Who doesn’t love a good buffet? Buffets signify elaborate, generous and decadent food. While I always feel I can never do justice to a buffet because I cant eat that much, I always enjoy observing how they have set the buffet up and how well they have decorated it. My favorite counter, without any doubt, has to be the dessert counter. There are always those few standard cakes that you know there will be. There will be a super indulgent chocolate cake, a fruit based cake, some cookies, ice cream and a few Indian sweets. Its very rare that hotels change the menu of the buffet and sometimes its nice to know exactly what’s there to eat so you can plan beforehand your strategy!
The Westin, Pune is a very interesting building. The hotel seems to scream opulence but the décor inside the hotel is clean and modern. I wish I could say it is as impressive as the Taj or Oberoi in Bombay, but it is bigger and lacks in any real character of itself. It’s a grey building and tends to remind me of a commercial building rather than a luxury hotel. Perhaps it is aimed towards the business clientele and hence it is simple and basic in design. I do love the scultptures that they have in the hotel. My favorite is that of a man who seems to be playing some sport. Westin has 3 restaurants that I know of – Kangan, their Indian restaurant; Prego – their Italian restaurant and their 24 hour restaurant, Seasonal Tastes. Apart from these three restaurants, they also have their coffee shop and two bars.
Seasonal Tastes offers one of the most elaborate buffets in the city. They have an Asian counter where they will prepare stir fried as well as vegetables or meat in sauces for you. An Indian counter, a salad counter, dessert counter, cheese and nuts platter and my favorite, the Sushi bar! I love Sushi! But since I am a vegetarian, I should re-frame it as I love California Rolls. Westin prepares some delicious sushi and has wonderful accompaniments to it. Some beautifully pickled ginger, pungent wasabi, soy sauce and so on. I normally end up filling my tummy on the delicious California Rolls. I swear, my mouth is drooling as I type this out.
I have eaten the Indian food on a few occasions and the last time I had a veg Biryani. It was wonderful. Beautifully cooked with lovely spices and wasn’t dried out as rice sometimes gets in a buffet. The vegetables are always a little less spicy and ‘masaledaar’ than outside, but I am sure that is keeping in mind the tastes of the many foreign guests who stay at the hotel. The only time I actually have eaten the Asian food is when S was with me. S loves Asian food and I am not particularly fond of it. If I remember correctly, it was a little too oily for my liking but they were nice enough to accommodate S’s request for something off their standard menu. The desserts are quite good though I do feel J W Marriott has better desserts. I normally am not jumping towards the dessert counter.
I have had breakfast on one occasion and it was a GREAT spread! Wonderful breads, cereals, pastries. They had an egg station which made pancakes and waffles too! Since this has been quite a while back, I don’t really remember what was on the menu. I remember having a wonderful morning and spending about 3 hours at the restaurant. I was happy with the overall quality of the food and the only complaint I had was that the breads were not very fresh. They seemed a little dried out to me. What I did appreciate was when I mentioned this to the server he promptly called the bakery chef and I could speak to him personally.
Westin has a great ambience, but lunch and dinner are always filled with loud, corporate groups. If you are looking for a relaxed, quiet meal, it’s better to try any one of their other restaurants. Seasonal Tastes is dependable and offers food that soothes the palate. For their variety and number of cuisines, it is definitely the number 1 buffet for me in Pune. I give the buffet at Seasonal Tastes a 3.5 out of 5.