Sunday, March 4, 2007

i-t.ALIA


The Park, 14/7, MG Road, Bangalore - 560042
Phone : 25594666
Email : tpbl@theparkhotels.com
Website : the parkhotels.com

Food : 3.75/5
Service : 3/5
Ambience : 3/5
Meal for 2 : Rs 3000

There is no sincerer love than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw.


Happy Valentines Day!

We chose to go to i-t.ALIA last month on Valentine's day to celebrate our love for food (amongst other things :)). That this Italian restaurant is based in the IT hub of the country is the reason behind the interesting way it is spelt.
The interiors are done up elegantly. Dark wood on the floors and crisp white linen on the tables creates an atmosphere of subdued sophistication. Dim lighting and candles set the mood for a cosy dinner; the fixed menu specially arranged just for Valentine's day.



The meal had four courses with three to four choices in each course and included a glass of sparkling wine. There was ample choice for vegetarians as well as non-vegetarians. A bread basket with freshly baked goodies, olive oil and vinegar served alongside arrived at the table while we waited for our first course.


Mini pizza hearts

For appetizers, I chose mini pizza hearts. The pizzas were topped with juicy mixed mushrooms, grilled shrimps and chewy mortadella. Delicately spiced, the mortadella was the tastiest topping of the three.
Balaji went for a salad of roast chicken with watermelon, feta and black olives; skeptical about the combination of watermelon with chicken, he nevertheless gave it a try. A unique blend of sweet and meaty tastes, the salad was interesting. The best part of it were the bits of basil that let out a distinctive flavour in the mouth and enhanced the taste of the salad.

Salad of roast chicken with watermelon, feta and black olives

The primo was prawn and fennel risotto with sambuca for me and a four cheese risotto for B. I love the aromatic taste of fennel, so there was no way I could not like the excellent risotto!! The prawn was done just right... not too overcooked, and was fresh.


Prawn and fennel risotto with sambuca

Balaji's risotto was a little too heavy for my taste, what with generous amounts of parmesan, fontino, gorgonzola and mascarpone in it, but is sure a treat for cheesy tastebuds.

Four cheese risotto

This was followed by a rose petal sorbet. This is supposedly a culinary tradition to cleanse the palate between courses.

Rose petal sorbet

Balaji had grilled lamb chops with pistachio crust, sauteed mushrooms and rosemary jus for the secondo. The well done chops were generously seasoned with ground pistachios. Paired with shiitake and button mushrooms, this dish was a delight.

Grilled lamb chops with pistachio crust, sauteed mushrooms and rosemary jus

I opted for olive crusted salmon, couscous and crabmeat sauce. Being the sea'foodie' that I am, I relished the delectable slice of salmon. Salmon, usually quite subtle in flavour was spiked with the crabmeat sauce to make an interseting and delicious combination. The couscous tasted something like our desi upma. It is made of semolina and is cooked in almost the same way!

Olive crusted salmon, couscous and crabmeat sauce

The portion of salmon was quite large and I was nearly full by now but how can I say no to dessert? ;) Succulent strawberries marinated in champagne(reminded me of 'Pretty Woman') seemed to be the perfect way to end a very fulfilling dinner.

Champagne marinated strawberries

Balaji's dessert was nemesis, chocolate and cointreau cup, white chocolate and blueberry mousse. Delicious!

Nemesis, chocolate and cointreau cup, white chocolate and blueberry mousse

Service at i-t.ALIA is spiffy. No complaints on that front. The staff seems knowledgable on the food served and is helpful in suggesting the right choices for you.
i-t.ALIA lives up to its reputation of the best Italian restaurant in town. The right place for a decadent meal well worth the indulgence!!

Did you know.......
..........that the secret behind the perfect risotto are the short-grained classic Italian varieties of rice such as Arborio and Carnaroli? And good news for those who want to try it at home - this rice is now being imported to India.
.........that the constant gentle stirring required while making risotto abrades and removes starch from the rice surface so that it can thicken the cooking liquid to a creamy consistency?
.........that the term 'sherbet' is derived from the Turkish word for sorbet, serbat which in turn comes from Arabic?
...........the word basil comes from the Greek basileus, meaning "king", as it is believed to have grown above the spot where St.Constantine and Helen discovered the Holy Cross?

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