These new Italian kitchens in Chennai deliver rustic, home-style classics to your doorstep
Expect hand-rolled pasta, soul-filling lasagne and decadent tiramisu
We love a rustic, hearty Italian meal. And now, you don‘t have to scroll through pages of pizza and Continental fare, to find that one ravioli platter you’ve been craving all week. From hand-rolled pasta to homemade tiramisu, here are three new kitchens in Chennai that will home deliver your Italian feast to you.
This lasagna is to die for. And that is not an exaggeration. We recommend the meaty chicken bolognese with extra bacon, béchamel, topped off with mozzarella and fresh basil. Flo’s short for the name of its founder Florentina Cecilia Raphael opened shop in October. The clinical psychology student tells us that her bar for lasagna has always been high, given that her father picked up the recipe from a local of the Italian town of Carpi, 20 years ago. “We would usually make it at home on special occasions but during the lockdown, I realized, we didn‘t need to wait for one,” the 22-year-old shares. With support from her family, Florentina began taking orders and sourcing farm-fresh produce like basil from Farm to Table and pepper from the foothills of Kodaikanal. Her vegetarian pasta variant (with paneer, corn and olives) is just as good, although we did miss the sauciness if that bolognese, and we‘re told to expect seafood and vegan options in the pipeline.
Price: Veg and non-veg boxes of 720 grams at INR 429 and INR 449; 1.2 kg at INR 729 and INR 749.
The Pasta People
If you were intrigued by Chef Evan Funke’s documentary, Shape of Pasta, in search of shapes the world has forgotten, this cloud kitchen should definitely be on your list. The Pasta People by Chef’s M&N consultancy firm specializes in hand-rolled pasta (with double durum and polenta) and has as many as nine different options to choose from, with more on the way. The overly-commercialized penne, we discover, upon a quick browse of the menu, has not made their list.
Instead, chef Vijaykumar Manikandan dishes up Mushroom and mascarpone ravioli alongside a sinful white wine and butter sauce, Agli olio fettuccine with olives and cherry tomatoes for pops of sweetness and Gnocchi Frito (herb grilled prawns). The mushroom turns out to be our favourite with its subtle and delicate flavour notes, while we find the prawns a touch dry. Later, we try the Spicy chicken olive triangilinis in an arrabbiata sauce. The filling is generous and delicious but a teeny bit on the desi side. If you love your arrabbiata sauce like we do, opt for the Spinach and ricotta tortellinis and thank us later. We have to make a special mention of the sustainable but hip cardboard packaging, where the lids double up as plates to serve your food on.
Price: INR 225 to INR 500.
The Tiramisu Party
You might have tasted tiramisu whipped up by a five-star chef. But Tanitha Pereira’s homemade version is wholesome, sweet and hard to stop at one (box that is). This popular Chennai model who is half Italian, has recently been spotted flaunting chic fashion sensibilities while simultaneously advocating for mental health on a digital reality show for fashion influencers. In fact, her venture The Tiramisu Party which started in June, she tells us, was inspired by a moment of self-reflection during a therapy session. “I was feeling low and found myself cooking to deal with the lockdown. But I could never gather the courage to charge people for what I was making,” she says. These days, her family recipe with layers of coffee-soaked ladyfingers and mascarpone cream get about 500 orders a month. But long before the numbers were up on her own tiramisu boxes, Tanitha recalls, “I would see trays and trays of it being made by my mum every time we had people over. And this is what inspired the name. Let’s just say I’m not used to seeing a little portion of tiramisu it‘s always enough for a party!”
Price: INR 500 for a 750 ml box.