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Celini’s has had its ups and downs. In an earlier avatar it was your basic pizza and pasta place whose kitchen was also used for room service for Grand Hyatt guests. This version does not ditch the original pizza-and-pasta formula but the restaurant has a much more up-market look about it. There are three main sections --- a dimly-lit area by the door, a brighter space near the open kitchen, and a well-lit buzzing area at the other end --- each with its own character. The basic difference between the older version and this incarnation, however, is the emphasis on the food. The emphasis on authenticity works. Celini’s is raking in the big bucks. Perhaps, just as Celini’s has changed over the years, the city’s palate has also developed to the extent that authentic flavours now go down better with diners. Though the greeting/phone answering aspect is weak, the wait staff are terrific, eager to please and always on the ball.
Fine dining in Italian cuisine is a competitive field, with each restaurant trying to outdo each other in terms of innovation and authenticity. Some restaurants practices a pure pasta pizza approach but some take it a step further by including recipes from traditional Italian kitchens that have been lost in time. Mumbai is centre of advanced gastronomy in the country and is home to several outstanding fine dining restaurants but when talking about Italian cuisine, there is one name that steals the spotlight every time – ‘Celini’. Situated under the mantle of posh Grand Hyatt Hotel in Santacruz East in Mumbai, the restaurant is sophistication itself. It is a popular dining choice for the upper crust and businessmen in search of a nice quiet background. It is hard to secure a table at Celini anytime so call ahead.
The chef at Celini is really passionate about his craft and takes a lot of pain to give his diners an authentic dining experience. The menu used to be pasta pizza affair but since then has grown into a more upmarket version of its previous style. The focus remains on the authenticity of the food, an idea that is the USP of the restaurant. The place is quite expensive and rightfully so. Pop open a bottle of wine to go with the meal starting with, spicy seafood soup with garlic, marinated smoked salmon, stuffed eggplant caponata, caprese salad, roasted tenderloin tonnato sauce, arugula salad with roasted vegetable, fritto misto rustic with sardines and rustic fresh tomato soup. Reach the next level of perfection with a spread of main course entailing, whole wheat spaghetti with carrettiera sauce, grilled lamb chop, pan seared pork scaloppini and red snapper with caper.
Italians are famous for their delectable desserts and are responsible for delicacies like tiramisu, sorbets, gelato, panna cotta, hazelnut crème brulee and crispy cheese cannoli. Finish the evening with a cup of coffee or keep sipping your wine. Interiors of Celini is designed in such a way that it forms spacious nooks and corners as per your mood of dining. There are three sections – a dimly-lit space by the door, a cheerfully lit area near the open kitchen and a bright lively area at the end of the room. The flavours are authentic and are prepared exceptionally well. Celini is a great place to dine if you don’t mind the expensive pinch.