Fresh from Italy to Vetro at The Oberoi

A beautiful salad of arugula leaves, goat cheese and pears lies on our plate. We take a bite and realise it tastes better. The tartness from the cherry tomatoes, the sweetness of the peaches and the honey dressing come together beautifully, and we like the effect.

Gorgonzola cheesecake
Gorgonzola cheesecake

Chef Alessandro Stefoni at Vetro, the Italian restaurant at The Oberoi, has rolled out 28 new dishes and plans to revamp the rest of the menu by September. He is here to eliminate the spices and other excess, and return to what Italian cuisine is really about -- simplicity and freshness.

Tagliatelle with Lobster. pics/kareena N gianani

Translated on the menu, it means that dishes which otherwise had a battalion of ingredients, flavours and processes have been stripped bare. He points out to an aubergine dish. Earlier, spices were added to the aubergine before it was rolled in flour and tossed into the frying pan. However, now, all Chef Stefoni does is lightly spice the aubergine, use some flour and bake it.

To see what this technique feels like in our mouths, we pick the Chicken Broth. The canederli is filled with goat cheese and we like the dish for how unaffected it is.

Next up is the Four Cheese Risotto, which doesn’t charm us much, and we wish we had gone for the one with the porcini mushrooms. The Tagliatelle with Lobster, however, is the star of the evening with the smoked cherry tomatoes, Kalamata olives and fresh herbed pesto. Even our otherwise seafood wary friend cannot complain.

For dessert, we order the Selection Vetro Signature desserts, which comprise tiramisu, panna cota (the gelatine used here does not contain animal products), chocolate pave and fig ice cream. We devour everything except the chocolate pave with much zeal. But we would recommend the Gorgonzola cheesecake, which comes looking rather fetching with the chocolate dusted on the plate and the cinnamon ice cream and red wine poached pear sitting on top.

Vetro’s new menu works because it is not trying to grab interest by employing multiple cooking techniques and spicing it all up. The minimalism in flavour and approach is refreshing. The confidence of making the ingredients speak for themselves is consistent in all dishes.

(SMD was at Vetro by invitation)

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