A slice of Italy @ Vivanta by Taj, Trivandrum

I am not a full time blogger but I do blog once in a while. Last week when I got an invite from the Vivanta by Taj – Trivandrum, a premium luxury hotel in the capital city, for their Italino Food Promo, apart from doing my usual news report, thought would do a blog post also. It’s not often that you get to review an International cuisine while you relish and taste some of the best Italian delicacies in its authentic style and flavour.

The Fifth Element Restaurant at the Vivanta by Taj – Trivandrum was the perfect venue to host the ten day Italian food festival which will conclude on September 04, 2016. Reaching early, I spent some time with James Kumar Kashyap, Assistant Food & Beverages Manger and Jose Thomas, Executive Chef. The fest was being lead by Chef Somy Mathew, who has more than 15 years experience in European cuisine.

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James explained that the Italian food fest was part of their dinner main buffet. They have a yearly calendar for food promo and this month it’s Italian. A similar Italino food promo was held last year also.

Giving insights into how the the Italino food promo was conceptualised, Jose said they decided to focus on three main things – Pasta, Pizza and Risottos. “Without this there can be no Italian cuisine.”

After the chit-chat we went to explore the menu which consists of two starters – one veg and non-veg, Pizza – veg and non-veg, which changes on a daily basis; and homemade Pastas. The full main course has two non-veg dishes, three vegetarian dishes, and veg and non-veg Risotto. The buffet is a full meal. The main attraction in dessert was Tiramisu and Cheese cakes which will be there throughout the festival.

We started off with spicy Mushroom and Mozzarella Arancini and crisp Fritto Misto (fried Shrimps and Calamari) followed by Arleccino pizzettes (veg pizzalets on Alto sham). Italian food goes best with wine and so we opted for white wine.

Next was Minestrone, a must try and it seems Italian food is incomplete without Minestrone. Non-vegetarians can opt for Zuppa Toscana which is Italian sausage and potato soup. From the salad section, it was the Tenderloin Steak with Grilled Apple that I like best.

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For the main course, it’s baked Mozzrella Chicken on plum tomato sauce, Tagliata di Manzo con fungi (grilled steak with mushrooms), Polenta al forno (baked Polenta) and assorted Mushroom Risotto. I really enjoyed the grilled juicy steak and the baked Polenta.

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I also tried out Malafatti (spinach dumplings in tomato sauce) and country style roast potato wedges with Italian herbs and Parmesan. There was also a live Pasta station giving you readymade and also homemade pastas with plenty of add-on toppings and sauces. We went for a chicken ravioli pasta with tomato / arabiatta sauce, cream sauce, basil pesto, bolognaise and carbonara. It was good.

For dessert, I had Key Lime Pie, Cheese Cake and Blanc Mange. I also freaked out on the baked Yoghurt (mishtti dohi), though not part of the Italian cuisine.

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Overall, it was an evening well spent. There were too many things to try out, had just a spoonful of most stuff. The ambience was perfect with some live music. I would definitely recommend the place and the food for anyone who wants to have a taste of authentic Italian food, beyond the usual Pizza and Pasta.

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