In a city brimming with restaurants and cafes serving variants of Italian cuisine,few come close to achieving the authentic Italian taste. That is primarily due to the fact that they alter their preparations to suit the Indian palate. But Vetro at The Oberoi,Nariman Point,has stuck stubbornly to its decision not to,making it one of the most popular restaurants in the city.
Vetros chefs come mostly from Hotel Hassler in Rome,where they cook at the fine-dining Italian restaurant,Imago. Here,at the Oberoi,their contracts usually last about two years,after which they are replaced by another chef,who changes the menu to represent his style. The most recent of these changes,the reduction of ingredients in every dish,has been the introduction of Chef Alessandro Stefoni,who just took over at Vetro.
There was too much flavour in one plate, says Chef Stefoni. I usually use about three ingredients in one dish and one sauce. Simplicity and respect for ingredients is key. Take for instance,the roast chicken pie,the Sea bass allacqua pazza or even the Risotto with nduja of tuna. The chicken pie consists only of a rectangle of perfectly tender chicken,a couple of pieces of potato,broad beans and tiny carrots. Topped off with a Peroni beer sauce,it manages to retain the individual flavour of each ingredient on the plate. The risotto comes highly recommended and consists of a relatively spicy block of tuna (spiced with paprika,rosemary and garlic) on a bed of risotto rice. The most interesting dessert is almost certainly the Chocolate olive oil cake,made without butter,but olive oil instead. This adds greatly to the flavour.
Chef Stefonis menu incorporates dishes from various corners of Italy,and consequently represents the diversity of the cuisine within that country.