Chef Alessandro Persico takes centre stage at the Hyatt Regency Chennai; his Risotto con Balsamico will move you to tears
Of course he his gregarious and he complains about the tomatoes in India like most Italian Chefs we’ve met here. Genoan Chef Alessandro Persico fronts Cellini at the Grand Hyatt Mumbai and he’s on a ten-day mission at Focaccia, Hyatt Regency Chennai.
The antipasti (starters) section features the delicately flavoured beet root ravioli with truffle goat cheese and parsley salsa verde and the equally delish Parma ham carpaccia with citrus vinaigrette and cherry buffalo mozzarella.
But it’s his Risotto con Balsamico that will leave you speechless; it almost moved me to tears. It’s usually tough to polish off an entire plate of risotto; it gets either too monotonous or too overwhelming after a point. Not this brilliantly flavoured risotto with a balsamic reduction that is probably Chef Alessandro’s favourite ingredient. We seriously can’t fathom why more Italian chefs don’t play around with this ingredient.
The menu is compact and features some scrumptious pastas (including Alessandro’s personal favourite – the spaghetti with parma ham, braised onion and orange zest) but we wish it din’t make room for a pan seared Bassa.
It’s chocolate overdrive with the menu’s signature dessert – copa caprese with chocolate brownie, ganache, and more chocolate. We think that a sprinkling of sea salt might help keep things in balance. Chef Alessandro nods in approval. The good news is Focaccia will retain some of his signature dishes well after this short promotion and we hope that includes the Risotto con Balsamico. We might need to make Hyatt an ‘offer they can’t refuse’ otherwise!
Chef Alessandro Persico’s Italian fair promotion is on until March 20, 2016. Focaccia is at the Hyatt Regency Chennai (365, Anna Salai / Ph: 044 6100- 1234) and open for lunch and dinner. Meal for 2: Rs 2500