There’s a scene in The Godfather, when Don Corleone’s capo Peter Henchman orders his henchman to take out a traitor and delivers an iconic line: “Leave the gun, take the cannoli.” While we’d also kill for an outstanding Italian pastry in Mumbai, we have to admit that the city’s only getting better at serving Italian. We picked two recently launched ones including Rivea, the French-Italian fine dining restaurant at Taj Santacruz and 1441, a place that celebrates pizza.
Rivea, Taj Santacruz
Rivea is where the culinary borders of France and Italy meet. Think goat cheese, sea food and mushrooms among other ingredients. All this produce is the bounty from the Ligurian Sea on the Italian side and Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur on the side of France.
A short walk away from Mumbai’s domestic airport, the hybrid cuisine is gaining appreciation under the watchful eyes of executive chef Vikas Milhoutra. Milhoutra has been with The Taj group for quarter of a century now, having worked at their global outposts in Maldives, London and Mauritius, and understands international flavours well.
We’d like to steal chef Milhoutra’s recipes for Green Pea Pod Essence (Rs 550), a deeply flavoured soup, served with a piquant tomato relish crostini and the Wild Mushroom Risotto (Rs 850), which is soul-warming and light at once. The restaurant also has an impressive wine list (110 wines, no less) and their resident sommelier recommended Mirapiana Toscana, a white that went brilliantly with the risotto.
For pizza fans, the smoky Cinque Terre (Rs 1050) with pepperoni, bell peppers, onions, olives and cracked pepper sets the bar high for the next time you order a pizza. For desserts, we tried a light Riesling from Chateau St.Michelle’s Columbia Valley series, which enhanced the flavour of coffee in the De-Constructed Tiramisu (Rs 450). Another signature dish at Rivea, the tiramisu was an airy assembly of Espresso jelly, raspberry pate de fruit, Espresso Granita and chocolate brush. We’re definitely going back for round 2, but we’d like to add a disclaimer: no meal at Rivea ends at three courses.
Address: Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport Area, Vile Parle, Mumbai, Maharashtra- 99
Timings: 12.30 pm to 2.45 pm, 7 pm to 11.45 pm
Green door. Bright red interiors. Wood-fired oven. Some pretty good pizzas. That, in a nutshell, is what 1441 — the pizzeria is named after the geographic coordinates of Naples, in Italy — is all about.
Owners Krishna Gupta and Istayak Ansari consulted with California-based Italian chef Renato Viola, who conceptualised the menu. On offer at the Lokhandwala outlet — another branch in town is scheduled to open in a couple of months — are over 40 toppings, including smoked mozzarrela, paneer pesto, avocados, four sauces, numerous cheese options and the pleasure of taking a look at the dough for your pizza being stretched out before it eventually finds its way into the oven.
In a way, you literally supervise the making of your own pizza. The Gourmet Pizza (Rs 695) – vegetarian and non-vegetarian — feature unlimited toppings. According to the folks at 1441, the flour mix is customised for them in Italy. Other stars on the menu include the Dough Balls (Rs 195) that are drizzled with chilli garlic oil, and the ridiculously incredible Nutella Pizza (Rs 295).
Address: 1441 Pizzeria, Shop no.20, Samartha Vaibhav CHS, Oshiwara, Mumbai – 53
Timings: 11 am to 11 pm