The pasta fest at Aloft guarantees to wreak havoc with your diet.
Mozzarella, parmesan, gorgonzola...ooh so much cheese! The Italian food festival at Aloft is just not meant for the diet conscious and mind you, even the salads cannot save you! From the appetizers to the desserts, every single dish comes with a generous dose of cheese.
The executive chef, Thirupathi Balaji says that each variety of cheese has a defining flavour.
“For instance, Mascarpone cheese is used mostly in desserts such as Tiramisu as its texture is creamy and thick. But gorgonzola is sharp and salty. So, it is often used as a topping for the slightly bland gnocchi pasta.”
The piping hot mixed vegetable soup in tomato base with macaroni, zucchini and bell peppers, is a virtuous start. The first dose of sin arrives in the form of the garlic flavoured mayonnaise dip. The appetizer, Bruschetta Al Pomodoro, garlic bread with tomatoes, onions and olives, blends like a dream with this rich creamy dip.
Fungi assortiti con spinaci, pan fried mushrooms on a thick bed of spinach, dipped in cheese sauce is next. I happily lick up dollops of cheese that ooze out.
Calamari Fritti, crumb fried squid pieces follow. Coated in flour and deep fried, the rubbery squid pieces tastes heavenly with the mayonnaise dip.
Hot and happening
At the live pasta counter, Balaji’s assistant, Chef Shivanandam serves customers steaming pasta with toppings and sauces of their choice. You can choose from pappardelle, linguine, gnocchi, garganelli, and tortellini pastas. The dumpling-like tortellini pasta, dipped in white sauce and topped with mushroom pieces and olives is the clear winner! Non-vegetarians can opt for the meat of their choice from fish, prawns and chicken pieces.
I go for a second round of pasta and try out gnocchi, stuffed with potatoes, and dipped in red sauce. The blandness of the pasta is well-balanced with the tangy tomato based sauce. Just as I look around for something meaty, the Pollo Rustico arrives. These are baked strips of chicken, wrapped in bread, and cooked in white wine.
Spiked almond fish comes next with its combination of melt-in the mouth basa fish fillet, mashed potato and almonds.
For vegetarians there are zucchini, bell peppers, and spinach. Now, the South Indian in me is craving a fix of rice and as if on cue a bowl of Risotto is set before me. The Italian rice immediately makes its presence felt with the aroma of melted cheese.
Sinful and sweet
As I promise myself a diet of bread and water for the next one month, I sell my soul to the devil once more and help myself to the tiramisu. I surrender to the coffee and cocoa flavoured Italian dessert, topped with a thick layer of cheese. Other desserts on offer are blueberry panna cotta, banana pie with ricotta cheese, gelato, chocolate pudding and chocolate crepes with strawberry coulis. The festival is on at Estia, the Mediterranean restaurant of Aloft till July 21. The a la carte menu is available for lunch and dinner.
For details, call 0422-6656000.