Chianti Ristorante, named after the Chianti wine region of Italy and pronounced Kianti, is Bangalore’s go to place for authentic Italian fare.
I don’t usually make Italian my choice, being a lover of Pan Asian cuisine. Hence I tend to repeatedly head only to Asian restaurants. However, an invite by my friend Suresh Hinduja, to try out a few new additions to the menu at this popular place, made me say ‘Why kiant’i experience something different for a change ?’ and that is how I landed at the Indiranagar outlet, one fine evening.
A board with the day’s specials greets you at the entrance, alongside a quaint bench that would seat some of the hordes who wait outside on a crowded weekend.
Wooden floors and ceiling provide the rusticity and coziness inside and the wine bar stands at the far end, all lit up in red. Glimpses of Italy are scattered across the walls via framed pictures and the pages of the menu are also an alternation of such pictures and food choices.
Chef Mani is a Tamilian who has made a life choice of Italy over Idli when it comes to cooking and which suits us all fine, since he does such a great job of it too. Besides, we have enough people who know to make Idli anyway !!! But let me not Idle away my time on this and let me move on to the night that was.
The chef is a humble and endearing person whose passion for his craft is obvious in his work and speech. He spent time with us explaining the theme of the place and how he has strived to keep the flavors as close to the real as possible. Under his guidance and recommendation, we asked for small sampling portions of whatever he wished to showcase. Of course I did gently nudge him towards the prawns and at the risk of sounding Pesky, I headed for the Pesci section of the menu and picked out the dishes that had Gamberi in them … a Gamble that paid off richly.
We began with the DIY Bruschetta which made its way with accompanying instructions that I promptly delegated to the person attending to us. He of course dutifully did the honors, which included rubbing the bread with garlic followed by crushed basil leaves and then tomatoes, with a final dripping of olive oil. A delicious start to the meal especially since we did not have to perform the labor that was involved
Antipasti which are the appetizers and not an anagram for Aunty Patsy, were up next and I began with the Gamberoni Aglio Olio E Peperoncino … yes yes the prawn toasted with garlic, olive oil and chilli. One learns to pronounce what one is crazy about !!!
The vegetarian companion had to be attended to, hence the Insalata de Caprese came our way with the chef’s added twist of replacing the usual mozzarella with a globe of amazing Burrata that burst open to reveal its milky goodness which blended well with the tomatoes, basil and grissini (bread stick).
The Insalata Di Salmone followed, with the smoked salmon perched atop a bed of crushed potatoes … crushed not in spirit but along with mascarpone cheese and balsamic dressing and finished with a tossing of mixed lettuce. And oh yes, let me not forget the little Squid ink lattice that adorned the entire dish !!! Crunchy and exotic.
Everything was excellent and after this great start, we zipped past the Zuppas (soups) and went straight on to the pastas and I was quack … er quick to pick the Duck Ravioli. I am not a fan of pastas but I do make exceptions for ravioli because I don’t want to hurt their Fillings (cheesy much ? ). Yeah well this was not just cheese but duck meat, mascarpone cheese and caramelized onions ensconced in the fresh home made pasta pockets that were tossed in cream sauce … a delightful dish this Ravioli Di Petto D’Anatra.
It was impossible to make a stop at the Pizza and Risotto part, so I skipped onto the highly recommended Costoletta Di Maiale, the grilled Pork ribs with bacon, mashed potatoes, broccoli and pineapple in orange Jus … Jus a tad not tender enough for me though and the marinade could have done a better job of penetrating.
We blamed the local piggy for this and went back to fixating on the prawns. The Gamberi Alla Grigilia, the grilled Tiger prawns in lemon, capers and butter sauce … well the description is Caper’able of speaking for itself.
The vegetarian at the table had to be appeased too, hence there was the offering of the Gratin Di Verdure, grilled vegetables baked in a tomato sauce and topped with mozzarella.
Chianti has a wine bar (but of course), with a good range of wines both local and imported. Red wine Sangrias lent their fruitiness and kept our food company.
How can one end an Italian meal (or any meal for that matter) without dessert ?
The Bomba di Cioccolato, which true to it’s name, was an explosion of chocolate lava, the Vanilla panna cotta with ice cream and berry compote and the decadent Cioccolato alla Nocciola mousse which was a Hazelnut chocolate mousse, all added to our feeling of well being, the last one being my favorite with it’s innovative garnishes of red wine jelly and orange jelly. They will also make the jellies using the vegetarian agar agar on request.
The prices at Chianti are reasonable, considering their ingredients and portion sizes and their platters are recommended for large groups.
Their presentation and plating is in keeping with modern trends while retaining the essence of the classic.
So head to Chianti if when in Bangalore you want to do as the Romans do !!!
June 30th, 2017