Restaurant Review: Giardino

We were brunching in the lap of luxury a couple of Fridays ago at Giardino in the Palazzo Versace. Utterly evocative of a sprawling Italian palace, the gorgeous hotel is filled with beautiful designs and pieces from the House of Versace and needless to say, Versace’s Medusa Head logo is prevalent. The restaurant is a vibrant space filled with natural light and adorned in eye-catching patterns and embellished pillars with an international brunch that leaves you spoilt for choice! Honestly, with the amount of food on offer, it’s no wonder they give you complimentary pool access! Upon walking into Giardino, you genuinely wonder why a human stomach was not the size of a bathroom tub.

First impressions - wow. The lively colors of the restaurant, the music filling up the room from the live DJ (nice touch), and the vast spread of food and dessert will have you question your reasoning for eating anything over the last day. This is a place you come to with an appetite for 2. Maybe even 3, if you dare. Of course, forget about dinner that evening. You will be taking the name 'Giardino' for days to come. The presentation and variety of edible items, and that little ice cream trolley being wheeled around the restaurant, will have you plotting to find a corner of the restaurant to live out of, and hide without any of the staff noticing your very presence so you can make your way through every available item over the next 4 days. This however was a diabolic plan that wouldn’t make the light of day due to the ever alert, and attentive staff who would leap in your direction even if you started to turn your head to look at any one of them for a request. 

Let me begin with what we couldn’t get enough of; the Sushi. When it comes to Sushi, we’ve become pretty critical of it as we’ve eaten really authentic fare in some great restaurants in Tokyo and we have to say, the maki and nigiri at Giardino do not disappoint. Deliciously fresh, taking a bite puts you through a teleportation tube straight to Tokyo. Trade our fingers for chopsticks, we ain't going home! Arigatou Gozaimasu!

Next up is the selection of cheeses and cold cuts. I (Tanisha) am one to always ask for more cheese on the cheesiest food so obviously I couldn’t stay away from this section. The Burrata is a must have as is the Buffalo Mozarella while the salmon and tuna were my picks from the cold cuts. Speaking of cheese, don’t forget to try the warm and melty potato gratin; it is worth EVERY LAST CALORIE.

The seafood station had a plethora of delicacies on display ranging from large lobsters and oysters to scallops and prawns to name a few. The oysters were great but our absolute favorite from this section was the lobster that they grilled to perfection then and there. As large as they were, “no one can eat just one” was the motto we followed when it came to the lobster.

With regard to the mains, we stuck to the Italian fare which was attended and cooked for by what we presume to be were true blooded Italians, who took their cuisine, as they should, very seriously. Try the rich and creamy Gnocchi. You’ll wonder whether you’ve actually had real Gnocchi before. The freshly baked pizza was scrumptious too and to our absolute delight, the chefs brought along the pasta trolley and treated our table to some freshly prepared tortellini and spaghetti; the former was wonderful while the latter was just alright.  Another live station that made it to our table was the one with cocktails on it; we loved the Disaronno Sour Jar that is 3 parts Disaronno, 2 parts lemon juice and some simple syrup. Boy, was it refreshing! The other striking cocktail, a Prosecco based drink was great to look at but too strong an afternoon drink, at least according to us.

The Indian station could use a little more flavor. Right from the sabzis and Biryani to the chaat, and even the Gulab Jamun, all needed work and lacked authentic flavor.

It’s finally time to move from the savory to our favorite, the sweets! Upon entering Giardino the one thing that distracts you from the décor and pulsating ambiance is the extensive dessert tables! Sans any exaggeration, our first instinct was to begin our meal with the desserts! However, when the time came to gorge on these delights, we admit that we were fairly disappointed that not all the items were as appetizing as they were alluring. Nevertheless, some of the ones we loved were the Chocolate brownie with milk chocolate whipped cream, the milk chocolate fudge squares and the Indian Barfis (A type of Indian sweet). The highlight of the desserts though had to be Ice Cream trolley that turned us all into kids as we crowded around the server and got our favorite flavors (My triple decker cone comprised of cheesecake, chocolate and mango sorbet flavors garnished with chocolate beads).

To sum up, it was a Friday afternoon well spent in the company of like-minded individuals, great food (there is room for improvement in some sections) and an exquisite setting. Giardino is the quintessence of the idyllic brunch and one that we have and will continue to recommend to one and all!

Great meet up, Zomato!