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When you think of deeply satisfying food, often a hearty plate of pasta or a greasy pizza slice oozing with cheese comes to mind. Italian food has a way of making you feel incredibly satisfied and it is a carb-centric meal where no one is really calorie counting. Most (good) Italian restaurants are always tucked away in 5-star hotels and pizza or pasta are found in all their many different versions on practically every menu in the city. If you think about it, there are not too many stand-alone Italian joints in Mumbai which is what makes CinCin the latest offering by KA Hospitality such a refreshing change.
Karyna Bajaj and her army of chefs already have three very successful restaurants under their belt - Hakkasan, Yauatcha and the more recent Nara Thai. While they clearly have a strong affinity towards Oriental and South East Asian cuisine, CinCin ( Cheers in Italian ) is very different. Before you step into the restaurant you can help but notice the small but delightful al fresco section where you can dine under fairy lights and among lemon trees in the cooler months. The two-sided bar is inspired by Venetian Bacaris ( Wine Bars in Venice ) where it opens up both inside the restaurant and out should you need to head to the bar in case you are seated outside. The bar is stocked with plenty of interesting concoctions like the Negroni - a Tequila and Aperol twist to the class negroni, Lemonchello Sour or then the CinCin Mary - a bacon-infused vodka with tomato juice and a homemade spice mix, they are very proud of their wine selection and even have special Wine flights or 'casual tasting encounters' as they like to call them where guests can sample wines from around the world.
It is nice to see an Italian restaurant without any red in their colour scheme or decor but instead a light casual blue and white theme that reminds you of the Mediterranean and an open kitchen and big wood fire oven that subtly remind you that it is, after all, an Italian joint.
Food in Italy much like in India differs from region to region and the menu at the restaurant tries to showcase Italian food from various parts of the country. Napoli style wood fire oven pizzas ( Spicy pepperoni, sausage and mozzarella being the best pick ) Artisanal Pasta that is made in house and hand rolled ( the Chittara with fresh crab in a white wine sauce is a delicate winner ). A prominent selection of Cicchetti ( pronounced Chi-ket-ti ) that are small plates often found in Venetian bars. One of the very best from their list of 30 odd Chicchetti is their stunning version of a Baked Brie that is actually bits of brie cheese batter fried, drizzled with honey and served with cheese crisps. It is unlike the usually Baked Brie and the perfect small plate to whet your appetite for more. The Smoked Salmon with homemade Ricotta and a piquant Dill Sauce is another delicious appetizer.
Any Italian restaurant will always feature a Tiramisu and a Panna Cotta on their menu as does Cincin but it would be wise to skip both and opt for their TresLatti. An Italian version of the three milk cake ( Tres Leches ) topped with berries and a deeply satisfying way to end a meal.
Unlike a lot of Italian food, a meal here will not have you feeling heavy or bloated with the excessive use of cream or cheese but will have you eagerly waiting to return so you can raise a toast to some fine Italian fare and say CinCin!
The restaurant launched officially on the 16th December 2017 and is open from 5 pm - 1 am
Post 1st January 2018 it will be operational from 12 pm - 1 am
Better known as the Tiny Taster, Roxanne is an internationally respected blogger and expert on the Mumbai food scene. She has hosted many events, including the Upper Crust Food & Wine Show and travels the world, sharing her knowledge and gaining more experience.