A taste of Italy at the Delizioso food festival on at Estia, the Mediterranean Restaurant

The Formato di zucchini arrives in style. Layers and layers of grilled green and yellow zucchini swimming in a pool of creams and sauces, topped with grated cheese. A sprig of rosemary lends an artistic finish. I sprinkle chilli flakes on the baked zucchini soufflé, and enjoy the crisp result, enhanced by the accompanying focaccia bread. A delicious mix of sweet and sour flavours transport me to Italy.

“We layer zucchini with tomato sauce, cheese sauce, and then pour cheese generously on top before baking it,” explains Thirupathi Balaji, executive chef at Aloft. I choose the rich country salad with Caesar dressing from the salad counter. The lettuce leaves are coated in cheese and mayonnaise, there are sliced baby tomatoes, and black olives thrown in and the salad is topped with cream, crushed pepper, garlic, and olive oil. For the non-vegetarians, the salad comes with chicken slices. Raw beef slices marinated in lemon juice and olive oil, and served with lettuce and parmesan cheese, is another Italian speciality on offer. I bite into the mozzarella and tomato wedges that are topped with pesto sauce. It is aromatic and fresh. Oregano, basil and rosemary, and spices such as cinnamon, pepper, and garlic define Italian cuisine. “They use tomatoes, coloured peppers, zucchini, broccoli, spinach, aubergine, along with cream and plenty of cheese. Though the Italian fare is mild, some of the South Italian dishes are high on spices,” the chef explains. I then try the Crespelle, a crisp pancake stuffed with melt-in-the mouth cheese and spinach.

A live pasta counter dishes out home-made pastas including linguini (noodle-like), pappardelle, and tagliati which are ribbon shaped pastas. There is gnocchi (potato and spinach dumplings), ravioli with cheese and more. Diners can choose from a colourful line-up of sauces, from tomato and cream, and cheese sauce, to spicy tomato, pesto (basil sauce), and meat and beef sauces. They can mix and match the vegetables, seafood, chicken breast, and fish, and create their own pasta too. Spaghetti, penne, and fusilli are served on request. The cheese varieties, creams, risotto rice, and polenta (cornmeal cakes), have come from Mumbai. They use mozzarella (made from buffalo’s milk), blue cheese (gorgonzola) and the Dutch Gouda cheese. But if difficult to source, one could substitute with Cheddar, says the chef. For desserts, the chef recommends Boca Negra, a soft-centred chocolate pudding. My favourite is the Tiramisu that has layers of mascarpone cheese and cream, sandwiched with coffee-flavoured sponge cake (finger biscuit sponge) and I go yummm…. You can also try the Blueberry Pana Cotta, which has double-layered cream folded with sugar and gelatine.

Delizioso is on for lunch and dinner (a la carte) till October 21. Call: 0422-6656000