Going to a restaurant to review it often becomes a mundane exercise, but recently I experienced a very novel event where we were invited to a blind review of a well known Italian restaurant. What added to the novelty factor was the fact that when you are blind folded, you are limited to the sense of taste and smell to guess the ingredients and therein end up appreciating the finesse that go into the assembling of the dish.
This event took place at the very elegant Maritime by San Lorenzo at Taj Land’s End. I have always maintained it to be one of the very authentic Italian restaurants in the city in my earlier reviews but despite that, I have at times failed to highlight what makes it stand apart from the myriad other Italian restaurants in the city. The blind tasting somehow (and ironically enough) opened my eyes to the fact why it stands out as an authentic Italian place.
Italian food, as is the general misconception in India, is restricted to Pizzas and Pastas; however the fact is, Italy itself has several regions, the cuisines of whose, vary according to their geographic location. Maritime by San Lorenzo tries to highlight this fact and focuses well on the coastal delights of Italy which rely heavily on fresh produce and the flavours of the sea.
For the blind tasting, all of us bloggers were divided in groups and blind folded. We were served a dish in front of us and were asked to guess the ingredients. We were quick to realize that eating with your eyes closed is not only difficult but also heightens your senses to smells and tastes. We were also quick to realize that eating with a fork and knife while you are blind folded is next to impossible, so doing away with the cutlery; we rummaged through our platters with open hands.
Each morsel gave us a new hint to the ingredients and we started chronicling it in a piece of paper given to us. We were told that it was a salad and of course, as it was a salad, we had thought of it to be a very simple one at that. The purity of flavours and the complexity of execution made the task more difficult and despite being able to successfully identify the greens and the dressings, we failed to identify the soft and silky protein which we were later informed to be duck. We were amazed by the finesse with which the duck was prepared leaving absolutely no tell tale aroma of the meat and leaving behind an extremely decadent and flavoursome morsel of the bird.
What followed consisted of a showcase of some of the finest cooking from the Italian kitchen including Spaghetti with spicy Nduja Sausage, a creamy soft Burrata salad with Hyacinth with tasted mildly like fennels and added beautifully to the creamy cheese. The Barley Risotto with Ham and Gremolata Pesto was cheesy, aromatic and full of flavours. The usage of raw red onions in this dish was surprising and complemented the dish quite beautifully. The Lamb loin that followed had a perfectly pink juicy centre and was as rustic as it could get and was in perfect limbo with the rest of the dishes produced earlier.
What I must highlight here is that throughout the meal, the principal ingredient of each dish stood out whether it was the Nduja sausage or the gremolata or the hyacinth and the duck; each one beautifully dominated each dish and added to the other elements on the plate. Each morsel was beautifully crafted and the finesse in each of these dishes shone through. This was one tasting where we truly appreciated the ingredients of the dishes and came to realize that there is so much more beyond Pastas and Pizzas to Italian cooking. We also learnt how much finesse and class can be contributed to a simple dish, hyacinth, the Nduia Sausage and the Gremolata were a shining example. We thank Maritime by San Lorenzo for showcasing this through their very innovative tasting and helping us understand the intricacies of fine Italian cooking. I am now eagerly looking forward to trying out more beautiful dishes from their kitchen over the months to come.
Meal for Two: Rs. 5000 | Credit Cards: Yes | Alcohol: Yes |Timings: 12:30 PM to 2:45 PM, 7 PM to 11:45 PM | Wheel Chair Friendly: Yes
Address: Taj Lands End, Bandstand, Bandstand, Bandra West| Telephone: 022 66681234
Disclaimer: This review was done on an invitation from the restaurant. Due judgement and care has been applied by the author to remain objective and unbiased in the review, but readers need to consider this review keeping this fact in mind.