Bangalore restaurant reviews Expensive


Sunday, April 27, 2014Me! In words

Around a year ago, I was invited to the ITC Gardenia for an Italian food festival - The Flavors of Tuscany. That was the first time I had a chance to meet Chef Vittorio Greco who had just come to Bangalore and was here to set up the restaurant that I was now sitting in - Ottimo. This beautiful Italian restaurant today stands in what was once West View Grill - an amazing restaurant that I was sad to see go, but considering that Ottimo has come in its place, is delicious consolation enough. 

The sofa seating in Ottimo is done up in rich emerald green, with massive images of classic Italian herbs being framed and showcased across the restaurant. Lovely little terrariums dot the counters and the top shelves surrounding the open kitchen. So it was in this ambiance that we settled down, with a nice glass of Fratelli wine and waited for Chef Vittorio to blow us away. 

We started with some Olive bread which is the kind that you can make a complete meal out of. There is no number of loaves of this that can leave you satisfied.

Chef Vittoria believes in taking classic Italian food and giving it a sophisticated twist. While he retains the authentic flavors of a dish, the way he presents it is always (as this meal showed us) with the flourish of a magician - a culinary magician in this case. There were two Aperitivo to begin with

The first, Parmigiani di Melanzane - deconstructed parmigiani - this is Chef Vittorio's take on a classic dish, always served layered with oodles of cheese, eggplant and tomato sauce. This dainty little orb will have you oohing and aahing over its delicate countenance for a while. As you lift the spoon to your mouth, you may think that popping it in one go is going to make you look comical - trust me, set those feelings aside, open wide and take that mouthful. Shock will be your first reaction - this little orb is served cold. The outer shell instantly cracks open in your mouth leading to an explosion of tomato and cheese and a delicate finish of eggplant. The few seconds that it takes for each of these flavors to burst forth is almost orchestrated in its beauty.  Grab the next spoon, because if you are table of more than one, these beauties are going to disappear fast.

The Rocher al Fegato Grasso is a Foie Gras dish inspired by the famous Ferrero Rocher chocolate and as the name suggests, brings together chocolate and foie gras. Once you release these halves from their golden foils, you will spend some time admiring the fact that they do look like the famous Ferrero Rocher dissected. These are easier to pop into the mouth, but are definitely an acquired taste. This must be the 2nd or 3rd time I am indulging in foie gras and it is yet to grow on me. 

A closer look at the Rocher al Fegato

Now just before we moved on to the Antipasto, Chef brought out another exquisite looking Aperitivo, which he said is something that is still in the experimentation state, but which he wanted an opinion on. This was a take on a lamb preparation by Chef's mother but with a serious upscale twist to it - a lamb lollypop of sorts with cheese dust and balsamic caviar - seriously I just said balsamic caviar and cheese dust!!! As far as I go, the lamb needed a little something to help it completely blend with the cheese and balsamic caviar, which were brilliant in themselves, but a little overpowering for the lamb. But gorgeous it was, and if you are going to visit Ottimo and find this on the menu - do not hesitate.

A look at the Mum inspired dish - on the platter and up close 

And we moved onto the antipasto - beginning with the Capesante gratinate e sfilacci di seppie con crema di porri e zucca - which translates into a scrumptious looking gratinated scallops and shredded cuttlefish with leek coulis and pumpkin. The big black dots you see are mustard and the flower is edible too. Seafood lovers will truly appreciate this dish with the lightness of the scallops well complemented with the satiny feel of the pumpkin and the leek coulis. 

Capesante gratinate e sfilacci di seppie con crema di porri e zucca

And then came sheer artistry on a plateMorbidoni di Patate e gorgonzola con pepperoni dolci e pomodori - Potato dumplings with gorgonzola in bell pepper and tomato coulis. Delicate potato dumpling placed in a palette of colors made from bell peppers and tomato coulis. One of those dishes that you loathe to dig a spoon into for its sheer beauty. But dig a spoon we did, only to have each of these lovely balls slowly melt onto the tongue and blend into the flavors of the sauce that it sat it. 

 Morbidoni di Patate e gorgonzola con pepperoni dolci e pomodoro

Next came the Primopiatta - the first main course and out came the Risotto con Funghi selvaggi, scampi e cipollina croccante - Wild mushrooms and shrimps risotto with crispy shallots. - You can count on the fingers of one hand the number of places in Bangalore where you get a good risotto... and now with this risotto dish I just added a finger to that count. Its very easy to get this dish wrong on several levels or right on just a few, but Chef Vittoria ensures that you have a plateful of goodness that you will take your time savoring - the creaminess and the taste in each mouthful will not have you bored with the dish in a few spoonfuls as is normally the case. 

Funghi selvaggi, scampi e cipollina croccante

For the vegetarians, the Tortelloni (tortellini being a much smaller version of this pasta with a meat filling usually. Tortelloni are larger and usually filled with cheese and vegetable filling). This was a Tortelloni di Melanzane con salsa al pomodoro fresco e ricotta salata - Roasted aubergines in a homemade tortelloni dusted with smoked ricotta and tossed in fresh tomatoes.

The stark difference between a homemade pasta and a processed one is so evident in a dish. With a brilliant start to the pasta, the roasted aubergine (always a personal favorite), cheese and tomato sauce come together to make perfect harmony. The sauce is robust and tangy and complements the pasta superbly.

Tortelloni di Melanzane con salsa al pomodoro fresco e ricotta salata

The Secondo Piatto - second course had more goodness in store for us. This course had the Filetto di branzino in crosta al pistacchio con caponatina di verdure - Sea bass with a pistachio crust served up with a a Sicilian style caponata - the fish is done really well though I personally felt that a finer crust of the pistachio was in order - the crumbs were a bit too large slightly overwhelming the fish. The caponata was a brilliant sweet and sour mix, characteristic of the preparation, without being overly heavy on either of the flavors.

 Filetto di branzino in crosta al pistacchio con caponatina di verdure

The vegetarian option was the Sferi di Mozzarella di Bufala e spaghetti in salsa la pomodoro - Fresh tomatoes, basil and parmesan spaghetti ensconced in delicate strings of buffalo mozzarella - Presentation is something Chef Vittorio is adept at, taking classic ingredients and presenting them in a dish in a whole new way, giving you gorgeous new approach to the classic.

 Sferi di Mozzarella di Bufala e spaghetti in salsa la pomodoro

And now it was time for the Dolce - the desserts and generally the most anticipated part of the meal for most of us. The Torta caprese con sorpresa alla vaniglia - This was the dream world of Charlie's Chocolate Factory locked up in chocolate ball and broken open at the table....

The Ball

Generous stream of hot chocolate sauce being poured over it...

The chocolate melting the ball right down...

White chocolate, dark chocolate, vanilla come tumbling out of their chocolate prison

The last dessert of the day was totally inspired... by the decor of the restaurant. Chef Vittorio wanted at least one of his dishes to be representative of the restaurant - and so the Bianconmangiare al caramello con perle al miele - set cream, a dash of wild mountain honey and a swirl of warm caramel - all of it set in such a way so as to look like a terrarium in a glass, complete with edible flowers and a caramel biscuit roof. Again a sight so pretty it was difficult to dig a spoon in. 

Bianconmangiare al caramello con perle al miele

Ottimo is the whole package - classiness, classic yet innovative - expect to be pampered on every level and do tell your taste buds they are in for something truly spectacular! A meal of two here is in the Rs 4000 plus taxes bracket but you will step out happy having spent every rupee.

Address: #1, Residency Road, Bangalore - 560025
Phone: 22119898
Cards Accepted: Yes
Parking: Valet

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