I vividly remember nearly each of my visits to Italia in Delhi, housed in DLF Promenade Mall, Vasant Vihar. The food was consistently excellent, the decor decidedly brilliant and creative, and their understanding of flavours and textures and their manipulation, quite definite. Most of my visits to this restaurant, if not all of them, were therefore a delight in every manner.
Ordering was a delight because the waitstaff were well trained and knowledgeable about their menu; waiting for the food to arrive was never boring because of the lovely, thin crust focaccia that would be plonked on every table along with little white bowls of pesto, good olive oil and grated Parmesan cheese; eating the food was an unparalleled pleasure, especially during their frequently curated regional Italian speciality promotions and finally, interacting with the Chef was something I looked forward to. The decor was eclectic, modern and sophisticated and the restaurant as a whole looked like a million bucks.
Given however the Philistines who make up most of Delhi’s fine dining audience, Italia wasn’t received as well as it should have been. Further, however much fun it is to blame Delhi, the competition that opened up in and around the mall housing Italia also played a role in providing consumers with choice, in addition to high rentals among other factors, and this brilliant restaurant shut its doors to Delhi, which are still shut to this day.
When the opportunity arose to visit Italia in Bangalore, I jumped! A premature reaction.
If there is a team that is superbly equipped to destroy a brand’s perception, it is the one that runs Italia at The Park Hotel, Bangalore.
The decor now consists of four, mostly bare walls enclosing an area of about one and a half regular living rooms, flooring of scuffed planks painted black, shiny in places and dull at others. What should have been a prioritised restaurant is little more than an afterthought in a spare room, and a fading one at that.
The food is far below average at best with amateurish plating, no attention appearing to have been paid to flavours and pairings, and even more neglect accorded to the preparation of the food itself. Think canned artichokes, overcooked salmon, missing seasoning all across, frozen seafood and infantile concepts at best with even those childish menu descriptions being barely adhered to.
It is this sort of apathy and neglect that has brought to its knees, what was hitherto a superbly constructed brand. It is what I perceive to be an utter lack of interest and knowledge that makes Italia in The Park, Bangalore a crying shame and definitely a venue to scrupulously avoid.
RIP Italia, Bangalore.