A VEGGIE's OUTLOOK on an ITALIAN RESTAURANT!!!
I've already written overall about ITC Grand Chola and recently I was again there for a dinner and how was it... Well, ITC Grand Chola has quite a lot of restaurants inside it like Madras Pavilion, Peshawari, Nutmeg, Cafe Mercara Express, Ottimo Cucina Italiana etc, and I opted to dine at the brand new Ottimo Cucina Italina!
Ottimo Cucina Italiana is one of the very newly opened restaurants withing ITC Grand Chola! As the name says it all its an Italian restaurant. Its located in the first floor from the Sangam Lobby (Remember the huge staircase in the last pic of the earlier post). As soon as I entered ofcourse the aroma of the wines and nutmegs! It was soothing and makes your relaxed the moment you're in.
The layout of the restaurant is interesting. The kitchen is located at the centre, open to all visitors!!!! The central part of the kitchen has the Molteni unit from Europe, which the sous chef calls the 'Rolls Royce of Kitchen'. Its a single cabinet that comprises of a few induction hubs, few burners, a wide chimney, oven, grill, deep fry sections, chopping areas, a couple of storing vessels, practically almost all that the chef needs!!!!
On the side were the 2 major sections, so important for the Italian food, a huge firewood Pizza oven and just beside it was the Grilling section!!!
As I went around the kitchen I was pretty impressed. There was a section that displayed a few varieties of cheeses (come on, what's Italian without Cheese!!!); multi level bowls containing things required for antipasti (honestly, I didn't know about antipasti, till it was cooked by Chef Jamie Oliver in Master Chef Australia!); a waterfalls of hand made pasta; bowls of finely chopped veggies and cheese ready to be used in any pasta or pizza!!! Yummmm....
Over to the seating arrangement, I wouldn't say its awesome, I wouldn't say its bad. Its ok!!! I'd say its a wee bit cramped for the quality of the hotel!!! A smaller section on one side called Chef's corner has a round table capable of seating 8-10 people, which is pre-paid. Its perfect if you're owning a business and would like to treat or talk business over a dinner and don't want the bill to come at the end of the dinner and spoil any mood!!!!!
Now comes the main part - the food & service!!! As soon as I sat down, I was served with few varieties of breads and tomato & mint sauces. Breads included soup sticks, hard bun and my favourite soft cheese bread topped with mushrooms, onions, rosemary etc. Varieties of wine are yet to come from Italy!
Then I looked into the menu. Sad part is that the veggie section in the menu is pretty less. The options in veg starters were just 3 and I ordered Veg Caeser and Veg AntiPasti. I loved both.... Some eggplants rolled with cheese; some grilled bell peppers, eggplants, broccoli, cherry tomatoes; lettuce leaves and mint leaves perfectly seasoned with sauces; fried bread; few more varieties of cube sliced cheese - loved it totally!!!
Then came the main course, sadder! There were only 2 veg pizzas of which one was margherita pizza and I was not interested in that. I badly wanted to try out some authentic pizza with lots of veggies on it (I've tried in Tuscana restaurant in Chennai and I loved it!) from here as well but I couldn't.
Of pasta, veg options were 4, not bad. I tried the Rigottoni 'alla Norma' and it was good. Rigottoni is a ribbed tubular pasta. Here is is cooked al dente, with tomato sauce, fresh basil, topped with fried eggplant and pecorino cheese!!!
Of the other main courses, veg options were just 3! I opted for Veg Lasagna and Zucchini Parmigiana! The Lasagna............ was so so so so so so awesome! I could eat it everyday. It was so yummmm.....!!!!!! It was a typical, traditional, homemade lasagna, layered with grilled seasonal veggies and tomato sauce. The moment it was put in mouth, it literally melted and glided into the throat! I mean, I can't describe how good it was.....
The Zucchini Parmigiana was yummmmmm as well! I loved it too!!!! It was grilled Zucchini slices layered with Parmesan, fresh basil and tomato sauce. It was really really yum as well!!!
After the main course, it was time for dessert. The veg, eggless options were just 2 - Espresso with icecream and Mousse with finely chopped strawberries. Espresso with icecream turned out like cold coffee as I was eating it and the Mousse, I didn't like much, though I loved the strawberries. I really really wish more options on eggless cakes were introduced here...
I couldn't meet the Master Chef Massimo Gullotta. So, I told the Sous Chef about this and he had recently realized the shortage of eggless desserts in his menu!!! Well, that calls to an intro about him - he is Zubin Writer! He is the Sous Chef of The Ottimo in ITC Grand Chola and he's just 27 - I was like, what???!!!!! And all the more, this guy trekked at Munnar, Thenmala, etc!!! And under these 2 guys, few days back, the restaurant won the Times Award for the 'Best Italian Restaurant'!!! I'm impressed!!!
Anyways, looking forward for some more delicacies in the Italiano Veggie Way!!!! Make sure you make your reservation before you venture here coz its open only for dinner and only 40 guests are entertained per day.
Service - Awesome (a big thanks to Paul and Joseph)
Food - For a veggie, not awesome, but definitely good (a big thanks to Zubin)!
TO GET THERE: http://www.itchotels.in/hotels/itcgrandchola.aspx
For Table Reservations: +91 44 4906 5000
P.S: A voucher was gifted by the hotel for review purpose, as a part of the Indiblogger bloggers meet, however the opinions are my own and this post does not to advertise the product/service.