Although you'll find this coffee shop most crowded at breakfast, don't let that fool you. Sure their waffles, pancakes, bacon and omlettes are a great way to start the day. But for the man on the road (okay, the rich man on the road), the real treat at Encounters is the Italian food. By which we mean the pastas and pizzas. You can bake your own or leave yourself at the mercy of the chef. Either way, you're in for some happy times.
So let's dispense with the trimmings and get right down to it. The pizzas. There's an oven sitting right there in the coffee shop, so you can pick your own toppings (read - unlimited cheese). Or try the Margharita, which is your classic cheese and tomato with fresh basil and olive oil, or if you're feeling adventurous - get the Tikka Masala Pizza, which packs enough fire in every slice. Provided you like it that way. Even the blander versions of this specialty are very good. And if you have an incurable sweet-tooth, you'll enjoy the Hawaiin, with its generous topping of pineapple.
If you're going for the pasta, the Puttanesca is a yummy deal, with loads of cheese and cooked slowly in tomato sauce tossed with oregano and olives. The 'live pasta' counter is, in fact, one of Taj
's most popular buffet specials. For something more exotic, the Pasta Marinara, with prawns and oregano, is a tried-and-loved bet.
If you're going full-course ahead, then you must try the French Onion Soup for starters. For something more filling, try the Creole Crunches, which are a delightful hodge-podge of onion rings, potato wedges and cheese sticks, served with salsa. Dieters have enough to revel in with the Chicken Island or Slimmer's Salad, which is crisp veggies tossed in a honey-lemon sauce. Almost makes up for forgoing dessert. Almost.
The buffets here are a little bit of everything - Chinese, Indian and Continental. The stars of the (often groaning) buffet table include the Burmese Kauswe Curry With Steamed Noodles, the Dum Biryani and, for lovers of Andhra food, the clear-your-sinuses Kodi Miriyalu, which teams up great with hot rice. And the Sunday Brunch, priced at Rs. 1,375 + taxes (and 12pm-3pm), offers unlimited wine (you heard that right) with the buffet as well - white spirits, sparkling wine and rose wine. Normal breakfast buffets, 7am to 11am, cost Rs. 575 + taxes, and are popular with those who can afford that.
For dessert most people prefer the Bull's Eye - hot chocolate truffle with ice-cream - or Blockbuster, which is nothing but apple studdle with a melting scoop. At Encounters, the closest you'll find to an economy deal is the Midnight Buffet on Saturdays, for the post-party crowd from T2
. At around Rs. 300, you'll find quite a spread, which includes the famed Dum Biryani and hot Tawa Parathas.
The restaurant lacks a view, but live music is usually right at hand, thanks to the band playing at the bar next door. If not for rendezvous of the more intimate kind, Encounters is ideal for power lunches and late dinners.