What happens when a sommelier and chef come together? A paired five-course meal, as some of us experienced at La Piazza and some can experience till February 15.

Chef at work
Words and pictures: Ambica Gulati

Welcoming Executive Sous Chef Alessandro Sandrolini to the hotel, this Italian restaurant has a special experience to offer in the forthcoming Valentine Week. Along with sommelier Viraj Sawant, the Chef has designed a sumptuous five-course meal for those who like to woo in style. After all, Italy is known for good food, romantic men and regional diversity.

La PiazzaAdded to this is the cosy ambience of the restaurant. Warm wooden furniture, some private alcoves, a candle waiting for you on the table and lots of wine, this could be the special date dinner.

Even as individual palette decides what it likes best, Sawant elucidated that pairing takes into account many factors such as taste, flavours, acidity, ingredients, salt and more. Except one, all the wines in this special meal were Italian; only one was Californian as it went well with the dish.

Talking about the difference between the French and Italian wines, Sawant said, “French wines rely on international grapes but Italians focus on indigenous varieties of grapes.”
The hotel has a range of over 120 wines across all restaurants but mostly Italian ones are found in La Piazza. And yes, wines do go well with Indian food “but Indian food has many spices, so wines with more sugar, more fruit driven, acidity, lighter easier wines go well with those dishes”.

P_20160205_222452The course began with Parmesan crème brulee, white truffle oil paired with Luna Argenta brut, Italy. I thought this was one which would go well with most dishes with its bubbles, sparkling, fruity flavours. It was so suited to a woman’s palate.

Then it was time for some soup, Warm asparagus veloute, caramelized onion which we downed with Vila Antinori bianco. This was a different experience, wine and soup, something new for me. Now conversation had become easier on the long table. The main course comprised Tuna tartar, celery, herb, red wine reduction. This was among one of the excellent tuna dishes that I have eaten till date. It was fresh, light on flavours and full of greens. It was accompanied by Blackstone Chardonnay. Another dish which turned out to be a delight was Mushroom stuffed tortellini, brown butter sauce. I have never had mushrooms this way. Bertani Valpolicella was the wine with this. Mind you, with each different wine, there was a different kind of glass. Presentation was important and there is enough space between courses to let the conversation flow.

P_20160205_222519And then it was time to dig into Braised baby fennel, parmesan scented potato
mash, sautéed mushroom which went with La Braccesca, Italy. And it finally ended with
Chocolate shell, white chocolate mousse, marinated strawberry, rum sauce.
Don’t forget a drive around town might make the Valentine even happier after this kingly meal.

Valid till 15 February 2016
Dinner: 7 pm-11:30 pm
Price: Rs 3,900 + taxes per person
Rs 3,500 + taxes per person for Club at Hyatt members

Know Chef Alessandro Sandrolini:

Indian street food: Chaats make him feel he’s a part of India.
Treat his wife to: Authentic Indian chicken curry on holidays
Favoruite dish: Zampone, a 16th century salami stuffed with pig meat and cooked over a very low fire
Italian food scene in India: Italian food is restricted to pizzas and pastas in this part of the world. People should experiment more with l’antipasto, hot and cold appetisers, and the II primos, the first courses
Loves wine appreciation, learning about different cuisines
Hobbies: Skiing and listening to music