The Renaissance’s latest dining venture – its name most likely inspired by an Australian chain that sells Italian produce, rather than by the Scottish alt-rock band – seems to be a vigorous attempt to pump money into a melting economy. Take for example, this Italian restaurant’s version of insalata caprese with roasted cherry tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella and rocket. Nothing too fancy, you’d think. Except that it slices Rs 1,100 off your card.
The best way to tackle this, we thought, was to call for dishes that were most likely to justify their price, get the complimentary wine, olive oil and bread tasting, and pick the best table we could.
It turned out well, and being exacting got us great service. The waiter who took us through the tasting almost adopted us. Another asked us if the meal was going fine, with the casual ease of a friend who might slide in next to us on our sofa if we’d said yes enthusiastically enough.
Our tomato bruschetta (Rs 350) was pleasant enough, balanced in taste and texture, and reasonable. When we didn’t find our perfect pizza on the menu, the chef hopped over from the open kitchen and helped us combine two, using top-notch porcini and prosciutto (Rs 845), steering us away from other combinations that were likelier to fail. The dish that arrived would have improved with more time in the more wood-fired ovens and more tomato on the base. Also every other slice was ham-less. Surely, more shavings wouldn’t have taken any off their profits.
Our langoustine had no such half measures. The Norwegian lobster with a muscular, incredibly edible tail arrived on a bed of spiced lentils along with prawns (Rs 2,245) so fresh we wondered if they were harvesting them in Powai lake, which was sitting in thick darkness beyond Fratelli’s reflective glass front.
Fratelli’s ideal diner, it appears, is the convention crowd that fills the hotel’s rooms, and Powai’s power players. A few of these specimens seemed warmed and wined enough to discuss reviving the economy in the midst of good service and acres of marbled corridors. Roshni Bajaj Sanghvi
Renaissance Hotel, 2/3 B L&T Gate, Powai (6692-7540). Daily 7pm-12.30am.Meal for two with wine Rs 7,500. Sun brunch noon-4pm, adults Rs 1,800 per head, kids Rs 800. Plus taxes. AmEx, MC, V.
Photography Nishad Joshi
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