AnnaMaya Food Hall at Andaz – A Review
Hyatt is known, Andaz is not, especially not in India with all set of hotel goers and, team Andaz knows that. It looks like Andaz has bottomless PR budget doing wonders. Its press coverage and media coverage got me committing myself a visit before the end of June. I went there this Wednesday and here is what I came back with – some excitement, some disappointment, a mixed bag.
AnnaMaya is located inside Hotel Andaz by Hyatt in Aerocity, Delhi. It is ideally located for that meal just before the flight or just after the flight or, for that matter between flights. As on date, there are not many reasons for specifically eating here but, if you are shopping at Aerocity Central, you can surely add this to your plan. This is walking distance from Aerocity Airport Metro Station and just off NH8 from Mahipalpur crossing.
They don’t open, they don’t close! It is a 24-hour outlet which doubles up as a coffee-shop for the restaurant too. I went for lunch but you may go for breakfast or dinner or for no reason at all.
Space. Lots of space. Multiple seating options. Casual through and through and by and large comfortable any which way. This place is huge, so be prepared to walk around a bit before you decide on where to sit. The restaurant is almost an extension of the reception lobby of the hotel and you just walk in to be seated. High-tables, couches and conventional covers, decide quickly otherwise differences of opinion on where to sit can itself become a talking point. We just walked in, no reservation and they were not busy.
Here is where this restaurant fails big time. Staff doesn’t get the concept of hep-casual-dining at all. There is no buy-in of the staff or training for the concept rolled out, it is completely alien to them. Pretending to be casual is not what AnnaMaya should be all about, it should be about being casual. I am not sure whether their waitstaff is required to be excessively casual. In my opinion it is about guests feeling comfortable in their casual approach and attire. Lack of training is a glaring flaw, from ordering through checkout, no department is at ease. That hurts.
Price? What price? 10 people can eat here for what you will pay for four at bang opposite JW Marriott. Unexpectedly reasonable but, portions are not too big, so be careful while ordering. Full lunch for two with soft beverages is safely below INR 3,000.00
This is where it gets messy. Menu is grubby further, it is presented in a convoluted manner. If I may say, meticulously impractical approach, so casual that it almost looks like an insult to be eating out here.
A less imaginative menu may have made their offerings stand out rather than, confusion standing out. Waitstaff doesn’t understand the menu and just doesn’t know what to suggest. They have just been told on what to suggest and not what to ask before they go on with their suggestion. Suggestions made after asking have no merit too.
Arugula Salad: Calling it Arugula salad doesn’t take it far and away from being a rocket leaves salad with cheese. Yes, salad was very fresh and a delight but it was very much regular rocket leave salad. Despite that, fresh and flavorful approach is what will take me back to this restaurant.
Plantain Leaf Fish: Hello? Somebody said we are all about being fresh and forgot to defrost their fish properly and crystals almost made a noise which could be heard halfway across the hall. Spices were right but that watery feel was not good. I will remember this dish for the water it had and not the fish it was.
Spicy Mango Curry: It had Mango, it was a curry and it had spices. The best part was that it all was brilliantly curated into one wholesome dish which talked love at first bite. Worked magically.
Penne Burrata: Yes, they got their Penne Burrata wrong. It was not cooked well and had no flavor and cannot be called a dish. They call themselves a European restaurant in parts and the parts came off. All broken and disjointed. Will consider zillion times before eating pasta at this place ever again. One more bad experience and I may stop eating pasta by itself.
Nearby tourist attractions:
Airport and Delhi Central Mall, if you can call them a tourist attraction.
Rating: 2/4 for food and all and 1/1 for not adding service charges. Overall 3/5.