The new menu of the Italian restaurant La Cucina at the Hyatt Regency offers entrees from various regional cuisines of Italy
With good times returning, all of the city’s diners, big or small, are waking up from their slumbers and revamping their menus to entice customers to the comfort of their homes. The same buzz of activity can be noticed at the Hyatt Regency’s upscale Italian restaurant, La Cucina, one of the city’s most sought-after Italian restaurants. The restaurant brought in chef Gianfranco Tuttolani who dreamed up some of the finest starters in the Italian provinces and curated an irresistible special menu with La Cucina’s head chef, Dola Singh.
Hailing from the small village of Atri in the Abruzzo region of Italy, Chef Tuttolani has always had a knack for creating something out of nothing. “From an early age, I made sandwiches and other snacks with leftovers at home. Cooking has always fascinated me. says the chef, who worked in Europe, China and Australia before taking charge of the Grand Hyatt Mumbai’s signature Italian restaurant, Celini.
The burly chef with a great sense of humor orchestrated a great range of flavors to give Kolkata a taste of the culinary prowess of his birthplace and other parts of Italy and the main challenge he was faced with. faced was to get the genuine spices in order. to preserve the original flavors. “Italians love their cheese, beef and pork and it was difficult to put together a menu that would appeal to the Indian palate. That’s why I settled for a few original interpretations of fish, lamb, seafood and of cheese”, explains the chef.
But from the start of the feast, we were convinced of the chef’s instinct when it comes to figuring out what will work here. We started with Fritto Misto or a mixed platter of wok fried calamari, prawns, fish and peppers with a spicy Arrabbiata sauce and generously sprinkled with lime and cracked pink pepper. We were instantly teleported to the southern shores of Italy, where these Mediterranean preparations are hugely popular. And anyone who’s been from Naples to Sicily will give the chef a pat on the back for replicating the flavors hands down.
Our taste buds were sufficiently titillated, the gourmet journey continued with the sumptuous Minestrone Genovese soup made with fleshy zucchini, juicy red onions, juicy fresh celery, carrots, leeks, pumpkin, potato, borlotti beans and basil pesto. What makes this soup made with locally available vegetables so special is the addition of local basil pesto, a staple in the Liguria region of northwest Italy. While we were drinking, Chef Tuttolani told us how difficult it was for him to get the right basil. “The basil grown here is not even at all similar to what we get in Italy. We have Thai basil, which is closer in taste and flavor to making the soup,” he says.
The soup was followed by a very light but hearty dish of lamb Scottadito, an Italian take on lamb chops that simply won our hearts for its understated spice play. Originating in Rome, this dish was made with New Zealand lamb chops soaked in red wine jus and sautéed with rosemary, black pepper and garlic. Served with fork mash and a helping of sautéed spinach, this dish nailed it with the perfect balance of texture, taste, and fat content.
With no room for new taste adventures, we happily ended the meal by diving into the classic tiramisu balanced in its sweet and sour ratio. The five-course Melange Flavors of Italy, carefully hand-crafted by Chef Tuttolani, are also available on their à la carte menu and should definitely be on your must-have list if you’re still skeptical of local interpretations of Italian cuisine in restaurants in town.
Price for Melange Flavors Of Italy: Rs 2,500+ per person. Opening hours: 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. (Monday to Sunday)