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The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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If you often dream about Italian food, then do wake up to Il Sogno (57 Chowringhee Road, next to Haldiram’s) where expat chef Davide Cananzi (left) is actually living his dream of flying solo after putting in several years at the Hyatt Regency, Afraa, Aqua, The Park and Hotel Hindusthan International.

The interiors of Il Sogno

The idea is simple: presenting the heart of an Italian home, which is the kitchen. But Cananzi lends his kitchen some zany touches to take line-cooking to a new level. And this comes through in the Trufle-scented Mushroom Cappuccino with Shitake Carpaccio (any foodie’s dream, vegetarian or not) and the peppery mushroom soup with the musty meaty aroma of shitake and porcini mushroom, covered with a moulded parmesan cheese slice. Break the crispy slice into the bowl, and then bite into the cheese or let the fried slice soak in the soup before you savour the squishy “mushroomy” cheese. Simply delicious!

Oven-cooked Half-Roasted Chicken

The pizzas, part of the all-day menu, are hand-rolled by him. “I’m a hands-on guy. I like flitting from the kitchen to the bar to the dining area. I have a pizza guy but I don’t want to stress him out too much!” said the chef. The result? Light, flaky thin-crust pizza. Try the Roast Chicken Pizza with chunky bits of jalapeno.

Basil-scented Watermelon Shooter with Feta Cheese Salad. Pictures: Rashbehari Das

The risotto selection is extensive. If you can’t make up your mind try a “duet” of risottos porcini and asparagi, comprising portions of creamy asparagi and mushroom risotto with just the right amount of bite. Like your hand-crafted pasta? Don’t miss the Baby Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli Cilantro Pesto and Gorgonzola Crostini. While the ricotta and spinach may be a common pairing, it’s the creamy sauce that makes this a must-have.

The main course packs seafood, chicken and all kinds of meats. But the Oven-cooked Half-roasted Chicken served with a helping of crushed potatoes, tempered with rye and curry leaves is a winner. The chicken is juicy and tender. Cananzi’s secret: “It’s marinated in lemon juice with rosemary and crushed garlic for nearly two days. And then I cook it in its skin which preserves the juices.”

Even if you’re ready to burst, we recommend keeping room for dessert. The Tiramisu, a favourite even at non-Italian restaurants, is perfect because it’s not that sweet. Dusted with a generous helping of cocoa, it’s perfectly moist. The Chocolate Fondant with its soft centre of vanilla ice-cream also brings a sweet ending to a delicious meal.

Meal for two? Rs 1,000 (plus taxes).


Malini Banerjee