Check out the all new ‘Italian’ at park Hyatt's Flying Elephant
Three wood fired ovens open their mouths and grin as we walk past. There is a gorgeous fragrance of baking breads scattered with herbs waiting to grab us before we are seated. The cuisine is not just Italian but from the port city of Genoa courtesy of Chef Alessandro David Persico, who is on loan from the Grand Hyatt Mumbai.
“What do I like best?” responds Chef Persico when I ask him about his favourite food. “Ah, pasta, pasta, pasta. Spaghetti Olio. Simple.” He gestures modestly to his rotund girth. He describes how he lives high up on a cliff looking down on the harbour at Genoa. It used to receive the ships laden with produce from different parts of the world, so there is a tradition of rich aromatic ingredients that go into the making of its dishes. Genoa is not just famous for being the birthplace of Christopher Columbus, but also for the soft crusty breads or Focaccia and zesty green Pestos, herbs pounded into submission in bowls of olive oil.
Mushrooms as big as your Fendi
The starters appear like pages from a Renaissance painting. There is velvety red beetroot ravioli with goat cheese, parsley pesto and a swirl of beetroot mousse that we have to scrape off the plate with the Focaccia.
A second dish appears with white rings of fresh horseradish, or wasabi mousse, Tuna tartar sprinkled with orange pearls of salmon roe. Do we mention the large soft Portobello mushroom that looks like a ladies purse designed by Fendi, or talk about the Quinoa salads for the waist conscious with garlic
Soup not for the faint-hearted
The Genoese fish soup brings us down to sea level. Imagine a rasam with every kind of crustacean and fish in their shells, combined with baby octopus, or calamari still struggling to get out of the hot pot. It’s not for the faint hearted.
We mop our brows and console ourselves with the Flying Elephant pizza, which is the best dish of the day, as plain as a novitiate nun, with not even a dash of tomato. Equally calming is the Gorgonzola risotto, the gnocchi and the ravioli.
The desserts are sensational. Two slim fingers of deep fried cheese placed on a bed of red berry compote. Even the Godfather would have cheered.
The Italian at the Flying Elephant is open only for dinner from 7 pm to 11 pm. Rs 1,600 per head. At Park Hyatt Chennai. Details: 71771234