Bindu Gopal Rao finds that Ottimo the pan Italian fine dining restaurant at ITC Gardenia, Bengaluru whips up an excellent meal using only the finest local and imported ingredients.
When Simonti Majumdar, public relations manager, ITC Gardenia asked me which was my favourite international cuisine I replied saying it was Italian. And being at a staycation at the beautiful ITC Gardenia, an ode to the garden city of Bengaluru, she immediately suggested I sample a meal at Ottimo. This is the inhouse Italian restaurant at ITC Gardenia and Ottimo translates to ‘excellent’, and the dishes here do complete justice to excellence.
Nuances and more
I am met by chef Chirag Sehgal who helms the restaurant and he explained that he will serve me a meal that focuses on one key ingredient in each course. For someone who is as enthusiastic and creative as him, I know this will be a meal to remember.
The meal starts with a bowl of fresh breads baked in house and is served with a tomato based and a basil-based dip. As I am munching on the delicious breads, my first course, an ode to tomato arrives. Using five variants of tomatoes with aged balsamic and home-made ricotta cheese, this dish is an absolute winner for its clean taste and simple flavours that elevate the dish to another level.
I also try the fresh burrata paired with red and yellow pepper coulis and black ciabatta toast which is another winner for its diverse textures that come together beautifully. I also tried the cauliflower with 64% dark chocolate soup, a dish where a creamy broth is poured over dehydrated and fried cauliflower and chocolate bits and packs a punch with its unique flavours.
And the combination of chocolate and cauliflower is surprisingly very tasty contrary to my initial scepticism. For the main course I tried the pumpkin ravioli with burnt sage butter sauce and pumpkin seeds, a dish that is topped with micro greens and edible flowers and makes for a delightful burst of taste on the palate.
The Blue pea tea risotto with blueberry compote, fresh berries soaked in grape seed oil and robiola cheese is another must try dish here. Chef also serves this with steak for the non-vegetarians. The palate cleanser passion fruit and orange sorbet was light and whetted my appetite for the next course.
I also tried the delectable almond and walnut crusted asparagus with parsnip purée and berry coulis that was light and fresh. I ended my meal with the absolutely delectable hazelnut mousse paired with fresh strawberry and candies hazelnut that was a sweet end to my awesome meal.
The chic interiors of the restaurant have nature as a theme and you can see beautiful terrariums all over especially in the exclusive private dining room that has a micro garden of sorts in glass jars in three sides of the space.
Ottimo has launched a specially compiled new menu recently with an impressive wine and Grappa library. The restaurant has an open kitchen in the centre where you can see the chefs craft their creative plates and also interact with them while they cook.
To help business guests sample a quick meal, the Italian Express is a set menu that includes burrata pomodori biologici e pesto (fresh burrata served with vine tomato and basil pesto), zuppa di funghi e tartufo (silky puree of assorted mushrooms with a hint of truffle oil and cream), and ravioli di zucca con burro, salvia e parmiggiano (a timeless classic from Vicenza,
Other treats include roasted pumpkin and ricotta ravioli in delicate Parmiggiano Reggiano and sage butter), lasagna patate e carciofi con salsa al pomodoro fresco (potato and artichoke lasagne served with fresh tomato coulis and thyme sauce) and pannacotta ai frutti di bosco (vanilla scented set cream with wild berry coulis).
Non vegetarians can sample the fritto misto di calamari e gamberi (deep fried prawns and squids served with spicy tomato sauce), zuppa di funghi e tartufo, ravioli al granchio con la sua salsa (homemade carb and mascarpone ravioli tossed with crab bisque and tomato) or galletto alla diavola con peperoncino all’ erbe Toscane in salsa verde (crispy grilled chicken marinated with fresh red chilli and Italian herbs, served with salsa verde).
Or maybe the costolette dágnello aussi con gin (tender Australian lamb chops, pan fried & served with gin, juniper berry sauce and truffle paired with vanilla mash potato, spinach & sautéed vegetables) and tiramisu 2.0 (the Italian love story of the sultry pleasures of mascarpone and flirty Savoiardi cookies, drenched with espresso).
There are also other set meals called Italian Business and Italian Affair that are more extensive and make for great choices to understand the food ethos at the restaurant. The menu itself is designed interestingly and has symbols to denote that a dish contains nuts, is gluten free, is vegetarian, contains shellfish or contains pork. A meal at Ottimo is sure to take you down an Italian sojourn and comes highly recommended.
Address: 1, Residency Rd, Ashok Nagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560025
Phone: 080 2211 9898