In the first episode at Focaccia, Sandhya Ramachandran observes the ten food crazy burrpers who talk about everything from parking woes to movies over some splendid Italian fare.
YES BANK presents burrp!’s Chef’s Table debuted at Focaccia on Nov 16th, with Chef Chef Massimiliano(Chef Massi) at the helm. The 5-course meal that the restaurant had designed, had enticed the burping crowd to fill the seats in no time!
Cousins Abishek Chandrashekar and Preethi Venkataraman, brothers Nikhil Sebastian and Nirmal Sebastian, colleagues Karthik Murali and Hemanth NS had enthused one another to write reviews and joined us for the Italian fare. Joining them were Prasanta Sandhana, Debayan Mukherjee, Manasa Kumar and Mrudhula Sridharan- all set to bond over what we all love best- food.
Focaccia went out of the way to exclusively set the table in their private dining room with a balcony. We took our beers to the breezy balcony and began the introductions. Hotels, parking woes and traffic in Chennai, as always proved to be the conversational icebreakers.
By the time the signature focaccia bread arrived with the affable Chef Massi, the crowd had already settled into the comfort zone and discussions began to flow free. Chef Massi, with his absolutely wonderful sense of humour added to the enjoyment. With something smart and witty to remark, he flavoured our starters with his joie de vivre.
The antipasto, as the starters are called, had warm carpaccio of prawns for the non-vegetarians. We fell in love with the flavour and taste that the candied lemon added to the dish, that also contained watercress chilli. The vegetarians were bowled over by the crispy aubergine mousse with buffalo cheese tartar, served on a gravy made of sun dried tomatoes and crunchy basil leaves.
We declared the risotto that came next was a rich delicacy, both literally and figuratively, as the vegetarian dish was made of saffron, green peas and hold your breath, real edible gold! The duck ragout risotto with porcini mushrooms that was the other risotto, was an absolute delight to eat.
While exchanging notes over how many sitcoms one is following, how to quickly go back and write more reviews and deciding on the best place to get Gujarati and Bengali food in Chennai, the main course arrived.
Chef Massi kept running back to the kitchen to make sure we get just the best food at the Chef’s Table! His aspirations were more than reached, as the slow cooked loin of lamb, soft truffle polenta taggiasca olives, mint flavour jus was one of the best non-vegetarian dishes we have had. Following that was the seasonal vegetables millefuille, balsamic glaze, crispy artisan cheese that the Chef joked ‘does not have a million layers as its name suggests, but comes close’.
What capped the evening and made all of us asking for second helpings unanimously, was the dessert! The entire table agreed that it was the best tiramisu one can have in the city. With a spongy porous cake dunked in layers and layers of cream and dusted with coffee and powdered chocolate, the tiramisu was simply orgasmic!
The Chef’s Table came to an end with plenty of photographs and promises to meet soon and catch up for more food and fun. On the whole, the pilot episode of the Chef’s Table Season 1 seemed to be a great hit. Now, lets wait for the series to unfold!