Restaurant Review: Botticino

Address: Trident, Bandra Kurla Complex
Reservations: Yes
Price: Rs. 8000, meal for 4 minus alcohol

The Italians have a saying that goes ‘Viva il cuoco che ci delizia con leccornie e allegria’. This means ‘bless the cook who serves love and laughter’. I’d like to begin my review by thanking Chef Sushil and Manager Ms. Alisha Rampal of the Italian restaurant Botticino (Trident Hotel, BKC) for serving my family and I one of the finest Italian meals we’ve had in a long time. I cannot seem to remember the last time that I ate such good food, leaving me craving for a whole lot more.

We kicked off my sister’s 21st birthday countdown with this dinner. Quite frankly we entered the restaurant with no expectations because Italian food has now become so redundant all over Mumbai, there’s nothing new left to try. Little did we know we would be proven wrong.

Dinner began with a bottle of Fratelli Sangiovese and freshly baked bread. My mother was supremely happy because the restaurant offers a completely different menu for vegetarians. Her night was made at that very moment :). For my Jain readers, a lot of the dishes on this special menu can also be made as Jain preparations. We chose the Mushroom, porcini and morel cream soup and the Roman style Minestrone.  For mains we had the Parmesan ravioli (celery cream, black truffle, butter and sage), Asparagus and bell pepper risotto (cherry tomato and scamorza cheese), Primaverole pizza and the baked lasagna (with aubergine caponata, mozzarella cheese and parmesan sauce).

Both soups were absolutely authentic. The minestrone is such a simple soup yet tingled every one of my taste buds. The mushroom soup was definitely worth the allergy that broke out by the end of the meal (for those of you who are allergic like I am, just pop in a pill! You don’t want to miss out on this soup). It’s served with a ricotta and truffle tortellini and dried porcini. The server then pours hot morel cream over it. It’s now ready for you to enjoy.

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The pizza unfortunately was a bit of a let down after this. We found it a tad rubbery and it saddens me to say that it was served at room temperature.

The ravioli came next and found it’s way to my heart making me excuse the pizza debacle. After just two bites of the buttery-sage, celery cream, black truffle goodness that was the ravioli, I wasn’t entirely sure that I wanted to share the rest of the dish with my family, but I kind of had to! The next time I’m back at Botticino I will be sure to order one ONLY FOR ME.

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The Arborio rice (risotto) was cooked to absolute perfection. The asparagus, bell peppers and cherry tomatoes blended perfectly with just the right amount of scamorza cheese.

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For me, the hero of the evening was the ravioli (probably because I’m a sucker for truffles), but for the rest of my family it was the lasagna. The caponata was extremely tender with the right balance of cheese and parmesan sauce. Finger licking good!

After this point I didn’t think that I’d be able to go through dessert but, as the Italians say ‘C’è sempre posto per un ultimo boccone’, which means ‘there’s always room for a tasty treat!’ So we ordered a selection of the homemade ice cream – sea salt and burnt sugar, bitter chocolate and stracciatella (similar to your plain Jane chocolate chip ice cream, only much better!) and their signature dish, the Mocha Budino. Alisha explains that this is a coffee flavoured mousse, but the texture is such that it can remind you of a pudding. They serve it with cannelloni filled with ricotta and pistachio and has hints of candied orange, extracted from the orange peel (that is a part of the filling). What do I know, I was just too busy devouring it! We also cut a small  celebratory chocolate mousse cake that was nothing short of DIVINE, that was on the house, courtesy of Botticino being on the American Express fine dining list. Let me also add here that if you are a Cassata fan, Chef Sushil is happy to whip it up for you if you let him know in advance. 

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There are two Italian sayings that I’d like to finish with because they do complete justice to my experience – ‘Cucinare è una forma d’amore‘ which means ‘cooking is love made visible‘ and ‘La buona cucina rende allegri’, ‘laughter is brightest where food is best’, roughly translated. Both these stand true because this was one of the loveliest dinners we’ve eaten together as a family. I for one cant wait to go back to see what Chef Sushil comes up with in the new menu (to be launched soon, or just to see how the ravioli is doing!).

Buon Appetito!

P.S I wish I had carried my camera along for better photographs 😦

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms – Recipe

When you’re a Masters’ student living away from home and have to juggle studying, doing your laundry, cooking, socialising, etc., there are days when you simply cannot be bothered to cook yourself a meal with a million different ingredients. The Lord knows how many times I’ve turned to quinoa or couscous for a quick, healthy meal between classes or before a night out.  This was one of my favourite recipes. I also ate it quite recently whilst on my trip to Greece.

Portobello mushrooms are available easily at Pali market and can also be ordered online at India Mart.

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Ingredients:

4 portobello mushrooms (cleaned)
1/3 cup quinoa
1 cup water
8 cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup diced mixed bell peppers
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 tsp pistachio
Goat’s cheese

Method

1. Bring the water to boil in a pot. Add the quinoa and then turn the heat down to a low flame. Cook until the quinoa has absorbed all the water. Be sure that it does not get too dry. Let it cool.

2. Place the mushrooms in a baking tray, brush them with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and bake in a pre-heated oven (180 degrees) for 10 minutes (180 degrees). Ensure that all the excess water has been drained.

3. In a bowl, combine the quinoa, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. You may also tear up some rocket leaves at this point and add them to the mixture.

4. Divide the mixture equally into each mushroom. Add the cheese and pistachios on top.

All done 🙂

Tip

1. You can serve the mushrooms on a bed of rocket leaves if you wish to better your presentation.
2. You can replace the balsamic vinegar with pesto sauce (I refer to Jamie Oliver’s recipe). This is delicious too!