A huge fan of their earlier chef, it was with more than mere curiosity that I dropped in at Prego, Westin, Gurgaon after having heard that there was a new chef at the helm. A young and youthful Tuscan, Chef Alessandro Breddo came across as unassuming, reticent, a man of few words. Only later, one realises that his dishes are more loquacious than the man.
On my first visit, I went vegetarian, unusual for a carnivore like me. The Vegetarian Carbonara was colourful, full of goodness that offset the velvety, creamy, calorific sauce. The Mushroom Risotto was exquisite with the captivating aroma of truffle oil, both the pasta and the rice done to a perfect al dente. The next visit saw me trying an intimidating yet alluring Grilled Octopus resting elegantly on a bed of grilled vegetables. The Octopus was soft and tasty, cooked for nearly four hours in an aromatic vegetable broth and then grilled to perfection.
The Sea Food Soup on a subsequent visit was a meal by itself, rich, tomato-based, and loaded with seafood. The Rucola Salad was minimalist personified, crisp leaves, cheery cherry tomatoes, pickled sundried ones and dark olives with just a patina of dressing that played a delightful hide and seek with the palate. The highlight of the meal however, was the Sea Bass. Wrapped in thin slices of salted potatoes and baked in the oven adroitly, the slightly salty starch of the tuber blending ably with the mildly flavoured, soft fish. Accompanied by colourful vegetables, the dish was an eye pleaser too.
The vegetarian Mille Feuille made up of grilled eggplant, mushrooms, tomato and mozzarella was tasty with distinct flavours and textures. The Pizza on the other hand needed more cheese (my familiar gripe).
My most recent visit saw perfectly fried Chicken Croquets stuffed with dark olives and an outstanding Seafood platter, both part of the proposed new menu. The squids especially were fabulous tasting, soft and un-chewy. Not a great fan of squids, usually, I savoured them immensely. Foccacia brushed with fresh pesto made for a tasty bite while waiting for one’s order. A glass of lemon or mint infused, aromatic, refreshing water was all that one needed to draw to an end the several satisfying meals.
The Mocha Chocolate mud pie was as sinful as ever but the innovation was in the chef’s version of the decadent sweet Mille Feuille. Chef Alessandro serves it with the flaky pastry crumbled, the light foam of delicious cream hidden in its midst. He explained that if left prepared, ready to eat, the cream tends to soak the pastry making the ultimate food experience soggy and less than superlative. His method ensured that the flaky, crispy pastry was just that with the fluffy, creamy filling lending a multi-faceted experience. I agree.
It is interesting to note that despite my multiple visits, I had not tasted any red meat. I was actually disinclined to do so seeing the wizardry that Chef Alessandro was capable of displaying in the healthier version of an otherwise rich and wholesome cuisine. The chef’s earlier international stints have honed his skills on healthy cooking without compromising on flavours and taste. With WHO throwing a spanner on meat-lovers’ dreams, pray go to Prego and seek their healthy alternatives, indulge in gluttony minus the pangs of guilt.
Ratings (Out of 5)
Food: 4.5 | Service: 4.0 | Ambience: 4.0 | Overall: 4.0
Category: Specialty Restaurant/ Italian
Address: PREGO, Hotel Westin, 01, MG Road, near IFFCO Chowk, Gurgaon 122002 | Tel: 01244977777
Timings: Restaurant: 12.30-3.00 pm; 07.30-11.00 pm | Meal for two without alcohol: 4000/++;
Disclosure: This review was done after several anonymous visits, with the food paid for entirely by the reviewer.