Friday, December 3, 2010

Caffé Pascucci - Un bel posto per il cibo Italiano

That, in Italian, means “A nice place for Italian food”! Talk about Italian Food and the first thing that comes to mind, at least for the average person, is “Pizza’s”! So when my wife dragged me of to Bangalore’s MG Road saying she knew of a place serving decent Italian food, I had resigned myself to another version of the local Pizza Hut menu! You see, while I do like Pizza’s, it’s relationship with my stomach is pretty strained at the best of times! My daughter, however, loves it and so I had to tag along, perforce. Under the circumstances, I  must confess I was pleasantly surprised at what transpired eventually!

The place itself, Caffé Pescucci, is an international Italian coffee brand which has set up many such coffee retail outlets in India, in alliance with Madhura Beverages India Pvt Ltd, the master franchisee for India. When the first outlet was launched a year ago, it promised to have a vast offering of more than 50 choices in hot and cold coffee and also promised many special Italian delicacies for the vegetarian. So, the prognosis, at least, was good! This outlet, being bang on MG Road, right next to the Cauvery Crafts Emporium, parking space is at a premium. While this time I managed somewhere nearby, the only safe place, anywhere nearby, could only be the paid parking on Brigade Road, which is just around the corner.

The place has a modern décor which I suppose is sported by all the franchise outlets. Cute little round coffee tables, surrounded by little backless sofa-stools and a couple of roomier sofas, which the place could do a lot more with, but the available space does not permit, I guess. It seems to have been designed more as a coffee shop rather than a proper dining place.

The menu itself offers quite a selection of vegetarian and non-vegetarian cuisine, covering a variety of Piadine (a thin Italian flatbread, typically prepared in the Romagna region) and Pasta  with a choice of fillings, Italian Sandwiches, salad’s, non-alcoholic beverages and desserts.

For those of you not familiar with Italian cuisine, Pasta is a generic term for foods made from an unleavened dough of wheat or buckwheat flour and water, sometimes with other ingredients such as eggs and vegetable extracts. The word pasta is also used to refer to dishes in which pasta products are a primary ingredient. It is usually served with some variety of sauce.

There are hundreds of different shapes of Pasta like  Spaghetti (thin rods), Macaroni (tubes or cylinders), fusilli (swirls), and lasagne (sheets). Gnocchi and spätzle are sometimes considered pasta and they are both traditional in some parts of Italy.

And guess what? This place does not serve Pizza’s! An Italian restaurant without Pizza’s? It was startling enough for me to make an enquiry with the attendant and we were given to understand that the reason had more to do with the size of the restaurant and the kitchen than anything else. The Indiranagar outlet does in fact serve Pizza’s, a fact endorsed by my wife, who had dined there recently.

The pricing, for the better part was pretty reasonable, though a few, like the Iced Lemon Tea was pretty exorbitant at 90 bucks a tall glass! I would strongly recommend the Crostini Della Casa (an antipasti or starter consisting of assorted sliced farmer’s bread, grilled or toasted & topped with choice of fillings like sun-dried tomatoes, olives, basil, garlic, corn, etc.) and the lasagna (a baked dish of layers of lasagna pasta, with sauce and cheese and meat or vegetables). I cannot comment on the non-vegetarian fare, since everyone stuck to vegetarian, in deference to my own leanings.

They have quite an interesting range of deserts, with the ‘Concorde’ being the preferred choice of most diners. We followed suit and it was sinful to say the least! Wafer thin chocolate slabs covering a round slab of what looked and tasted like delectable chocolate mousse! If anyone is tempted to order one of the other desserts in the tall glasses, I must warn you to be prepared for a major struggle to finish it single handed! Definitely not for those with faint hearts and stomachs!

I enjoyed the food tremendously. It was not only very tasty fare but also sat in my stomach very lightly, despite dining pretty well. The prompt and thoughtful service was the icing on the cake so to speak. All in all, well worth a second and even repeated visits!

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