We were invited to Ottimo for their ongoing Risotto promotion, and last weekend saw a bunch of us there. The restaurant itself never looked better, beautiful décor, open kitchen, ornate serve ware and elegant wine glasses made quite the setting. A wonderful evening started with the chefs actually demonstrating making a couple of pasta varieties, while also explaining the imported rice used, kinds of sauces used and also the history of this Italian rice that actually originated from Egypt and traveled across eras and finally ended up with the various types of risottos across Italy.
The promotional menu is curated by Master Chef Vittorio Greco, and very well executed and presented by Chef Zohair, a sparkling junior Sous Chef at Ottimo. During the demonstration, the first recipe shown was Risotto Con Topinambur Salvia E Parmigiano – a beautiful and simple risotto made with sage butter and Jerusalem artichoke topped generously with parmigiano. The artichokes were diced into thin layers and served to provide a good crunch to the creamy dish. Exec Chef Yogen found some raw artichokes for us to bite into – absolutely plain and had no distinct taste – but did wonders with this risotto. The second live demonstration showed us the Black Ink Risotto with Seafood and Squid Dumpling – curious to see and quite well made.
Our actual meal began with Porcini Mushroom Risotto – a classic Roman dish – light and quite easy to start with. The Double Chicken Risotto with Crusted Spicy Chicken came next for the non-vegetarians, and was amazing. The chicken was rolled up and wrapped in an assortment of flax seeds, sun flower, pumpkin and sesame seeds while also have diced chicken strewn in with the risotto. Earthy, flavorsome and quite a surprising mixture, I must say!
The best was saved for the last – and that was the Saffron Flavored Risotto with Lamb Shanks, styled with marrow crumble and lemon gremolata, deliciously succulent lamb – complimenting the risotto quite well. While I had started the meal with the Jacob Creek’s Chardonnay, I soon went over to the Cabernet Shiraz – that paired beautifully with the lamb. I also sampled some from the vegetarian menu – the Green Asparagus and Sundried Tomato Risotto is just quite something – a really classic combination cooked very well!
The desserts available were Torta Caprese – a dark chocolate with a vanilla encased within; and Banana Gelato. I found the latter absolutely delightful, smooth with a mild fruity taste, quite unlike the banana ice cream I had imagined. The delicate mix of caramel sauce added a sugary sexiness that was just unbeatable. But like most Indians, I believe an Italian meal is probably not complete without a Tiramisu, and the kind chef generously obliged and indulged us. In fact, he even demonstrated their recipe of Tiramisu, which does not contain alcohol – layering coffee-soaked ladyfingers with rich, airy mascarpone cream.
Additional Information on Risotto Fare at Ottimo
The Risotto Fare is on until 19th Feb, and would be available during dinners at Ottimo. The risottos and their renditions here are bound to leave a lasting impression with subtle flavors of this classic Italian staple.