“A good fragrance is really a powerful cocktail of memories and emotion.” A wise man once said this and there is ample truth in his words.
Last night’s dinner at Romano’s JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar will remain firmly etched in my memory for ever. I can even close my eyes and recall all that I ate. Such are the memories. And this has a lot to do with the fragrances created painstakingly by Chef Roberto and his team after months of research and hard work.
Aromas, as the promotion was rightly titled, was fragrant from word go. The ten herb and ingredients infused distilled edible fragrances like nutmeg, saffron, oregano, rosemary, coffee, orange, sage, thyme, vanilla, fennel were every diner’s playful kit for the evening. Bottled in delicate glass perfume bottles these were both enticing and inviting.
With the special dishes created by Chef Roberto using fresh ingredients of the best quality and keeping the flavours simple, not letting anything overpower those, one was to merely experiment with these fragrances. “Spray some on your fork as you taste a mouthful of the dish,” Chef Roberto explained with a smile. No, these were not paired with each dish, but one had the freedom to try these as per one’s preferences and tastes.
With the baby burrata and lychee I got adventurous as I sprayed rosemary first and the burrata came alive with a myriad flavours. Of course nothing interfered with its distinct taste. Fennel, coffee, thyme. I was on an experimental spree, enjoying myself thoroughly. Even though no dish was particularly paired with the fragrances, the flavours complemented each other so well. I marveled at Chef’s thought process.
The snow beans and fennel carpaccio was simplicity personified. Once could taste each ingredient clearly and the freshness shone through.
As my meal progressed, I realised how the flavours in each dish were kept subtle so as to experiment unbridled with the fragrances, which were meant to enhance the dining experience. And truly they were doing just that.
There were other exciting options for appetizers on the menu too. Parma ham with robiola cheese, heirloom tomato with buffalo mozzarella.
For mains, I was blown with the flavours and textures of the house-made tagliolini pasta with black garlic, chili and extra virgin olive oil. Simple and unpretentious. The black garlic actually added the zest to the dish. Flawless. And yes, I was not missing my meats at all today.
The Chilean sea bass with mild flavours but a distinct texture on a bed of eggplant was a delight for the taste buds. Here too I tried fragrances like rosemary, sage, and even nutmeg and they all passed in flying colours for my taste buds were tantalized sufficiently.
What can I say about the deconstructed tiramisu? Apart from being a treat for the palate, it was perfectly executed. Avant garde in presentation but absolutely authentic and true to its classic ingredients. The chocolate mousse on meringue, surpassed my expectations as it was an amalgamation of flavours and textures which immediately satisfied your sweet cravings.
Yet, again, as always, Chef Roberto had excelled. His offerings were unique, the execution, flawless.
I walked out of Romano’s with a smile as the whiff of those fragrances lingered on in my memory and always will.
On till June 4 for dinner, do try this if you want to embark upon a once in a lifetime food journey.