Drama Chef, starring Mauro Ferrari
















The stage was set. The curtains were raised. The hero was there with his tools. A rolling pin, a knife, an expression. No, it wasn't the villain, it was the hero. The audience largely expats. I guess that is expected when the first day first show is with an Italian hero. A big burly hero. A people's hero. You could ask for pasta. Any colour. Any stuffing. Any shape. Any size. Unlimited at about twelve hundred rupees. And you can watch him make it. The FDFS special though was a beautiful set dinner. Long before the pastas arrived, we were treated to some extra special dishes.

Drama Chef at Focaccia, Hyatt Regency is all about Mauro Ferrari. The no nonsense Italian chef who dishes out courses and courses of excellent food is now showing off the theatrics side of him. A crowd favourite, him rolling out pasta sheets, so smooth you could slide on them. And he tells you how to do it, to the minute details of milligrams.  For every 1 kg flour, you need to add.....well, go find out.

Priced at Rs. 2500 all inclusive, the opening night dinner had four appetisers, four pastas, a stunning dessert and the teetotaller version of Espresso Martini. What looked like mini profiteroles actually had mushrooms and truffle oil in them. What looked like Arancini was actually deep fried Bocconcini. What looked like Salmon was actually salmon. :-)

Every pasta we had, had bite. It makes eating pasta outside so very difficult and, as Mauro explained, the bite comes from the slightly tweaked pasta recipe that you make with 1 kg flour and ......sorry, go find out. While the colours changed, the filling changed, the one thing that remained constant was the bite that every pasta had. Is this what is called the perfect al-dente?

The dessert served to us that night is probably the only thing that is not available a-la-carte and was an opening night special. A white chocolate puree stuffed in a merengue on a base of raspberry coulee and a frozen mango puree. Take the frozen mango stick and lick, while using the other hand to bite into the merengue. The dessert was stunning. We finished off with a shaken espresso martini sans alcohol. Chilled.

While the food was brilliant throughout, I love the fact that restaurants in Chennai are moving towards the opening night concept for food festivals. With drama, action, live cooking and special dishes. When theatres and operas can have opening nights, why not food? Mauro lived up to the expectation of being the drama queen and doled out dishes where every course was beautifully curated. If I had to nitpick, the broccoli pasta was a little underwhelming, but I am nitpicking.

On till the 31st of July, the Drama Chef is a great way to experience the best pastas in town, rolled, filled and cooked just right. Just right. Prices a-la-carte start at about Rs. 800, but the unlimited pastas at Rs. 1200 are a steal. A small bite of many pastas, all picked and chosen by you.