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Est @ HIlton; Venetian Chef's Pan Italian Journey

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Italy is known for the passion of local cuisine. Try getting Percorino Romano in Florence. On a good day, you might get a nasty look, on a bad day, you might be asked to go to Rome to get your cheese. So when an Italian chef from Venice turns the coffee shop of Hilton Chennai into a mini fine dine spot for the week, I was curious to see if we were going to get some stuff from Venice. Actually, except for dessert (and the chef), nothing else was Venetian! I read the menu again, and clearly, this was an Italian food festival happening, so, all good!











White table cloth hosting food on white plates is a photographer's dream and first impressions from all the dishes went to the eyes. Plating was exquisite and more than half the satiety started right before digging in. Every single dish was a visual delight.

The fun, though didn't stop after digging in. The bruschetta, simple as it looked, burst rich flavours in the mouth as it caressed the palate on the way down. The mushroom topped one was the richest of the lot, though the bell pepper weren't far behind. The caprese salad with burrata aided brilliantly by pesto and vinaigrette was a replication of Italian simplicity. A skewer with breaded chicken that was juicy completed the line up of the antipasti.

The advantage with a chef's table is the variety of dishes to taste, and the chef's choice to serve us contrasting dishes was well received. This course, with risotto and pasta was as contrasting as it can get. A scampi risotto, loaded with the meat of scampi inside, though the large scampi as a garnish can make you think otherwise. The mild scent of lime played with the rich flavours of the risotto to send out a beautifully mild dish, in total contrast to the pasta with wild mushroom sauce that had no business with mildness. Packed with flavours and sauce, the pasta, an oreccheitti, that almost looks like a mushroom, played a fantastic fiddle to the first course.

The main course, is where things went slightly downhill. Neither the sea bass, nor the devilled chicken ticked any boxes. The stuffed tomatoes dish with honey and mint was the saving grace.

Things picked up again at dessert. A saffron pannacotta was a first for me. As a habit, I shook the plate to see if it did the jiggly wiggly. It did. And the smooth pannacotta loaded with flavour of one of my favourite spices, was a fitting finish to the meal. The chef's take on the Tiramisu wasn't bad either, but the dessert day belonged to the pannacotta.

The festival is on till the 20th of March at Est, Hilton (Kathipara Junction) and is available for both lunch and dinner. A meal for two will set you back by about Rs. 2500.

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Chennai Foody: Est @ HIlton; Venetian Chef's Pan Italian Journey
Est @ HIlton; Venetian Chef's Pan Italian Journey
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Chennai Foody
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