Sunday, 13 November 2016

Taste of Puglia - Straight from the heart @ Bene, Sheraton Grand Bangalore

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It's been a while since I've written about the food at Sheraton Grand Bangalore and is my first time I'm writing about the food at Chef Giuseppe's table. At the helm of Bene - the signature Italian restaurant; Chef Giuseppe hailing from Puglia is hosting a food festival showcasing the cuisine from his region placed in Southern parts of Italy. The food from here is rustic and earthy and Chef with his team at Bene left no stone unturned. Read on to know how the evening transpired.

As we took to our seats, our table was set up with breads baked in-house with the focaccia being a favorite. The texture of this bread was brilliant with a crispy outer shell and the airy centre. The flavor of extra virgin olive oil was evident and was a perfect accompaniment to every course of the meal. Hard to imagine an Italian meal without breads.

Olives were imported from Italy and were stuffed with either capers or almonds. The wine for the evening was from the Grover's produce. I generally love red wine and hence stuck to the Grover Shiraz. Must say, "I'm quite turning into a fan of their wine produce off late." The wine paired wonderfully with the food and before this could be concluded the olives paired with the wine did really enhance the wine experience.

Moving on, soon arrived the 'Bruschetta Pugliese' (missing picture) which was assembled to offer the sweetness of the cherry tomatoes, saltiness from the sun-dried tomato, pepper notes from the young arugula. This married brilliantly with the extra virgin olive oil and shaved parmesan drizzle; all topped on perfectly toasted Puglia bread. There was also 'Panzerotti Pugliese' fried mini folded pizzas stuffed with burrito cheese, tomato and basil. These were mini parcels of good ness reiterating the saying, "Good things come in small packages."

'Caprese Alla Barese' can easily make a comforting and satiating meal. The flavors and textures of the ingredients of this cold salad were a treat to the palate. This dish comprised of Bocconcini mozzarella, fresh basil pesto and sundries tomato tossed with extra virgin olive oil, fresh oregano and drizzle of Modena balsamic Vinegar. Most Italian restaurants offer this salad and so does Bene at Sheraton on its regular menu. But this preparation was an excellent representation of the region Chef hails from and by far the best I've had.

Each course that arrives had higher expectations to beat and the next one at task was 'Ciambotto' a seafood soup which includes the catch of the day cooked in bisque and fish stock and served with the Focaccia dipped in it. The flavors were earthy; sorry oceanic, the texture rich and I was a happy foodie again realising why I've loved Bene through these years.

'Orecchiette Alla Ragu' is a home made pasta originating from the Puglia region. This comes tossed in 48 hours slow cooked lamb ragout and pecorino cheese. I loved the bite that this pasta provided, the ragout it was tossed in and the slow cooked lamb was succulent and packed with flavor as a result. I swept this clean with no guilt what so ever.

The main course was plated with - (1) 'Branzino in Costa Di Palate' - a Chilean sea bass fish topped with potato crust placed on a bed of cherry tomato asparagus and garden salad. (2) 'Zucchine Al Tonno' - Zucchini stuffed with tuna capers and garlic. Both had a brilliant flavor profile but for me; of the two the Chilean sea bass stole the show for its simplicity in preparation, the perfect balance in cooking the fish and the accompanying salad and the cherry tomatoes clearly elevated the experience of eating this fish.

Next course was the final one and was the dessert. 'Biscotti di Mandorla' made and appearance. This was a warm South Italian short bread tart stuffed with home made nutella and came topped with again a homemade Mascarpone cheese ice cream'. While the table was filled with discussions during each course for their sheer excellence; during this it was a silent heavenly abode. No words were needed for the silence as everyone clean swept their plates spoke it all. I'm no dessert fan and I left no trace of this dessert on my plate.

So if you've been following me on my social media channels you'd have seen the buzz around this dinner already which has been pleasing dinners since 4th November. While this comes to an end as I write these lines, let me tell you this is clearly a reminder that Bene stands out as my go to restaurant in the city for excellent Italian food and hospitality and also a restaurant I will time and again recommend you to hit for a fantastic experience. 

The best way to experience it all is to go in for a 6 course experiential dining that was offered on the menu for Rs 2000 + taxes and charges. Absolutely worth the price and for those who wanted to go the a la carte way, a special menu was on offer with lots to choose from for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. 

While this festival may have run through the duration planned for, this review only clearly hints that Sheraton will only work again towards going beyond the expectations this food festival has already set. So while I look forward to more meals here, do watch this space for upcoming food promotions and festivals.

Quick Tip:
When you are at Bene and you happen to catch Chef Giuseppe, let yourself in his hands and he will walk you through an experience you will remember for a long time to come.

Address: Bene, Sheraton Grand Bangalore at Brigade Gateway, 26/1, Dr. Rajkumar Road, Malleshwaram - Rajajinagar, Bangalore - 560055
Phone Number: +91 80 4252 1000