Mumbai Food: Karyna Bajaj's new BKC eatery raises a toast to Italy

Dec 08, 2017, 08:28 IST | Krutika Behrawala

An armchair escape to the country replete with hand-rolled pasta and seafood cicchetti with a Venetian bacari vibe awaits you at Karyna Bajaj's latest BKC outfit

"What's your favourite wine?" Karyna Bajaj asks us as we stare at bottles resting on an elegant wine wall by a well-stocked bar. We aren't really oenophiles, we confess. She laughs, "Oh, me neither! It's funny how little we know about wine but like it, nevertheless," instantly putting us at ease. Just the way CinCin does.

Strozzapreti

Opening next to its Asian siblings, Nara and Yauatcha, the Italian restaurant is inspired by the concept of a Venetian bacari where locals enjoy a glass of wine or cocktail over cicchettis (chi-ket-ti; small plates).

Karyna Bajaj. Pics/ Ashish Raje
Karyna Bajaj. Pics/ Ashish Raje

Buongiorno Italy
Over strains of accordion music, we warm up to the stylish but casual vibe, with indoor and outdoor seating. There's a charming wood-fired oven and an open kitchen where staffers will roll out home-made pasta for all to see. We begin our Italian sojourn with a white wine flight (Rs.700), a la craft-beer tasting. The stemless glasses help us shed our inhibitions as we savour distinct notes of South African, Italian and Argentinian wines.

A toast to Italy

On cue, a staffer brings us our first cicchetti - poached prawns (`590) laid on a bed of mashed potato and topped with tomato and marinated onion. The acidic zest of the onion and creaminess of potatoes perfectly marries with the fresh prawns. We wonder if this is what an afternoon on the Amalfi coast would feel like. Another highlight is crispy brie (Rs.490), featuring light-as-air, fried cheese balls with a hint of malty beer, coated with a delish Tuscan truffle honey glaze. We wash it down with to-my-tina (`550), a potent gin and cherry tomato concoction with a fresh basil kick.

Poached prawns
Poached prawns

Meanwhile, frico (Rs.390), an Alpine dish of mushroom, potato and onion baked with aged gouda cheese, warms our soul with its umami flavours. Representing southern Italy is the spicy Calabrian sausage (Rs.390), tossed with charred red onion and olives, which packs a punch with its fiery flavour. The south offers spicier fare than the north, Bajaj shares about her favourite holiday destination, from where she imports parmesan.

Spicy Calabrian sausage
Spicy Calabrian sausage

On a pasta high
Bajaj has also roped in collaborative chef Romina Lugaresi, hailing from Emilia Romagna region, to fine-tune the menu. She's the reason for the authenticity across the sections, especially the pasta that is hand-cut and rolled. We're treated with cappelletti (Rs.590), a dish she learnt from her nonna (grandmother), featuring beautifully crafted, stuffed hat-shaped pasta in slow-cooked pork ragu.

to-my-Tina
to-my-Tina

The highlight is strozzapreti (Rs.520), where hand-twirled pasta bursts with smoked flavours of mozzarella and tomato sauce, topped with threads of crisp, fried eggplant. The menu also offers pizza and mains, but we move to panna cotta (Rs.350) topped with caramelised fig, almond slivers and brittle. It's surprisingly light and not too sweet. "You will not feel heavy. Tonight, you will sleep well," assures Lugaresi in her lilting Italian accent as we exit, promising ourselves an encore for this satiating trip to Italy.

Opens on : December 16, 5 pm to 1 am (till December 31); 12 pm to 1 am (post January 1)
At : Raheja Towers, BKC.
Call : 69956666

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