Thursday, March 17, 2011

Not quite a bargain anymore - Salad Buffet@Barolo

>First I have to thank school for giving me one extra day-off, something which is much-needed in this hectic life of mine. Having no lessons at all (HURRAY!) I could enjoy great flexibility on my lunch-whereabouts. Having heard and read about the antipasti/salad bar lunch buffet, I could at last squeeze sometime to actually give it a try.

Apparently Barolo had raised the price of the lunch sets by an average of +$20 as the waitress politely explained to me that the Salad Bar lunch set now costs $128 instead of $108, or $98 stated on its (apparently)outdated website. You get a salad bar buffet, pasta, dessert and tea/coffee by paying $138. This narrow difference of $10 is tempting but since we went only for the salad, we decided to give it a no-no and head for the salad bar instead.

This place is actually more of a bar than a restaurant - we were allocated a bar table which was rather comfortable to sit and eat. The place was crowded with Central lunch-breakers who are mostly foreigners. They looked kinda in a rush - hurrying to return to their workplaces before the stock market opens again at 1:30? :D As they buzz around like bees we just looked around lazily, and I felt quite funny being surrounded by people constantly moving swiftly while I was completely in the holiday mood, wanting just to sit back and relax a bit. :) After a few minutes of relaxation we could at last move our asses off the comforty bar chairs and moved to inspect the salad bar spread.

What we saw was indeed impressive: plates after plates of fresh salads and antipasti were laid on the long bar table.What a scene. You actually start from the right of the bar to the left were the espresso machine is: first were the soup, bread and plain salad veggies, then the cheese and the cold cuts and the grills, and last were the fruits. There were approximately 15~20 kinds of food available.

Conventionally I started with the plain salads and bread: the bread basket offered at least 3 kinds of bread including french baguettes, flaxseed wholewheat buns and a sour dough. Pity that they had been dehydrated under the strong ventilation, but they actually tasted okay with the crunchy crust and soft(if you tear away the tough parts which has exposed in air for too long), and i guess they should go well with the cream of mushroom soup, which i did not bother to try. Nice salad veggies tho and there were four dressings which you could choose from, plus some really nice and crunchy croutons, cheese(is it cheddar or edam?cant tell) wedges and thin crisps which you could top your salad with, not to mention the really juicy [b]cherry tomato[/b] which went well with the thousand island dressing.

The [b]Tomato with Mozzarella[/b] looked better than it tasted as the cheese was a bit rubbery in texture but literally tasteless. The comment applies for the [b]goat cheese [/b] which, sadly, did not even tasted like cheese at all but resembled crumbled soap. :mad: This was really disappointing as i was expecting quite a lot from its cheese collection...anyway, theres still other antipasti which i could give my heart to. :(
[b] Smoked salmon [/b] was okay but tasted a little too salty, but that could be moderated by a good squeeze of lemon juice.
Next I basically sampled with EVERYTHING ON ONE SINGLE PLATE!!WOHOO! luckily most were vegetables or else i would have killed myself for gorging in so much meat and fat in one single meal.
Anyway, the [b] parma ham [/b] was truly delicious - they were of the correct thickness and were not too fat nor salty; the cantaloupe was sweet and went well with the ham. :) Matter of fact I thought the parma ham here tasted better than what's served at Tiffin's or The Lounge@J.W. Marriott! :)

There was the big wedges of [b] grilled pumpkin [/b] which i treated myself generous shares as they were truly delicious. You have to pick the softer ones as they were better seasoned. They were quite buttery in texture and I just used them to 'butter' the dry bread! There were two drier mixes of [b]chicken peas [/b] and some suspicious seed-like stuff, which i did not quite like. The [b] Grilled mushrooms and zucchini and eggplants [/b] were nicely grilled and juicy, however; the [b] clam salad[/b] and [b]grilled broccoli and cauliflower[/b] was disappointing however as they were not too fresh nor tasty.

Last were the fruits - the [b]pineapple, cantaloupe and watermelon were all fresh, juicy and sweet.
We ordered two English breakfast teas which came with a lovely piece of almond biscotti , which served as the most appropriate 'petite sweetness' to the salad buffet lunch.

Now perhaps you will ask: wheres the oyster? I was thinking of the same question and apparently Barolo had taken away quite a lot of food from the lunch menu. Stuff like the cheese variety and some seafood items were missing. That was indeed a huge disappointment, given that they had raised the charge per head from $108 to $128. :mad: Had i been aware of the changing menu, I would not have been here for lunch - it is not very economical of me to have a salad lunch at $128+s.c.

To conclude - great place and great service, the food was okay, but the choice was a bit too narrow given that the restaurant is charging people around $135 per head. Perhaps i should have tried Bistecca Italian Steak House or Bourbon instead. :mad:

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