Focaccia at Hyatt Regency Chennai reopens for dinner with a whole new menu
Expect a new line-up of woodfired pizzas, pastas and risottos
Pomelo salad straight out of a painting. A whole new line-up of woodfired pizzas. And a global collection of signature wines... If you’re in the mood for some Italian-style fine dining, all roads point to the Hyatt Regency Chennai’s award-winning Focaccia, that after two years of ‘brunch only’ on weekends given the pandemic, is now reopening its doors for dinner. Executive Chef Deva Kumar has for the past couple of weeks been working in close collaboration with Chef Gianfranco Tuttolani (from the Grand Hyatt Mumbai) who hails from the provincial capital of Chieti — to put the final touches on the restaurant’s “fully revamped” menu. Deva reveals the whole process has taken the better part of the last six months.
Over a special degustation menu of what’s in store, we find ourselves sipping on a pretty pink drink. The base is a cooling Jasmine tea with elements like beetroot purée, muddled watermelon and a sprig of mint to garnish. We are smitten and find ourselves ordering seconds, as we make our way through the tasting. Next come shades of beige and orange — with a creamy pumpkin soup poured over caramelised onions and later, the aforementioned salad with pomelo segments on a bed of baby spinach, fennel roots, figs, crumbled gorgonzola cheese and toasted almond flakes for crunch with a heady mustard dip to pair along. Citrus, salty and sweet — all in one perfectly balanced bite.
As we wait for our next course, chef Deva tells us that while most of the menu is brand new, there are some signatures that regulars will be glad to know have been retained. These include the classic Margarita pizza, the Pollo Diavola and the Tiramisu. The latter, we have tasted a few times — and as always it doesn’t disappoint, with just a hint of kahlua to contrast those familiar coffee notes. We also sample the Pollo Diavola (devil’s chicken) — the name is meant to conjure up visuals of meat on fiery coals. This rendition prepared with a red wine sauce brings with it a depth of flavour with a crispy skin and succulent meat within. Although, we would have liked a bowl of that sauce on the side — to pour over.
From the pizza selection, we are served the Truffle Funghi with market mushrooms and truffle essence — which has made it to the main menu, after being one of the favoured choices during the recently concluded pizza festival. Earthy and nuanced, we don’t miss meat for a second with this one. The slices of Chicken Pesto which follow are delicious with toppings like mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and smoked scamorza — but our favourite has clearly been decided. Until... the Risotto ai formaggi e 4 pepi makes an appearance. Often, a risotto is a hearty meal but fails to keep our taste buds engaged after the third spoonful. But this bowl has an unlikely pairing: four cheeses from Italy (scamoza, grana padano, pecorino and mascarpone) marry three peppers from Kerala (pink, white and black) and one from China (schezwan). Indulgence meets heat. And we are hooked... down to the last morsel.
Meal for two INR 3,300 ++. Open for dinner, 7 pm to 11 pm.