Mezzo Mezzo now strives to leap to new gastronomical heights with a new menu with flavours from Piedmont, Sicily and Tuscany. Introduced by specialty Chef Matteo Arvonio who was born and brought up in Italy. Using his 23 years of experience, Chef Arvonio plans to enthral guests at Mezzo Mezzo with some truly superb Italian fare. The menu was launched on the 29th of September and we were among the first few to taste it.
The elaborate table setting had us wondering what was in store for us. It table looked stunning. Shortly after we were seated we were introduced to Chef Matteo who took us through his journey of food. He shared with us his passion and his experience that he has gathered from all over Italy, and how he was excited to showcase it all to the guests dining at Mezzo Mezzo. He was well aware of how the tastebuds of Indians have evolved from just pastas and pizzas to more authentic Italian dishes. People nowadays are willing to experiment with flavours and ingredients in its simplest form. Chef Matteo explained how Italian food is all about using 3 or 4 ingredients and making the main ingredient the hero of the dish.
Soon our glasses were filled with wine and boards of Crostinis made rounds, filling the room with a whiff of extra virgin olive oil, tomato, mushroom and cheese! Our hearts melted with the mushroom crostini that was topped with Parmesan. One of our favourites was the one topped with Zucchini and goat’s cheese. There was another crostini that reminded us of the classic Caprese; it had tomato, basil and cheese. The best part was that the crostinis were crisp making it irresistible for us to stop at one, these bite sized goodies left us wanting for more. There were toasted bread served with Garlic Chili oil which was yummy as well.
Meanwhile, Duetto di Pesce, the two entrées of a mammoth proportions awaited us. The first was Crispy Sea Scallop, Anchovy, Garlic Bagna Càuda – inspired by Piedmont. The second was Almond Crusted Black Tiger Prawn, Asparagus, Ricotta Macco – inspired by Sicily.
We love seafood and this was an absolute treat, both visually and taste-wise. The Sea Scallop was batter fried and the outer layer was beautifully crispy and crunchy. The scallops were cooked well. I usually prefer scallops when seared, but I did enjoy having this dish. The Bagna Càuda is a well known Piedmontese dip, usually served and kept hot made of Garlic, Anchovies, Olive oil and Butter. It was delish!
The Black Tiger Prawn stood beautiful as it was crusted with Almond slices on a bed of Asparagus and Ricotta Macco. Macco simply means puréed, and it was absolutely creamy and delicious. It was like fuochi d’artificio (read fireworks)
in our mouths with how the seafood flavour was amped up in this dish. It just made our evening.
One vegetarian option on the menu is the Duetto Vegetariano. The Poached Green Asparagus in Pecorino Sauce, Pecorino and Polenta Chips which was inspired by Sicily. The second part of the dish was a tribute to the Southern Italian favourite, an oven baked Zucchini, Eggplant Parmigiana in Parmesan Sauce.
The next course was my favourite pasta, the Ravioli. Agnolotti di Radicchio e Caprino Fresno, Peperoni Arrostiti ed Erbette – Home made Radicchio and fresh Goat’s Cheese Ravioli with Roasted Pepper Coulis and served with aromatic fried herbs. It’s got whiffs of Veneto and Piedmont.
Chef Matteo shared how cooking good food is all about balancing out flavours and he revealed just that with this dish. The bitter Radicchio mixed with salty Goat’s Cheese in perfectly cooked Ravioli served with the mellow and almost sweet roasted pepper coulis was a brilliant combination of flavours. The fried herbs lifted the dish to another level, making it a treat to all senses. We enjoyed this dish and in no time our plates were wiped clean! 🙂
We were then served Merluzzo Nero al Cartoccio Con Pappa al Pomodoro – Black Cod al Cartoccio, Tuscan Stewed Tomato, Swiss Chard. The Pomodoro sauce was so rich and creamy. It was mildly spiced and seasoned yet it was so flavourful. Personally, I didn’t enjoy the texture of the Black Cod but it was cooked perfectly, the Swiss Chard did add texture to the dish. I did try a bit of the Pumpkin Risotto, it was topped with Enoki mushroom and pumpkin seeds. It was a bit too sweet for my liking. I couldn’t taste the pumpkin flavour distinctively.
We were still talking about how we were blown away by the menu and we were served the fourth course, Costolette D’Agnello in Crosta di Pistacchi. New Zealand Lamb Chops in Pistachio Crust, Celeriac, Shallot and Sangiovese. It looked spectacular! The lamb chops were cooked beautifully and the pistachio rendered a lovely texture making every bite scrumptious. The shallot and Sangiovese sauce went really well with the meat and when its teamed with a smooth mash, you know it’s a complete dish! The Celeriac crisp that was garnished also added to the crunch. We both loved the presentation and how each plate looked exactly the same. It was really good dish, a definite must have.
Soon it was time for dessert and Chef Matteo wanted to pay tribute to Gorgonzola with one of his favourite ingredients, Gorgonzola Cheese. We were served Omaggio al Gorgonzola – Gorgonzola and Mascarpone Mousse, Caramelised Figs with a Black Pepper Caramel. It was like the classic Mille Fuille. The figs were delicious and the dessert was not too sweet as he didn’t add any sweetener to the Gorgonzola and Mascarpone mousse. The pungent Gorgonzola flavour dominated the whole dessert a tad too much. The black pepper flavour seemed missing from the caramel though. However the figs redeemed the dish. He also served us a Chocolate dessert called Bonet with Raspberry coulis and fresh cream. It added the much needed sugar rush and sweetness to a perfect evening.
Chef Matteo has an elaborate menu that reflects his cooking experience in Italy. The flavours of every dish is uniquely distinct and boasts of the region it originates from. If you love Italian food, you have got to head to Mezzo Mezzo to explore true flavours of Italy!