Friday, 13 May 2016

Restaurant Review | Sorrento, Shangri-La's - Eros Hotel, New Delhi

The recently launched Italian restaurant at Shangri-La’s - Eros Hotel, New Delhi is named after a beautiful coastal town in the southwest region of Italy – Sorrento. Located at the lobby level of the hotel, you can start your evening with the Cicchetti menu at the bar, Grappa, or move straight into the restaurant. I love that unlike many specialty restaurants in five-star hotels, Sorrento has a relaxed vibe and is buzzing with happy diners on the Monday evening that I visit. Going by this I am sure weekends are busier, and reserving a table before you go may be a good idea. There is wonderful al fresco seating, overlooking a lush garden, in case the weather permits to sit out.

The interiors offer a relaxed ambience in trattoria style seating,
bar as well as an al fresco setting at the Patio. 

We start with the Cicchetti menu - a selection of fine Italian cheese served with hot gnocco fritto and homemade compote. A platter with pecorino, provolone, asiago and Parmesan with fresh figs and grapes and compotes of strawberry and apricot, and some crackers and gnocco fritto (Rs 875) makes for a great start. The tasting plate of three cured meats (Rs 1175) includes prosciutto di Parma, mortadella and coppa, and comes with the hot gnocco fritto, strawberry compote and limoncello infused melon. (The quality of the cured meats is fabulous and we’re informed that the restaurant will soon have a deli counter from where you can buy cold cuts, cheeses and artisanal pastas and breads.) This is paired with Piccini Chianti Riserva 201 - we are certainly in for a long evening! And in true trattoria style, the service is warm and friendly – no stiff snobbery here.

This is followed with a tasting plate of bruschetta (Rs 775) featuring two types - tomato, basil and rocket, and figs, mint, culatello and aged balsamic. A word here about the tomatoes: organic cherry tomatoes have been cooked enough to retain their shape yet release their succulent juices, I immediately decide to try this simple trick at home! Sorrento offers a range of interactive dishes that are assembled or finished at your table, of which the Mozzarella on Wheels is a perfect example. A fabulous caprese salad is made on a trolley at your table using organic cherry tomatoes, hand-crafted buffalo mozzarella, Napoletano basil and extra virgin olive oil.

CICCHETI
Top: Tasting platters of cured meats and cheese.
Bottom L-R: Mozzarella on Wheels; Bruschetta.

While everything has been great so far now comes the spectacular part of my meal. Salami Piccante Neapolitan Pizza looks a little bland for my liking, but after a good sprinkling of chilli flakes and oregano, it is amongst the best pizzas I have had. The base is hand-kneaded, and no rolling pins are used to flatten it out – this is the way it is done traditionally we are told. Topped with the house-made San Marzano tomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella and salami piccante, the pizza has the perfect bite without being wafer crisp, and the puffed up side crust is light and so tasty that I leave not a crumb on my plate. The signature Black Cod (Rs 2195) is wrapped in lardo (block of pork fat) flown in from Sorrento. The lardo melts beautifully, leaving just a very flavourful fish with a delicious crust sitting on a sauce of roasted mushrooms and pistachios, sprinkled with crunchy bits of bacon. The highly recommended Lamb Chops (Rs 1995) are grilled and served with goat cheese, black olive pate, pear glaze and spiced beetroot. While the meat is cooked perfectly, is delicious and goes well with the pear glaze, the pistachio crumb doesn’t offer much crunch. The plating as you can see below is beautiful though. I know that we skipped a very important part of the menu – the artisanal pastas – but I'm sure I’m coming back to Sorrento, so will try that soon.

MAINS
Top:
Black Cod
Bottom L-R: Salami Piccante Pizza; Lamb Chops.

The choice of desserts is fairly extensive, as is the rest of the menu, and includes a range of sorbets, gelatos and plated desserts. We try the Salted Caramel Gelato (Rs 295), Mount Vesuvius (Rs 695) and Tiramisu (Rs 675). The gelato is good and doesn’t need much explanation; Mount Vesuvius is hazelnut chocolate cremeaux, almond biscuits, cocoa soil and raspberry sauce. It is presented dramatically with the raspberry sauce poured in the centre, creating a ‘volcanic eruption’ on your plate. Chocolate lovers will definitely like this one. And although I am a fan of the classic tiramisu, I really like the version that is served here as well. The crisp biscuits (like brandy snaps) are moistened with coffee and amaretto, mascarpone cream and coffee jelly and the finest layer of coffee soaked sponge - fantastic flavour and textures. We finish off our meal in true Italian style, with a round of Limoncello.

DESSERTS
Top:
Mount Vesuvius
Bottom L-R: Tiramisu; Salted Caramel Gelato.

Here is a fantastic Italian restaurant in the heart of Delhi. It is quite expensive, but if you’re willing to spend such money on any meal, you will be happy to pay it here.

Details
Sorrento, Shangri - La’s - Eros Hotel, New Delhi, 19 Ashoka Road, Connaught Place, New Delhi 110001.
Timings Lunch 12.30pm - 2.45pm; Dinner 7.30pm – midnight. 
Tel 011 41191032. 

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