From pizzas and pastas, the resurgence of Italian food in the capital is heartening indeed. Delhi NCR has always been besotted with the strong flavours of the Mughlai and the Punjabi cuisine before Chinese food hit our shores. The next import from America was take away Italian in the form of pizzas. And boy, did Delhi fall in love with it or what? Although adoring the robust flavours of them, the Delhiite always dismissed the rest of Italian into the Continental category, bland and boiled. It continued for a few decades or so before the well-travelled Delhiite woke up. The result is that Italian has slowly but steadily overtaken Chinese as the most favoured cuisine after Mughlai/Punjabi. Another heartening thing is the slow but steady acceptance of the authentic Italian flavours. Although a bit more subtle than the true Indian flavours, they still do leave an imprint on the palate.
Now when one of the most iconic hotels in town ITC Maurya decides to redo one of their most loved restaurants, they chose Italian. The stunning West View now houses the Italian superstar already operational in Chennai(ITC Grand Chola) and Bangalore(ITC Gardenia), Ottimo. Dominated by the central Ottimo square, the romance of the place lies in it’s resplendent setting. Arches which give you a cosy feel along with a rooftop view overlooking the city. Combine that with some lovely Live music and you won’t have a better place to impress your date. With Chef Greco Vittorio at the helm, the food is contemporary Italian which combines the flavours of old Italy with subtle experimentation. Moving his ebullient self from table to table, Chef Vittorio enthrals you with stories of Italy and his experience in India. Most essentially, he explains the tweaks that make his dishes stand out.
We start off with the Parmigiana. The dish looks a beauty before Chef Vittorio himself breaks across it as he wants us to taste the combination of flavours. Eggplant and tomato give it the base with an earthiness and acidity while the Parmesan mousse and chips provide the texture to the dish followed by the charcoal oil which gives it a smoky flavour. The next in line is the Italian classic Burrata, a dish which basically combines the best of mozzarella cheese and cream. He tweaks his classic version with some sour red cherries while he presents a non-vegetarian version with prawns and dry roasted onion powder. But one of the highlights of the night is the scallops. Layered with a multitude of flavours of Pecorino cheese, chorizo and truffle, the dish highlights itself with a distinct note of garlic.
The Parmesan soup with olive powder is a haven for lovers of creamy, cheesy flavours. The ravioli also follows a similar pattern of surprising the palate. The first one is a two sided ravioli that has ricotta, truffle and mushrooms, poured in a parmesan broth. The delicate texture of the ravioli with the combination of cheesy flavours with the earthiness of mushrooms is a treat to the senses. The second ravioli utilizes cauliflower in a never seen before avtar. Cauliflower cream with an anchovy and butter ravioli. The combination of flavours might be a little alien to Indian palates but it is a smashing one nonetheless.
The mains were a Duck Risotto along with Tender Lamb Chops filled with Parmigiano and Truffle crusted with almonds and bread crumbs. Both of these dishes sound good for a food lover with the typical flavour of duck combining beautifully with the risotto while the crusty Lamb Chops fell in a loving embrace with the vanilla mash. End your meal with a range of desserts ranging from the classic Tiramisu or a Citrus Lemon Mousse. Ottimo is the perfect place for one of those special dinners.