An Italian conquers Chennai.













"What's the secret?" I asked the sous chef.

"He doesn't measure anything. He takes a handful and puts them in. Everything. Cheese. Butter. Rice. Herb. Everything is a handful."

"He does have a large hand," I said.

"Yes. He does."

We were talking about Chef Gustav from Ratatouille. Sorry, Chef Allesandro who has flown in from the Mumbai Grand Hyatt. The resemblance is uncanny, so....... If you remember, this chef's food festival last year at Hyatt Regency was one of my best meals of the year. He came, he floored us, he left. Not this time. Now he came, he conquered and he left. Within the grand Flying Elephant, with his own menu and his own seating, he has truly conquered. A small piece of real estate, but he has conquered.

The brand new Italian menu at the Flying Elephant has chef Allesandro written all over it. He may have left, but I hope he has taught the rest enough to keep this menu going. We were then when the man himself was around. Smiling, pranking and of course throwing fistful of stuff into the stoves.

Green pizza. Thin crust, crisp and pesto instead of tomato! Beetroot salad was a treat to both the eyes and the palette. Then there was the gorgonzola balsamic risotto that made my friend cry last time. Nobody cried this time around, but that is because we are used to it. A duck ravioli with nice sauce made its appearance.

But there was one dish that was worthy of tears. If my crying friend was around, he would have cried for this too. The liver pate. I hate offal and am not a big fan of liver though I have had it at times. This particular one was brilliant to say the least. Sandwiched between two fried croutons, a stick sticking out from the pate placed on a bed of caramelised onions, some pomegranate and micro greens, this was a stunner of a dish. Yes, the fried croutons and the caramelised onions were dominant, but they beautifully over shadowed the liver pate, which played a good second fiddle. For me, I was perfectly happy with this arrangement.

Fried cheese cake and a cone inspired from the streets of Hyderabad made up dessert.

While I hope that one day Chef Allesandro moves to Chennai, this is a great first step in that direction!

The new menu is now available at Flying Elephant, Level 1 at Park Hyatt, Velachery.