Get a taste of Italy at Spaghetti Kitchen, the well-known chain of restaurants, which opened in the city recently

Most party nights during my stay in Mumbai, either began or ended with a good meal at Spaghetti Kitchen or the grungy Bade Miya. So when a friend and I stumble upon Spaghetti Kitchen at Phoenix Mall in Velachery, it brings back a flurry of memories...memories of sizzling brownie, basil pesto fusilli, triple decker chicken ....it’s always about the food! We walk in enthusiastically sizing up the pretty interiors, the kitchen counter and the non-alcoholic bar where the bartender deftly puts together vividly-hued fresh fruit margaritas.

A tangy peach margarita and a complimentary bread basket to begin with, while the appetisers get ready. The crunchy ciabatta bruschettas are definitely addictive. We choose three toppings — fava bean, sun dried tomato and exotic mushrooms doused in garlic. All the pastes are made in-house and have a sharp flavour. Honestly it’s tough to pick a winner. Each one with its distinct taste leaves us confused...so confused that we think it’s the perfect excuse to order another portion of bruschetta. Luckily the pizza arrives in time and we get busy with it. Since it’s a all meat extravaganza pizza, almost every inch of it is covered in meat. There’s Belgian ham, Spanish chorizo, smoked franks and minced lamb with black olives.

Another favourite is the fettuccine with basil pesto. It might appear a tad dry and that’s why even before we dig into it the helpful waiter offers us some grated parmesan but we pretend to be calorie-conscious and refuse. Two minutes later after drizzling it with extra olive oil we ask the waiter to get us some cheese which he does looking amused.

Since we are on the subject of nostalgia, the cassata from the dessert menu, a favourite from our childhood days, seems like the perfect choice. There are thick walls of chocolate surrounding the cake like a fortress.  Layered with strawberry and vanilla ice-cream, liqueur-soaked sponge and a few bits of candied fruits, the staggering three inch high dessert resembles a wedge heel. The Sicilian cassata is frozen and it’s an ordeal to get through it. But once we start plundering, it takes us fifteen minutes to demolish it. A job well done and a meal well enjoyed. We step out contented and the various sales in the mall beckon.

Good food and great deals...it’s the recipe for a perfect afternoon.

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