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Restaurant Week September 2014 - Ottimo

Sunday, September 21, 2014Me! In words

Restaurant Week (RWI) is that one time of the year when indulgence is the name of the game. And why not, considering the best of star and standalone restaurants put on a showcase of their culinary brilliance at a fraction of the price you would normally pay. Some of the earlier chapters of RWI introduced us to restaurants that went on to become favorites. Though many of the names of the restaurant list for September are repeats from the year before, there are a few new names that have made the list, giving veterans and newbies of RWI a great choice. 

So RWI offers you a 3 course prix fixe meal at Rs 900 + taxes in Bangalore. You may taste signature dishes at select restaurants for an additional Rs 200. Alcohol is not a part of RWI showcases but you may order a la carte if you so wish. What I appreciate is that the menus offer you just enough to make a completely delicious meal and not overwhelm you with choice. So much so, you could dine at the same restaurant twice and yet experience two different meals. We were invited to a preview of RWI at Ottimo - the Italian restaurant at ITC Gardenia. 

Along with the complimentary bread platter of Olive Focaccia and bread sticks comes a nicely done menu which outlines your vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. We decided to split the menu between us so that we could show you both options. Chef Vittorio, as always, is a pleasure to be around and he visited every table to understand preferences and make suggestions. He is even open to customizing your dish for you, if you so like. 

Chef suggested I go with the Broccoli Soup with a fresh garden salad. Though my initial choice was a Caprese of cherry tomatoes and baby bocconcini with red onion jam, I am glad I took him up on his suggestion. My soup arrives, in two glasses, a triangular one which holds croutons, blanched broccoli and a wafer thin bread stick. In the glass below was a lovely simple salad in a mild vinaigrette - bell peppers and cherry tomatoes with some salad greens. The soup comes in a small sauce pan and is poured in front of you over the bread - the wafer breaks in half and your soup bubbles away, soaking the croutons and begging for a spoon to be dipped in. The soup, quite similar in texture to a fine pea soup elevates broccoli to another level, with its smoothness and flavour. The salad made for a lovely finish to a hot soup.

A closer look at the soup

Sudhakar opted for the Ribollita - a hearty Tuscan soup, filled with vegetables and beans and more importantly to us - aged pancetta. The soup is loaded with bread and cheese - on the side and in it. A small bowl of onion roundels is also placed before you to give the soup added crunch. Again - it is the flavour that will hold you mesmerized. 

Chef was kind enough to bring out another of the appetizers which he believed is something that we must taste. The Shrimp Garden with Citrus dressing came out. A shrimp cake, over which is placed shrimp on a shell, with a drizzling of a thick citrus dressing and salad greens. At first glance, you may feel the lone shrimp is the highlight of the dish, but take a bite of the cake below and you will be amazed. As has been the flavour profile so far, Chef Vittorio has somehow managed to retain the original flavour of the core ingredient, yet enhanced it subtly with a touch of this and pinch of that. 

For the mains, Sudhakar opted for the Sea bass crusted with pistachio and served with Sicilian Caponata. A pretty plate, with a brilliant caponata. I would love to be standing next to Chef when he is putting it together. The Sea bass is beautifully encrusted with the pistachio and may seem a bit too thick at first glance. But slice through the flaky fish and fork some of that crust along with it and you will find some new dimensions of flavour in there.  

I had the Mozzarella stuffed gnocchi with the tri-color coulis - a dish I have had before, but which nails it for me every time. The gnocchi are as soft as a down pillow on your face and when stuffed with mozzarella you can't ask for more. The coulis is a trio of bellpeppers - from the plating to the baby asparagus to the lovely little gnocchi... a real pleaser this dish is.  

For desserts, I had the Terrarium Panacotta - 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. Its as tasty as it is pretty!

Sudhakar had the Tiramisu which he declared was a very nice way to end our meal. 

And so there you have it... this is a part of the Ottimo menu set up for RWI this year. You have a choice of 29 restaurants that are participating in Bangalore this year. All menus are at Rs 900 plus taxes. You may make your bookings here at

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