Tuscany’s newest additions

Tuscany, the Italian fine-dining restaurant at The Trident Hotel, recently launched its new menu. What constitutes a new menu, you might ask? Well, besides adding new dishes on to an already extensive menu, it is a chance for the chefs in the kitchen to explore their creativity, use the fresh winter vegetables available, and by doing so, give patrons something new.
Executive Chef Manik Magotra informs us that based on feedback from patrons, and the change of seasons, inspired them to come up with the dishes that have been added to the menu. Besides using a variety of mushrooms, the good news is that there are now several vegetarian dishes on the menu, which means the herbivores among us, don’t have to stick to a few tried and tested options.
The meal, accompanied as always, with a full bodied red wine, started with the Aubergine stack, batter fried aubergine layered with fresh mozzarella, basil and tomatoes, and saffron cream. The unanimous feedback at the bloggers’ table was that the dish was too bland for the Indian palate.

batter-fried-brinjal-1

But then, the non-veg starter, the Gamberi fritti, a prawn fritter came along. Served with garlic cream and potato chips, this delight of a starter had a myriad flavours tickling my taste buds.

prawn-starter

Choices of soup included a Consommé with chicken mousse tortellini and vegetable julienne; or, the Wild Mushroom Cappuccino – a mushroom soup with a hint of espresso foam and thyme dust. At the Mushroom promotion held earlier, this soup was a winner, and obviously, regular diners at the restaurant too thought so; for Chef Manik to include it into the new menu. Those who chose to have the Consommé vouched for its taste appeal.
The main course too included a mushroom dish – the Wild Mushroom and Goat Cheese Tortellini, with porcini cream, toasted hazelnuts and truffle oil. Delicately flavoured so as not to overpower the taste of the mushrooms, this is for those who love fungi.

mushroom-main

This was followed by the Bacon wrapped Chicken, filled with spinach and ricotta, and served with mashed potatoes, tomatoes and green beans. A little dry on the palate, this dish needed a bit of sauce to give it a boost.

chicken-bacon

The last option, the Beetroot Risotto, served with orange segments, arugula and goat cheese, was the prettiest version of beetroot I have seen. A lovely pink, the risotto was as filling as it was tasty.

beetroot-risotto

Dessert. At Tuscany, you absolutely must leave space for some. Chef Praful is obviously given a free hand to creatively go where few have gone before. Each time, his desserts have us all gushing over their deliciousness; and, the way they are presented. This time was no different. The Lemon Tart, a pretty little concoction served with burnt meringue and raspberry macaroons; and a delicious Homemade Gelati, made with macerated fruits, where the fruits had been churned along with the milk, were apt showstoppers to what was a fine meal.

lemon-tart

No wonder Tuscany is an award winning restaurant that is quite popular with the hotel’s in-house guests and city folk. If its new menu is any indication, Tuscany is going to win some more hearts with its ouvre of delicious Italian fare.

dessert

Tuscany is open only for dinner.

 Tel: 040 66232323

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Mad About Mushrooms

 

mushrooms

There are few ingredients, in my opinion, that can hold their own and stand out, even when mixed with several other, sometimes, even stronger, vegetables/meats/spices. Mushrooms, in all their varieties, fall in this category. Whether tossed into an Asian stir fry, pureed into a creamy soup; or mixed into an Indian curry with other vegetables; these versatile funghi impart their own personality to a dish, while not taking away from the overall taste experience.

Full marks then, to Executive Chef Manek Magotra, of The Trident Hotel, Hitech City, Hyderabad, for envisioning and creating Funghi Fiesta – a food festival centred around the magic of mushrooms. No, he did not use the magic variety which gives you a high; but the ones he did use were – Shiitake, Porcini, Oyster, Morel, Portobello, White Fungus and Button Mushrooms.

These versatile little funghi have always been a favourite of mine, from childhood, when we ate the Morel mushroom in a pulao; and a dried mushroom only available in the North of India, which we called dhingri, in a curry. These are now available for a king’s ransom, at over Rs 40,000 a kg. But, the more common ones thankfully, don’t cost as much, so one can still relish them.

We started the dinner with the appetiser – Chocolate and Crumb Fried Button Mushrooms, served with saffron cream, pepper coulis and Balsamic reduction – which set the mood for the rest of the evening.

starter mushroom

The chocolate coated one was created on the lines of Umami – described by Wikipedia as –  Umami (/uˈmɑːmi/), a savoury taste, is one of the five basic tastes (together with sweet, sour, bitter, and salty). A word from the Japanese –  Umami can be translated as a pleasant savoury taste. Coated with chocolate, with sea salt sprinkled on top, it was unusual. But the Crumb Fried Button Mushroom stole its thunder, if I had to compare them.

The Wild Mushroom Cappuccino, a frothy soup, had an extra edge to it with the espresso foam that had been blended in. I thought I was mistaken when I got the familiar whiff of coffee from the soup, but Chef explained that the espresso gave the soup a twist which has proven to be quite popular with guests. And rightly so, because it did taste different from the usual mushroom soup.

capuccino 1

Then came the Pizza, made with an Oriental crust, topped with seafood, white fungus, galangal and lemongrass.

mushroom pizza

The lemongrass and galangal flavours were extremely subtle, while the white fungus and the salmon dominated the dish. A pizza that was certainly different from those normally served at Tuscany, the Italian fine dining restaurant of The Trident Hotel, where  the festival is being held.

The two dishes that followed, to my mind, were the masterpieces of the festival. Definite must-haves in my book, the pasta was an outstanding Salmon Ravioli with dill cream, shiitake mushrooms and caper jus. The smokiness of the dill with the crunch of the shiitake mushroom were a perfect foil to the salmon filled ravioli. This mix of ingredients, certainly not a commonplace one, had created the piece de resistance of the festival.

ravioli

The Risotto: Given all that Italian cuisine has in its ouvre, a Risotto for me is the last option after the pastas, antipasti and pizzas on offer. In other words, not my first choice at an Italian meal. But here, the Portobello Risotto, made with sundried tomatoes and mascarpone cheese, besides the Portobello mushrooms, was delicious enough that, had I not been so full already, I might even have had a second helping. That is saying something, since I am not a big eater to start with. The flavours delicately underlined that of the mushrooms, and came together in a concoction that was surprisingly light.

A fitting end to the meal was the Chocolate Mud Pie, served with vanilla and truffle oil ice cream. Sinfully creamy on the palate, it more than matched the other dishes served earlier, in terms of taste and presentation.

chocolate mud pie

Note: There are several more options on the menu available as part of this promotion. The dishes mentioned here are the ones I tried.

The Fungi Fiesta Festival is on till the 28th of August at Tuscany, the Italian restaurant at The Trident Hotel. The restaurant is open only for dinner. For reservations, call: 91 40 6623 2323

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