Ottimo + Restaurant Week = Fine Dine Time!

Citibank Restaurant Week India has established itself as an exciting time, where a couple times a year, you get to eat at the top fine dine establishments in town (Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, and from this 2015 edition, Chennai too) for a price that is way below what a three or four course meal normally costs at the same place. With around 30 restaurants participating in RWI in Bangalore, the choices are pretty awesome. I know friends who plan and book at least two meals during the RWI run, and really, you should go for at least one! This time around, I chose to check out Ottimo, the ITC Gardenia’s signature Italian restaurant, and what its Italian chef, Chef Vittorio Greco, was putting on for RWI. The preview meals for RWI were last weekend, and the actual event runs from this Friday, April 17th, through April 26th, giving you two full weekends and weekday meals a-plenty to indulge! Ottimo is only open for dinner, and at INR 1000 plus taxes for a three course meal, where you get to choose from of the restaurant’s best offerings, it is sure to fill up fast – so get thee to the site and make your booking – they opened this past Sunday. Ottimo is beautiful, luxurious and where fine dine oozes from every pore. Obviously, at one of Bangalore’s top hotels, the service and surroundings are impeccable, and you will be in for a memorable meal. And Ottimo has taken plating to an art form, so every dish is turned out like its ready for a food photography session! Chef Vittorio was actually away the night we went, which was disappointing since he really makes the meal come alive, but his Sous Chef Sasha took great care of us, and we were told he will definitely be around during RWI.

Chocolate Dreams
Chocolate Dreams

Now to the main question: what did we eat that night? My companion and I, two staunch non vegetarians, both stayed true to those roots. There were four options for veg and four for non-veg, in the appetizers and main courses, so no one will be short of choice! On a rainy evening, soup did sound good, but the Tenderloin Carpaccio with rocket and parmesan won out for me, and my friend chose Prawns salad with burrata and pink tomatoes sauce at my urging (buratta cheese – hell ya, must try!). The prawns were crisp, juicy and large, the burrata fantastic, and my carpaccio had a really generous cover of parmesan cheese shaved over it. Happy first course! My dining partner had no hesitation when it came to what to eat for his main course, having spied the Slow cooked Supreme of chicken stuffed with mushrooms and smoked scarmorza, while I dithered between the Jaipur lamb rack loaf with confit garlic jus and Corzetti with prawns and asparagus, finally settling for the latter. Both dishes arrived looking pretty as a picture: the wafer thin pasta rounds that is Corzetti provided the base on which diced shrimp, chopped asparagus and two sauces lay, and the two pieces of chicken were presented with tiny scooped out balls of green and yellow squash and carrots, and broccoli florets. We thoroughly enjoyed our mains and conversation came to a near standstill. Dessert was a forgone conclusion, of the four options, we asked for Tiramisu (it has a serious coffee hit and was presented in a glass), and Torta caprese, a signature dessert at Ottimo that I think every person who even mildly likes chocolate just must indulge in! With dark and light chocolate encased in a chocolate ball that melts into itself once hot chocolate from a jug is poured over it, this dessert speaks to your eyes, nose and taste buds! All in all, a lovely meal and I realize I have to head over to the RWI site and get booking, so Buon Appetito and Ciao!

Natasha Ali

Natasha's first foray into food writing has been with Chef at Large. Who knew all those years spent eating food, reading about it and looking for the next restaurant to try or watching cooking shows would have left such an indelible impression?! She's back in India after having spent over a decade in the US where she studied as well as taught in academia and now works as a content writer seeing as she can write about pretty much anything. Movie mad, obsessed with the English language, and never one to turn down a glass of good wine, cup of tea, or a good book, she's open to trying any dish once, she enjoys a variety of cuisines with favorites being Ethiopian, Thai, and Lebanese. Natasha covers Bangalore for Chef at Large and can be reached at natasha.ali@www.chefatlarge.in