Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Peperoncino: an Italian Affair

Again, rave reviews of the 'authentic' Italian drew me to this restaurant. And I was not disappointed.  We chose to go at around 4.30 pm, a time when most of the restaurants are closed after lunch. I confirmed with the owner that it isn't 'downtime' for this restaurant and we'd be served quality food as served during regular hours. The restaurant runs from 11 am to 11 pm.
The restaurant is at Road No:12, a little beyond a la Liberty, at the bend of the road that leads to Ohri's. About a third of the restaurant is an open area and the cool weather drew me there but then we sat ourselves inside the restaurant. What was good was the spacing between the tables. That day, of course, we had all the space we wanted as we were the only people in the entire restaurant.
We had already looked up the menu on the food review sites and were therefore familiar with it. We ordered for a soup to start with, the Onion soup. There wasn't anything that excited me in the vegetarian section and therefore asked if we could be served the Onion Soup which is supposed to be served with a drop of egg. Just a drop of egg, I thought is ok. But then we were informed that the egg would form a layer on the surface of the soup. This was not acceptable to me, as I don't eat egg, unless invisible in cakes and so on. The suggestion by the steward was that he could have it served without the egg. We okay-ed it but that wasn't a good decision, we discovered, as all we got was a thin hot soup smelling of burnt onion. The first dish was a disappointment and I started wondering if this was one of those restaurants that was hyped beyond expectations. The steward then informs us that that egg actually lends the required taste to the soup and therefore its absence would have made our soup bland..
We moved to our next order of  Bruschetta Mozzarella. AND was this awesome! Crisp, yet soft, the bruschetta was heavenly, tastiest garlic bread with just a hint of garlic, served warm, three pieces to a plate.
Our third order was the pizza which I was so eagerly waiting for. The pizza was, I think, a 12" thin-crust one. Giardino Pizza with vegetable toppings which were six in all, superbly crunchy, yet malleable, and didn't stiffen when cold. The next order was a pasta which we customized by ordering a small portion of pasta, the Farfalle ( bow-tie shaped pasta ), in Alfredo sauce. It had the right creaminess to it and wasn't too creamy or oily. Got a good quantity for a small portion. For dessert, an order of a Tiramisu which lived up to to its well-earned reputation. A 3" inch tall glass filled with a creamy, mousse-like, slight chocolaty tasting substance, served at room temperature.
The end of the meal saw a Hot Moka and a Virgin Mojto. The Virgin Mojito was simply superb hitting all the right taste buds on the tongue: not too tingly, not too sweet and a right end to a great meal.
What was great was that we were the only table occupied from 4.30 pm to 5.30 pm and got a first-class service. Another plus was that the steward and the waiter had perched themselves at a respectable distance from our table, quick to attention, but never hovering irritatingly. It was a delight to interact with the steward and waiter who were so well-informed of the menu details,  learn about the subtleties of different dishes and then place the order. It was also good to hear them pronounce these Italian names so correctly. Never before in my life did I have such an unhurried meal which allowed me to enjoy the experience to the core.
Ok, now for the minuses: slightly over-priced. The bill for the two of us was Rs. 1050+ Service Charge@ 5% was Rs. 52.40; VAT@ 5% was Rs. 52.24; Service Tax @ 4.944% was Rs. 51.86, totaling Rs. 1202/- in all. (I think I am overcharged with the taxes.)
Something that somehow made me cringe was the extremely soiled and torn notes that were returned as change after our payment. I know of a few restaurants which make it a point to give new notes and coins to its customers. That was definitely a put-off.
For the fact that this meal had a soul and not the usual insipid fare doled out in other restaurants + the service will make me go back to the restaurant. Peperoncino deserves a faithful clientele which helps it sustain its authentic Italian menu.
Food: 4/5
Service: 4/5
Ambience: 3.5/5
VFM: 3.5/5


Anonymous said...

Hey .. U write a lot abt food.. write some poems as usual.. with all these rains in Hyderabad.. will be a good stimulation.. see if you can walk in a good park.. with a pond and birds.. ask the birds what they think of our Hyd (just kidding)!! Happy writing..