Just Italy @ Sphyre, The Gateway Hotel by Taj

The Gateway Hotel by Taj Resorts and Palaces is one of Bangalore’s best kept secrets. Known eponymously for its iconic Karavalli, I was excited to have received an invite for the ongoing Just Italy food festival at Sphyre, their in-house Resto-Bar.

As we sat down in a casual setup, Chef Tushar introduced us to his unique style of Italian cooking- a blend of the best from the North and the South of Italy. With his myriad experience working with Michelin Star restaurants in the Middle East and Europe, he brings with him rich experience of over 10 years in the genre of Italian cuisine. We started with tasting portions from the extensive menu which also includes a special set-course apart from the usual A la Carte favourites.

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We started with a duet of Zupa-the traditional Minestrone and the Lentil Soup. The latter was chef’s unique creation and was served with a twist of Indian flavours sans Garlic. I preferred the Minestrone keeping in mind my addiction to earthy and essential flavours.

The Appetisers comprised of the brilliantly plated Fried Calamari and the popular Arancini. The former was stacked up like a tower and was served with fresh Basil leaves to add to the presentation. I was not aware that Arancini included left-over Risotto along with mozzarella. The tartare dip paired well with this deep-fried delicacy.

It was time for the popular Penne a la Norma to make its appearance followed by the Tortellini Chicken in Tomato Sauce. Chef narrated the mythical story behind the shape of the pasta cut to that of a naval and the chicken stuffing was just perfect.

It was the turn of the Pizzas- Madam Margarita made her appearance followed by the unveiling of the Spinach and Egg. The latter is a white base pizza sans any Tomato Sauce with Spinach and Sunny Side-ups as toppings. I was happy to select slices consisting of the Egg White as Yolk is totally not my forte. Its taste was ethereal and is by far one of the best I ever tasted.

No Italian meal is complete without the Risotto and ours was no exception. We had the Risotto with Pumpkin which was the first vegetarian Risotto ever tasted by me. I must say I did not miss meat much as the slightly sweet notes of the pumpkin complimented the moistness of the Risotto well.

I get super-excited whenever Salmon makes an appearance in any form whatsoever. It was the turn of the Smoked Salmon with Orange Sauce- undoubtedly one of my personal favourites. I almost had a couple of portions of the same before moving on to Chef’s Special dish of the day-Gnocchi with Blue Cheese stuffing. It is definitely an acquired taste and is not meant for the weak-hearted. I am a huge fan of Dana Blue and hence the gnocchi takes the crown for the best dish of the evening. The Taglianta de Manzo- Beef Steak with balsamic reduction served medium-rare was the ultimate guilty pleasure. I was ecstatic and impressed by its citrus notes with hints of Black Pepper.

Last but not the least, there is always room for Dessert. And more so, when it is Tiramisu and the Ricotta Cheese Cake. The latter was a first time for me and its unique taste took my breath away. I paired my entire course with Fratelli Chardonnay which blended perfectly with its myriad flavours.

This unique food festival is on till the 18th November and is available for lunch and dinner with an option of special set-courses for the same.

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