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    Meet Luca, the new chef at Prego, who brings treats from his hometown of Naples to the city

    Write to me from Naples, sang Dean Martin, Italian American heartthrob, “Write me every day. I love you and Naples, more than words can say…” By the time you try chef Luca’s new menu at Prego, the fine dining Italian food restaurant at the Taj Coromandel, you too will be singing.
    For he is from Naples, the city that created two famous Italian brands — Pizza and the actress Sophia Loren. It’s well known that Sophia Loren owes some of her best-known assets, her smile for instance, to pasta.
    Sipping & snacking
    Rynelle Fernandes, the friendly Maitre D’, or should we call her Mistress D’ at the Prego, is also in charge of the wines. She has already plied us with the light bright Italian wine, Danzante Pinot Grigio. It’s a marvelous accompaniment to Luca’s platter of assorted br1eads, his starters that are drenched in creamy sauces and rich tomato based glazes. In fact you would do best to stick to the starters. Strips of bell peppers are laid out on the plate with soft cheeses and kalamata; tiny fingers of fried potato mash linger on the plate with goat cheese and caramelized cherry tomato. There’s soy ginger glazed chicken served in between thin pastry discs and Parma ham, with melon and soft Mozzarella cheese that compete for attention.
    Dessert stop
    Do we really need to try the Pizza, we ask? But of course, insists Chef Luca. The Margarita in the colors of the Italian flag tomato red, mozzarella white and Basil leaf green was invented by Raffaele Esposito in 1889 to welcome Queen Margherita of Savoy. The main courses are wonderfully hearty but it’s still worth waiting for Luca’s Tiramisu. The best news is that the Prego menu comes in small and medium portions, so you can have it all with a glass of wine and pay only `2,000 (sans tax) per person. Details: 66002827

    — Geeta Doctor

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