It had been over a year of visiting Howard Johnson. And they were hosting their signature ‘Amare Roma’ Italian food festival. We made it on the last day of the 10 day Italian promotion, a long journey to HoJo – made completely worth it by the great food and good conversations with Chef Dev Bose. We all have our perceptions of Italian cuisine. Over the past years, my trips to Italy, meeting super talented Italian home cooks, and of course the Italian chefs that grace Bangalore – I must admit, learning about this cuisine has been a journey that I thoroughly enjoyed. And this lunch was also an interesting experience on that same journey, Howard Johnson – thanks for facilitating this.
Our meal started with some antipasti – carpaccio of beef, salmon tartare and bocconcini & tomato salad. The mozzarella and tomato with basil and black pepper is a refreshing start to a meal as any. The carpaccio that followed was simple, topped with lemon vinaigrette and parmigiana. The raw beef was flattened and not seared giving it an authentic yet homely touch. The salmon tartare was not as enterprising as it’s fellow appetizers, though the salmon was fresh and suitably seasoned, the onions in the tartare was perhaps a bit too raw. I would have preferred herbs in the mix more.
Minestrone Soup came next – hot, tender vegetables and generous bit of olive oil. We moved onto the mains – or the series of mains. Ravioli Carbonara was perhaps the most delish amidst the various delicacies we had that afternoon. The handmade ravioli with filled with cream cheese, topped generously with bacon and basil in sauce. The rabbit and chicken roulades with country veggies was another notable dish, well made, great taste. Loved how well the rabbit was done.
The desserts were definitely a good attempt at granita and tiramisu, the layering of both could use some more work. The Tiramisu was too creamy and lacked enough of the spongy layers, though the flavor was alright. Our meal was accompanied by Kafer white and red wines. The red wine had soft flavors, dark red color and went great with the food. The service was prompt, and the plating of the dishes were quite nice. While the food festival has concluded, these dishes and more are available at the restaurant of Howard Johnson.