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Beyond pasta and PIZZA

The Italian food festival at Paradise Lounge, Taj Residency, transports the foodie to the peninsula


ITALY SEEMS to be the flavour of the season. The Taj Residency has capitalised on this at its coffee shop. For the uninitiated, Italian normally connotes pastas and pizzas. But there is more. . Discover this by taking a culinary trip to the Paradise Lounge, Taj Residency.

Your knowledge is restricted to pizza and pasta. Find a buffet with tongue-twisting names. Forget the pronunciation, just help yourself after checking out veg and non-veg. If you happen to visit on different days (the festival is on till June 13) at either lunch or dinner you are likely to find different dishes for the menus have been worked differently. The food of this peninsula is invariably topped with generous helpings of cheese (parmesan and mozarella) and cooked in olive oil.

Start with a soup - a veg (the famous minestrone - with veggies and pasta topped with cheese) or non-veg (Roman egg drop soup) and just proceed to the live counter where an array of pastas (which come in various shapes and sizes like penne, spaghetti, macaroni, fettucini), sauces and toppings await you. Have a good look and check with the chef on duty about the ingredients. Then mix and match the pasta and the ingredients to create your own dish. The thrill lies in experimenting a bit besides having the regular fare. This way your knowledge of the sauces (tomato is the most common one known) widens. The pesto, for instance, is a light green-coloured sauce, made up of basil (akin to tulsi leaves) and pine nuts. There are others as well.

Lasagne, canneloni, ravioli, (all different kinds of flour-based pasta stuffed and served with sauce) are all true Italian. Spaghetti with meat balls and Spinach gnocchi (steamed spinach dumplings in tomato-based sauce), Melanzane parmigiana (Sliced brinjals layered with tomatoes and cheese) Pollo alla cacciatore (Chicken with olives and tomatoes), Pollo pricipessa (Stuffed Chicken supreme with wine sauce) Pesce Milanese (Fish coated with crumbs and fried) are some of the typical Italian dishes. Breads and desserts complete the food picture.

Curious to know where the exotic ingredients are got from? Chef Ganesh Joshi (Executive Chef) says "the ingredients like olive oil, olives, capers, basil, cheese sundried tomatoes are all imported." Chef Kapil Upadhyaya, who has also conceptualised this festival, says "We will have two non-veg and three veg items on the buffet besides the live pasta counter."

Italian food is a part of the regular buffet (priced at Rs. 425 plus 8 per cent tax) which has a host of other items.

Happy eating!

RADHIKA RAJAMANI

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