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    The Park presents Northern Italy’s special menu

    Every month, Italia, the popular Italian restaurant of The Park Hotel, focuses on introducing creations from specific regions of Italy. This month, the spotlight is on Lombardy, a region in Northern Italy and senior sous chef Baseer Ahmed has a menu that deftly covers this region.

    Lombardy cuisine draws its roots from multiple inspirations. The use of butter and cream are lavish as is the exorbitant use of poultry. Unlike the rest of Italy, polenta and rice feature predominantly in the Lombard region on tables, when compared to pasta. Chef Baseer explains that he wants to bring out food that is traditionally cooked in the homes of locals.

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    Try everything on the menu. Start your meal with the classic Bruschetta that’s taken up a notch with the addition of bocconcini, a drizzle of balsamic and a garnish of fresh basil. This sets the tone for the rest of the meal. Try the Insalata di pollo alla griglia next — sliced, seasoned and grilled chicken breast tossed up with salad leaves, sun-dried tomatoes, apples, pears and a generous drizzle of balsamic and olive oil. A refreshing salad, which coupled with a heavy soup like the Zuppa alla pavese will make a meal in itself. This soup is a rich chicken broth, given an added grainy texture with a touch of pumpkin. It is served with a toasted, ringed

    A refreshing salad, which coupled with a heavy soup like the Zuppa alla pavese will make a meal in itself. This soup is a rich chicken broth, given an added grainy texture with a touch of pumpkin. It is served with a toasted, ringed crust-less bread and a double sided fried egg. Though the egg seemed a bit out of place on the soup, the flavour and texture of the soup are what you will like.

    The menu pays equal attention to vegetarian options which we recommend highly. The Insalata di pere e parmigiano with salad greens, pears, parmesan and balsamic is a good choice as is the classic Milanese Minestrone soup.

    Bringing the focus to the rice is the Risotto ai funghi porcini – a risotto that is creamy and flavourful thanks to the generous hand with the butter, cream and of course porcini mushrooms. The freshly hand torn arugula leaves that are placed on the risotto add that nice touch. There is also a dish that features veal shanks over saffron risotto, which also brings in Lombardy’s love for spice.

    For those who love their fish, the Salmon al forno con finocchio e zucchini – oven roasted salmon fillet with fennel and zucchini is a nice choice. Baked and then finished on the pan, it is served with baked zucchini and potatoes. The Pollo ai porcini highlights the Lombardy region’s love for poultry brilliantly with these rolled chicken breasts stuffed, very interestingly with provolone cheese and porcini mushroom and served alongside polenta bread slices. The polenta provides that great offset both in terms of flavour as well as beefing up your meal.

    Chef Baseer really loves his porcini mushrooms because you can see it make an appearance again in the Fettuccine al ragu e porcini – a pasta dish with a luscious tomato, basil minced meat sauce that screams Italian.

    The menu also boasts of linguine and gnocchi offerings as well as options in seafood and red meat. Pizzas are another highlight of the menu. Wrap up your meal with the classic Tiramisu served in a uniquely styled presentation. And for those who are not coffee lovers, the Fragolini al Balsamico — a crostini topped with mascarpone cheese, cinnamon, balsamic vinegar and a sliced strawberry is the perfect indulgence.

    Rs 3000 ++ for two.At MG Road. Details: 25594666

    — Ruth D’Souza Prabhu

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