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After a thrilling walk through Ottimo’s striated corridor of light and dark, you emerge into a warm European space. Booths, reminiscent of plush Oriental railroads, and sunny beige tables flank the island kitchen with its treasured Molteni range. At the Grand Chola mother-branch, experience a dichotomy of comfort and awe in Ottimo 2.0, that has never felt more at home. Chef Greco Vittorio’s marries his Tuscan adulation for ‘meat, cheese and starch’ with Australian flair to cleverly progress a cuisine that has become both commonplace and more worryingly, predictable. Ottimo’s refinement is at the fore in all dishes, especially in the umami-rich risotto, cooked with ‘water’ squeezed from local tomatoes; or the baby octopus from the Coromandel coast, grilled and simply bedded on saffron potatoes with a drizzle of charcoal oil. A daring square of dark chocolate in the artichoke soup piqued curiosity but alkalised my palate without any sparks, while a dainty layering of scallop, chorizo, pecorino and black truffle impressed more as text on the menu card, than anywhere else. Ottimo’s brand of food is not flawless, but is undeniably among the most exciting dining experiences you can buy in Chennai.
Now that the city of Chennai has developed its palette, many chefs have become bolder in introducing new untried flavours to the Indian gastronomes, knowing that it will go down well. The city is no longer bereft of unconventional culinary scopes, rather it has started to revel in it. Italian food may be an earthy kind of cuisine with robust down-to-earth sauces and flavourings of pungent garlic and herbs, it still has found a lot of area to modernize. And this new face of Italian food has found a lot of takers. An enthusiastic restauranteur have combined this wonderful cuisine with incredible interiors to bring forth an exquisite place called, ‘Ottimo Cucina Italiana’. The restaurant is part of very lovely ITC Grand Chola in Guindy and is considered to be a top choice for Italian food in the city. If you look past the expensive ramifications of dining here, you will end up having a spectacular time.
The restaurant is an extension of the grand elegance of such a posh hotel. It is designed beautifully by bringing together modern European aspects. Its décor gives a whole new meaning to the fine dining, popularizing itself to the crowd of Chennai. First off, one notices the earthy wooden finish of the room that covers from ceiling to the floor. Everything is elegant and stylish. The area is sprawling, divided by smart chic furniture that offers the diners a formal sit-down meal. Wooden tones are at play here and are brightly lit by fitted sharp lights. A row of framed mirrors only adds to the elevation of space. Families, in-house guests, businessmen and foodies visit the place frequently for lavish Italian meal.
Ottimo Cucina Italiana explores the modern aspect of Italian cooking. The variety is wide and each dish is well detailed so a diner knows what is to come. Besides the conventional pasta-pizza fare, there is a selection of seafood or meat based dishes too. For antipasti they offer, sous vide chicken breast with Italian herbs, warm prawn salad, scallops layered with pecorino romano, vincentina style cod fish, trio of mousse and char grilled octopus salad. Follow the lovely appetizers with the second course of, pizza al pesto, risotto latte, ravioli di coniglio, atlantic salmon with white wine sauce, tomato dumplings with green asparagus coulis, spinach tagliolilni, pappardelle all’anatra, slow cooked lamb shank and ravioli di zucca.