Tuesday, 7 January 2020

New Restaurant | A Fine Italian Restaurant by Michelin-starred Chef Adriano Baldassarre

The Capital is abuzz with the spectacular turnaround of The Lodhi Hotel ever since GM Vikramaditya Singh took charge. While he has certainly upped the level of hospitality, the hotel has also been accredited with the Leading Hotels of the World (making it the only hotel in India to be part of this coveted cluster) under his leadership. He recently brought in Michelin-starred Chef Adriano Baldassarre to open Perbacco, a fine Italian restaurant at the hotel.

Having earned his first Michelin star in 2007, this is not Chef Adriano’s first stint in India; he had spent two years in the country while at Vetro, The Oberoi Mumbai. After that, he returned to Italy and in 2016 he opened Tordomatto in the heart of Rome. Although his roots lie in traditional Italian cooking, he prefers to call his cuisine “creative traditional” because, in his words, he cannot claim credit for the truly authentic recipes. Going back to his childhood, chef recalls the first dish that he ever cooked was a breaded veal cutlet. Having keenly observed his mother and grandmother in the kitchen since his early years, he decided on taking up this profession when he was in his late teens.

Perbacco: The vibrant interiors.
Bottom: The food is as fancy as an asparagus burette tart and
as comforting as a mushroom truffle risotto.

The menu that he presents celebrates the finest ingredients, in very clean, uncomplicated dishes and a modern style of plating. While the amuse bouche with three spheres – tomato, olive and panzanella – is not exactly revolutionary any more, the very first course sets the tone for the meal that follows. The burrata and tart with green asparagus makes for quite a spectacular start. Scallops carpione is done to perfection, and served with a zucchini mash. The quality of the scallops required for this quick pickling method needs to be excellent and it is fabulous. Pastas include a pillowy ravioli encasing a classic spinach-ricotta filling and saffron risotto, the traditional risotto alla Milanese, that is oomphed up with duck ragout, taking it to a gourmet level, and the very comforting and delicious mushroom and truffle risotto. Amongst the mains, the roasted Chilean sea bass comes with a deliciously crisp skin and served on a bed of caramelized onions, and the lamb tenderloin is a stellar dish - the kitchen staff executes a ‘medium-well’ beautifully. The jus is just enough to heighten the flavour of the meat instead of drowning it as it is done in many other restaurants.

Clockwise from Top Left: Linguine with lobster; Chilean Sea Bass;
Lamb Chops; Eggplant Parmigiana. 

Although Perbacco comes under the category of fine dining, complete with a wine cellar and an exclusive private dining room, this is not necessarily a tag that Chef Adriano goes after. “Food is either good, or not,” he says simply. So, amidst all the spectacular dishes on the menu, Chef Adriano suggests a humble Eggplant Parmigiana if you want a taste of some comfort food. Also his own favourite, this dish encompasses the ‘holy trinity’ according to him: Taste, Love and Passion. “For it to be perfect it must have consistency of taste and made with oodles of love, showcasing the chef’s passion,” he states. As for our recommendation, this time instead of just one standout dish, we have a list of three: lamb chops done to perfection, linguine with lobster and tortellini stuffed with lamb and the most flavourful jus.

This wonderful meal is rounded off with a hazelnut semi-freddo served with fresh cranberries and a classic tiramisu that is set and served in a jar, along with an edible spoon that is made entirely of chocolate.

For drinks, there's a well-stocked wine cellar by La Cave and the beautifully done Safari Lounge next door does some fantastic classics. While the stunning wildlife photographs by Latika Nath and plush interiors at the Lounge are reminiscent of a luxury wildlife lodge in Africa, the cocktails are on point too. The Safari Martini is the signature drink, which is a martini with the refreshing twist of added mint. And you're guaranteed to get one of the best Negronis in town here.

The Safari Lounge
Do keep time to have a drink in this plush bar.

And last but not the least, we just love the vibe at Perbacco. It is vibrant and the mood is enlivened with lovely Italian music, including Italian renditions of popular English songs like Stand By Me. That, together with the food, transports you to Italy momentarily.

Perbacco, The Lodhi, Lodhi Road, New Delhi-110003.

Ph: 011-43633333

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