Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Ottimo @ ITC Royal Gardenia, Bangalore

'Ottimo' ('Excellent' in english) is the most recent restaurant offering from ITC Hotels in Bangalore. This Quintessential Italian restaurant replaces West View Grill and resides in ITC Royal Gardenia which also houses 'EDO' - one of the finest Japanese restaurants in Bangalore.

Resident Chef Vittorio Greco of Italy, takes centre stage in the kitchen of Ottimo. Inclined towards traditional Italian cuisine, Chef Greco at Ottimo offers a rare fusion of traditional Italian with emphasis on both nutrition and fresh ingredients which are sourced both locally and internationally. While maintaining simplicity and keeping food at its authentic best, plating of food at Ottimo is exquisite and in true sense signifies 'food porn'.

The menu showcases specialities of Rome, Florence, Parma, Milan and Livorno in the form of appetisers, soups, pastas, pizzas, other main course dishes and desserts. The menu offers both vegetarians and non-vegetarians with plenty of options to choose from. On our table was a pre-fixe 4 course meal which included both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options.

What We Ate:
I was late for dinner and when I arrived, what I first saw on the table was these really pretty looking  Aperitivo. There were 3 of them -

'Paramigiana de Melanzane' is the chef's deconstructed version of the classic Paramigiana. Served cold and presented with a twist to the classic, this was a ball of deliciousness. The best way to enjoy this creation is to take the whole ball into your mouth in one go and let the magic happen in your mouth.
Paramigiana de Melanzane

'Rocher Al Fegato Grasso' is another aperitif of Foie Gras stuffed in a Ferrero Rocher. Foie Gras was my first time and was not something that appealed much to my palate. I enjoyed the rocher though. On a more serious note, a Foie Gras enthusiast was really happy with the preparation and gave it full marks. So I'd say, this didn't appeal much to my palate but for you it may not be the same.
Rocher Al Fegato Grasso

A lamb aperitivo which is a preparation inspired from Chef Greco's mother but comes with a twist from the kitchen. This dish is still being experimented with and will hopefully make it to the regular menu soon.

Moving on, we headed for the next course - 'Antipasto' which is an appetizer and signifies a start of a traditional Italian meal. On the vegetarian side it was Potato dumplings with gorgonzola in bell pepper and tomato coulis. Chef Greco loves to experiment not only with the food preparation but also with plating the food and this is what he did with this dish. We had this antipasto presented to us in the form of an abstract art. If the looks aren't sufficient; I will add that, "this dish was a fantastic preparation and set the state for a lot more to come."
Morbidoni di patate e gorgonzola con pepperoni dolci e pomodori

On the non-vegetarian front was another fabulous dish of gratinated scallops ad shredded cuttlefish with leek coulis and pumpkin. I absolutely loved this dish and imagined this would be the only highlight of the entire meal. The scallops were simply brilliant and looked like they had been treated with a lot of love. All ingredients complimented each other really well and made for a lovely treat.
Capesante gratinate e sfilacci di seppie con crema di porri e zucca

We had just begun... Soon followed the next course - 'Primopiatto' which translates to first course. I was blown away by 'Risotto con funghi selvaggi, scampi e cipollina croccante'. A simple and exquisite dish of wild mushrooms and shrimp risotto with crispy shallots. Yes, you know I don't like mushrooms, but this preparation had me stumped. Easily the best risotto I have ever eaten. Another highlight of the evening.
Risotto con funghi selvaggi, scampi e cipollina

The vegetarian option for the first course was yet another delicious preparation - Tortelloni di melanzane con salsa al pomodoro fresco e ricotta salata. A preparation of roasted aubergines in homemade tortelloni dusted with smoked ricotta and tossed in fresh tomatoes.
Tortelloni di melanzane con salsa al pomodoro fresco e ricotta salata

'Secondo piatto' the next course also considered the main course comprised of 'Sea bass crusted with pistacchio and served with a sicilian styled fresh vegetable caponata. Expectations were at its peak and for me this dish did not do the trick. I wished the fish was more moist and flaky while the pistacchio crumble could have been finer.
Filetto di branzino in crosta al pistacchio con caponatina di verdure

On the vegetarian plate was a bed of delicious tomato tomato and basil sauce on which came a  buffalo mozzarella sphere stuffed  parmesan spaghetti. The presentation was really fine and the Parmesan spaghetti along with mozzarella cheese made for a fine combo with the sauce.
Sfera di mozzarella di bufala e spaghetti in salsa la pomodoro

'Dolce' - What arrived was a show stopper - A chocolate based desert called 'Torta Caprese con sorpresa akka caniglia'. A ball shaped casing of hard chocolate with a gooey center of white chocolate, dark chocolate cake with a burst of tantalizing vanilla. The only perfect end to a lovely meal is this very chocolate dessert. I was suddenly hungry and polished off the plate clean. Felt like I'm in Heaven...
Stage 1 - Chocolate Dessert
Stage 2 - Steaming hot chocolate being poured over
Stage 3 - Chocolate crust melts to give way to the decadent chocolate cake and white chocolate

What's an Italian meal without an accompanying wine!!! As we cruised through our meal, we enjoyed sipping a few glasses of the Fratelli white wine.

It was a long eating session and the food was fabulous. Normally, for an invited event I do not include comments on service for it is expected to be top notch. However, I must mention that i was delighted to see the staff paying attention to the other guests dining at the restaurant, guiding and suggesting to them various options and ensuring they had a fabulous experience. 

The interiors of the restaurant are really classy and rich. The coat of arms; specially crafted for Ottimo, elevates essential herbs like rosemary, thyme and sage to royalty like status. In all, its a nice place to dine at with Chef Greco raising the bar by retaining the authentic flavors of a traditional Italian meal yet incorporating his nuances and giving the food a very contemporary feel.

An average meal for two at Ottimo will cost around Rs. 4000 ++. This does not include alcohol. As for the parking, it's no hassle for ITC Gardenia provides for valet service.

Quick Tips:
Go here for a leisurely meal. There is a lot to be enjoyed at Ottimo but for me the highlights of the meal were - Paramigiana de Melanzane, scallops and cuttlefish dish, mushroom and seafood risotto and the chocolate dessert.

Address: ITC Gardenia, 1, Residency Road, Bangalore
Phone Number: +91 80 4345 5140 

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