LAST Sunday finds me at The Taj Coromandel’s Italian restaurant in the basement, all curious to preview their Festa Della Fungo menu, put together by their executive chef Sujan Mukherjee, Master Chef Luca D’Amora and executive sous chef Atish Ramachandran. With a two piece band crooning retro numbers in the background, we are set off with a puzzle on a tiny plate. “Guess what’s in it?” chef Ramachandra teases, as we stare at the slice of unidentifiable vegetable. While the balsamic vinegar was obvious, my companion earned brownie points for figuring out truffle oil. The crunchy water-chestnut amuse bouche definitely set our palate on high alert for further quirky experiments.
The salad is fresh with bits of plum, fried polenta and mushrooms, of course. The seared scallop perching prettily with edible flowers, on a heap of house-made pappardelle pasta is delicious, but the grilled prawns with shiitake fascinates with an additive blue cheese flavoured gorgonzola sauce. With three types of mushroom and ricotta and mozzarella drenched, we try not to make a meal of Luca’s signature thin crust pizza.
The main is gloriously all about the meat. Caramalised on the outside and pink centred, the New Zealand lamb rack holds fort while the zucchini caponata with pine nuts and green grapes, dusted with porcini, make for a gracious side.
We are awed that even the dessert is not spared a touch of fungi, as we dig into the chef’s special — the deconstructed tiramisu — that has suggestions of truffle oil and goes along nicely with the coffee flavour. Preparing to leave, we hear that next up on the pedestal to be celebrated could be the asparagus.
April 17 -21. Rs 3,200 for two. Details: 6600 2827
— Sabrina Rajan