A delight for the palate

Italian Spread
Last Updated 14 December 2012, 13:35 IST

Italian master chef Vittorio Greco is a man with a love for fresh ingredients, spaghetti pomodoro and certainly, a glass of red wine.

He brings to the Cubbon Pavilion, ITC Gardenia, a divine spread of Tuscany food, retaining the simplicity and authenticity of the dishes as a part of the ongoing ‘Flavours of Tuscany’ festival.

To start the meal is a colourful assortment of signature antipastis, which are served on toasted ciabatta bread. From the wonderful eggplant caviar to the tomatoes concasse and the innovative spinach and pine-nut crostini, a bite of each is a must.

The meat-eaters can enjoy an Atlantic salmon tartar, drizzled with lemon and extra-virgin olive oil dressing on crispy ciabatta. This is followed by the Mediterranean medley of gorgonzola-stuffed fresh figs with parma ham and balsamic dressing, with
an overpowering taste of the cheese.

One can then proceed to the zuppa (soup) and enjoy the heartening broth of cauliflower and white truffle with whole-meal crouton. “I keep this very thick because that is how it is made in the classical way of Italian cooking. I just try to keep the tradition,” explains the smiling chef Greco, who has served George Clooney on another occasion.

Next up is the chef’s famous lobster ravioli, lavishly adorned with fresh tomato sauce and a subtle hint of basil. For the vegetarians, there is an extremely creamy risotto, juxtaposed with white asparagus mascarpone and a zingy lemon zest. If subtlety is what you enjoy in your food, this one’s going to leave you smiling all day.

“My job is all about the adrenaline — you have to be quick and be focussed and cook for a few hours. If your customer’s happy, you end up feeling good,” says Greco.

By the time the fourth course arrives, you know that you can’t resist it — regardless of how full you already feel. It is time for the seafood and you are greeted with an ocean perch infused with capers, celery and fresh tomatoes.

To keep the vegetarians pleased is an equally interesting eggplant and zucchini roulade, grilled to perfection with a host of herbs and served with a generous amount of parmesan fondue.

Meat lovers experience a delicious array of signature specials. The pan-fried lamb filet dusted with porcini powder and slivers of pork, with caramelised shallots and pan jus is first, followed by the sizzling spatchcock diavola.

There is also the North-Western speciality of steamed potatoes, fontina cheese and herb tart for the vegetarians. Simple and effective, it’s a recipe that one can’t quite go wrong with.

The dessert consists of the traditional tiramisu and the Zuccotto Alla Fiorentina — a layered, frozen dessert of liqueur-soaked sponge and ice cream, finished in the oven with crusty Italian meringue.

The food festival is on till December 16 from 7 pm to 11.45 pm.

(Published 14 December 2012, 13:34 IST)

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