The Restaurant Week India is always this delightful week in our calendars. We utilise this opportunity to try and experiment with new cuisines and/or fine dining restaurants. Prego has been one of the finest long-standing Italian fine dining spots in the city with so many chefs having constantly improved and added to the authenticity of this restaurant and it’s food. It was only fitting that in this round of RWI we visit this place for our unending deep passion for Italian food! The kitchen here is now headed by the San Lorenzo trained Chef Alessandro Bechini. He has revamped the menu of the restaurant and the RWI menu was an essence of this.
A wine cellar welcomes you into the spacious dining hall adorned by a long shiny chandelier. Neat table settings, plush armchairs and immaculate surroundings, this place resonates sophistication all around. Open from 7 PM – 11.45 PM, Prego is an elegant dinner venue with soft, upbeat music, wine and candlelight. The open pizza oven in this seating area is another eye-catching sight especially for us fascinated by this cuisine. The staff are of course, right up to the level of promptness and courteousness the ‘Taj’ label demands. After being graciously welcomed and seated, we were promptly presented with the menu for RWI and given our plate of freshly baked breads, warm and toasty. The drizzle of fresh olive oil and light and fluffy breads were epic as a start then.
Starting the course of our dinner was Jalapeño Mousse on a cracker, the Amuse-Bouche of the night. The subtle flavour and texture punch was a palate delight and the appropriate fork, an OCD’s delight; perfect cutlery for that course!
The RWI menu was a well curated condensed menu from their regular menu well dispersed across vegetarian and non-vegetarian.
It was a 4-course menu this round. Starting off, the first course were the appetisers:
- Asparagi al Vapore
Such a clean, simple plate of food; a mild lemony flavour cutting through the adequate amount of grainy parmesan and al-dente white asparagus. The crunchy croutons perfectly elevated this simple dish of steamed asparagus.
- Fritto Misto Terra e Mare
This appetiser was just about average. The polenta crusting made it slightly damp and bland. The Balsamic Vinegar was a great dip for this though and needless to say, the shrimp and calamari were plump and fresh.
- Involtini di Pollo con Asparagi, Parmigiano, Melanzane Alla Griglia e salsa allo Zafferano
The descript title became succinct on our palates. Tender roulades of chicken with parmesan and asparagus on a bed of subtle saffron sauce, this creamy appetiser was delizioso!
For the second course, we had a selection of 3 soups, all of which we got to try (cheers for being a group of 3).
- Pappa al Pomodoro
When it’s the Chef’s grandmother’s recipe, you know it’s gotta have heritage all over it. This classic, soulful bowl of soup was the ultimate sophistication. The tomatoes were chunky and with the parmesan all over melting lightly, it was mild and soothing.
- Minestrone Casalingo
This soup was filled with the essence of the many vegetables it carried. There were also chickpeas in it that didn’t really appeal to me, personally. The bits of pesto in it was a real flavour burst. Overall, a rich and heartwarming bowl.
- Stracciatella Alla Romana
Another popular Italian soup, this was another bomb. The egg flavour was so deep and intense and with the very mild herbaceous broth, it was so good. A rustic soup that sang the praise of it’s roots.
Then came the mains which focussed on the ingredients and it’s taste profile more than it’s presentation. Hearty is definitely the spotlight here and of course, it was exactly so.
- Lasagne Verdi
I can still taste the herby, earthy flavours from this lasagne! Unlike the usual ones that are layered with overloads of cheese, this one had pasta sheets (which were coloured and flavoured by spinach!) layered with loads of vegetables. The cheese was adequate and it was perfect in quantity for one person.
- Pollo Saltimbocca con Carote al Burro
Tender chicken wrapped in Prosciutto and doused in a lemony sauce, this was quite salty (as should be with the prosciutto) and the lemon hit was perfect. I felt it getting better as I had more portions of it and again, the quantity was perfect though it did seem less at first glance. The meat was tender and flavour packed.
- Fettucine al Ragú
We ordered this with a lotta trust. As expected, it was yum! Soft ribbons of pasta with minced lamb sauce. It wasn’t too high on seasoning or spice but the flavour was powerful and strong. Comfort food at it’s best!
Again, for desserts we got to try all that was on offer in the RWI menu! We were quite full by then as each of the main course was quite filling and adequate. But we just couldn’t get our hands off of the scrumptious desserts!
- Tiramisù Senza Uovo
Chef Alessandro’s version was eggless and alcohol-free which means that even kids can enjoy this evergreen dessert! It was very fresh and light and the coffee hit came right at the end and elevated the whole flavour. Not the authentic type we’re used to, but a refreshing twisted version of the classic.
- Torta Casalinga alle Pere
The most unique and praiseworthy dish of the day! It was a dense and moist pear and cinnamon cake that had such subtle yet profound flavours that we had to fight for more! It’s warmth was just perfect for the cinnamon to hit us and the slight bits of pear around it gave it all the oomph the homestyle cake needed.
Instead of the vanilla ice cream, we requested a coffee ice cream on the side (for the love of coffee!) and it was silky smooth and intense with the aroma and taste of coffee.
- Delizia al Cioccolato
Gooey, warm, chocolaty; need it be anything else? It was just perfect soul food to end the delicious meal. We paired this with their in-house Raspberry Sorbet – so fresh and light and smooth! The combo was epic; duh. Neither were too sweet and the dessert was just about right for us.
The RWI pricing is a fraction of the regular menu rates so we got all this at Rs. 1100 per person which is quite the steal deal! Prego is now a symbol of rustic Italian food with splashes of luxury that aptly justify it’s fine dining tag. The RWI gave us an insight into this Italian world at the basement of Taj Coromandel and this was enough to woo us back in for another meal. This time we decided to try their Pizza and Risotto.
To start off the meal, we got the Marinated Zucchini with Kalamata Olives as the amuse-bouche. The olives had a strong taste and the zucchini was very tender with the essence of the marinade. For mains, we ordered the Risotto Porcini e Tartufo, a Mushroom Risotto and the Proscuitto e Funghi, a parma ham and mushroom pizza. The live pizza kitchen played a big part in our experience that night. It was purely delightful to watch the Chef create the pizza with so much care and detailing. The ingredients were very fresh and he was kind enough to load our pizza with these! The pizza base was crunchy and the mozzarella and mushroom overload was simply delicious. The parma ham was tender and added a lotta meatiness to the pizza and as meat lovers, it was ideal. The mushroom and truffle risotto was brilliant! The truffle flavour was quite mild and it was the earthy mushrooms that was a BLAST! Loved every morsel of the toothsome risotto. With added parmesan, I loved it all the more.
The best part was that it wasn’t too much of a burn on the pocket. For an authentic Italian fare, Prego should be your destination! We’ve had great experiences at all times and that’s definitely the VFM we expect. Grazie, Chef Alessandro!
WTF METER FOR PREGO:
Ambience – 9/10
Service – 9/10
Quality & Taste – 9/10
Quantity – 10/10
Beverages – 7/10
VFM – 7/10
Overall – 8/10
Reservations – Recommended