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That Sinking Feeling: Barista's New Menu Flunks The Consistency Test.

NEW BUT NOT SO GOOD: Smoked Salmon Sandwich BARISTA LAVAZZA is reinventing itself, but I am not sure whether it is headed in the right direction.

I love their old menu ( being a regular at the Vasant Vihar outlet -- sometimes embarrassingly so, because of the rude comments my older one passes on the couples who go there to get intimate), and I love their wine prices, but I don't think I'm entirely confident about the ' Coffee Confessions' items that were added to their menu on November 19.

A week ago, when I went for a guided tasting of what were being billed as " 36 new fingerlicking and mouth- watering treats," I was quite impressed by the food quality and the prices of course. I was floored by the Keema in Pita Bread Sandwich served with Hummus Dip, Chicken and Cheese Quiche and Smoked Salmon Sandwich -- all quite filling and priced at ` 189 -- though I must admit the Tiramisu Chill ( ` 129), an iced coffee that came highly recommended to me, didn't leave me breathless with excitement.

But then, I was with the coffee chain's marketing head, and I got the kind of attention a regular Joe wouldn't get. So I went back to the Barista Lavazza CrE me outlet at Khan Market -- my favourite spot for meetings with contacts -- and asked for the Smoked Salmon Sandwich and Keema in Pita Bread Sandwich.

Both left me disappointed.

The dressing of the salmon sandwich kept oozing out and I couldn't taste the fish because it had been smothered by the addons.

I was ready to give the outlet another chance, so I went for the keema sandwich with great expectations. Before I could eat it, it disintegrated in my hand.

The mutton mince filling was so watery that the pita bread had become wobbly. And my lunch partner abandoned the muchhyped Coffee Crumble ( ` 129) after having half of it. Barista is up against the challenge of consistency, despite its good intentions.

The next time I go to Barista, I'll stick to my old favourite -- Smoked Chicken Sandwich on Ciabatta ( ` 169).

Unless of course, a top honcho of the chain is entertaining me.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Nov 26, 2010
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