often in the near future.


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