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More than just CAPPUCCINO

The new menu at Cappuccino, Park Sheraton, is a gourmet's dream come true


WHAT DID I find in the plate of penne pasta with Pesto di pomodori secchi or sun-dried tomato and garlic pesto? Was it the `sweet life' or the promised dolce vita? No, I found the obvious; the sun-dried tomatoes and promptly fell for them. And that was the beginning of my fixation with tomatoes. The blame falls squarely on the new menu at Cappuccino, Park Sheraton.

Bright red rotund tomatoes framed against the subdued green of the parent plant dance before my eyes even now. The sharper taste of shrivelled sun-dried ones haunts my taste buds. The sun-dried tomato is drop-dead gorgeous when combined with garlic, olive oil, pine nuts and parmesan.

The new menu keeps to the old format, a bit of everything to keep everybody happy, as a coffee shop ought to. I stuck to my corner of Italia and moved on to grilled vegetables and polenta served with tazztaki.

Actually the sauce is Greek, a combo of yoghurt and cucumber with a there-now-but-gone-again garlic trail. The sauce does a fairy godmother act on the otherwise tasty, yet unexceptional vegetables.

Calzone, deep fried pastry stuffed with cheese, bell pepper and onions (non-veg variety is also available) is an all season, all mood, please all. If happy, celebrate with Calzone.

The Rosemary and garlic flavoured grilled fish that followed didn't speak to me much. There was a communication glitch or rather my expectations were too high, perhaps. My quest for a perfectly grilled fish still continues.

What's heartening about Cappuccino are the generous helpings. Any dish, even the Mezze platter among the appetisers, can fill your stomach. Going through a lovely hummus and babaganouj, the Lebanese spreads, and tabouleh, that was a bit too sharp and a pleasant fattoush, Lebanese salads, I was tempted to make a meal of it all.

Is there a rule that coffee shops shouldn't go beyond cheesecakes and mousses? The desserts can do with more imagination. The Indian selection has the oft-repeated ones. Fresh fruit bavrois made with sugar substitute is the only one that stands out.

Cappuccino does not give you cutting edge nouvelle cuisine or formal fine dining. What it does give you is good solid food in proportions that will please a hungry person. It is a comfort zone.

MARIEN MATHEW

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