Emilia Romagna Festival at Prego, Westin Koregaon Park

02:42:00 Sudipti Singh 0 Comments

Growing up our concept of Italian meant a mandatory Pizza take-out on fridays and birthdays or the occassional white sauce pasta that the mother whipped up on nights she didn't want to cook. It was hence, easy, declaring to your school friends while you filled up the box next to the "Your favorite cuisine" in their slam-books with a "Italian" or a "Chinese". Only when we moved out of home, started fending for ourselves that we realized there was more to Italian than just pasta or to Chinese than Chopseuy. But revelation or no revelation, Italian has really stuck on as a favorite. Something about the simplistic preparation that aims at celebrating the ingredients that go into it. The richness and the freshness. All the red, white and green of it. We are in love. So when we heard that the Italian wing of Westin Pune's restaurants, Prego was hosting a food fest to glorify the cuisine of the famous region Emilia Romagna in Northern Italy, we made a bee line to the sample the same. The seasoned chef Eraldo Colazzo took us on a food trail of his homeland through dishes and tastes that he ensured were authentic as it gets.The chef ensures all the ingredients are top notch right from the parmesan that has been cured for months and the 15 year old balsamic vinegar that lifts up any dish to another level.

The Prego in itself is a very elegant place to dine at. It's popularity shows as there are always tables filled with Italian loving folks. The wide space is interspersed with comfortable seating and a glass facade that overlooks the Westin property. There is a bar as well as a open view to the kitchen beyond where you can spy the chefs busy at work, churning out pasta, pulling out spaghetti into bowls and doing the last minute garnishing.

We were welcomed with a delicious drink of ginger extract and watermelon juice served with a slice of watermelon. It was great palate cleanser and was followed by an Amuse Bouche of beetroot doused in balsamic, herbs and Ricotta cheese. It looked as pretty as it tasted.

We started off with the MOZZARELLA CAROZZA which was a nice chunk of mozzarella cheese crumb fried and served with a side of greens. It had a spicy tomato sauce to go with it. The mozzarella, as expected was stringy and juicy. All the cheese lovers (me included) would love it. It was the richer and elegant-er cousin of the mozzarella cheese sticks.

LUGO, that followed was made up of Polenta in the base that's basically boiled cornmeal which was then crisped up and served with a flavorful pate of tuna on top. The capers garnishing the bite sized polenta made it look so elegant. Alas, I'm not the best advocate for fishes, tuna being my least favorite of the lot, but I could give you this; the reaction around the table was very favorable.

Another one of my favorites of the night was BOLOGNA. It had tortellini filled with savory mix of mushroom and taleggio cheese swimming in a bowl of vegetable bouillon. The broth or bouillon was filled with flavor and was downright delightful.

The hero of the menu was definitely the LUNA. It was a personal favorite of the chefs as well and conceptualized and prepared by Chef Eraldo himself, he confessed he was rather proud of it. And when we ate it we knew why. It was savory pie, much like pizza, but all the goodness was filled into the pastry and then baked in the wood fired ovens till it was golden brown. And what came out was heaven in a slice. The pastry was crispy and yet holding together the filling of parma ham, mascarpone, black truffle, mozzarella mixed in with truffle oil. Could you GET more Italian than this? Definitely, definitely try this guys.

SUZZARA was a dish that I'd love to eat for dinner any day. Mr.TKD is big on mushroom sauce and he can polish off Chicken Stroganoff single-handedly if given a chance. The SUZZARA had a delicious mushroom sauce too, dribbling over a perfectly cooked, juicy chicken fillet. It also had a scoop of impeccable mashed potatoes adequately spiced and smooth as it can get. To balance it all it had fresh, grilled vegetables like broccoli, carrots and zucchini. A great dinner option!

The COPPARO followed which was described as a potato cake. This main had spice and baked squares of potatoes topped with spirals of crispied vegetables like the carrot  and beetroot which made it look beautiful.

What took our breath away was the dessert. An art in itself, it had a slice of apple strudel with a fine dusting of cinnamon and vanilla cream and cinnamon sauce. Everything went so well and was so great I stole the rest of Mr.TKD's dessert as well. The strudel had great crispy pastry and the apple inside was fresh and perfect. The cinnamon made everything good to better.

We would recommend this fest a thumbs up. Do drop by for a taste and do, do, do, oh do try the LUNA. However, if you are really unable to attend the fest, don't lose heart because they are adding the LUNA to the regular menu as well! Yay! You might just bump into us gorging on the luna :D

So the EMILIA ROMAGNA festival ends on 28th of August, Sunday. Be there at Prego, Westin to witness Chef Eraldo's genius and do make sure to pass on a compliment if you loved it :)

Prego - The Westin Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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