Sorrento Ristorante in Shangri-La’s Eros Hotel in New Delhi is one my favorite Italian Restaurants in the city. So when I heard that a seasoned Michelin Star Chef Riccardo Sculli is paying a visit to this place, the excitement levels surely escalated a notch up. The agenda for this visit?It is to cook and showcase a glimpse of the culinary heritage of Italy’s Calabria region. Chef Riccardo also happens to be the Head Chef at Italy’s best seafood restaurant, Ristorante Gamberro Rosso, Marina di Gioiosa Jonica.
Barefoot in the Sand- A Curated Menu at Sorrento
A strong believer in the characteristics of the raw materials for his dishes, Chef Riccardo has brought in his expertise with delicious seafood inspired by the flavours of the Ionian coast by the means of a special menu created by him for the Sorrento Ristorante. The menu is being called ‘Barefoot in the Sand’ and rightly so. The significance of Barefoot in the Sand comes from the fact that each dish in this sophisticated menu has minimalistic ingredients that allow the taster to experience the purest flavour profiles of the base ingredients.
With the truest essence of seafood with the magic of cooking straight from the coast of Italy, The ‘Barefoot in the Sand’ menu at Sorrento, Shangri-La’s Eros Hotel in New Delhi was indeed an experience in itself. Although it was live till 28th February 2017, I would definitely be waiting for the chef to visit India again and make us even more familiar with the best seafood from Italy.
We got the pleasure of witness Chef Riccardo’s cooking style and the passion that flowed from his craft was spectacular. We joined Sorrento’s Executive Chef Neeraj Tyagi, and Chef Luigi Ferrero for a master class with the Michelin Star chef.
The first dish prepared by Chef Riccardo -was the Bon Bon di Gambero ( Bon Bon Shrimp, Pumpkin, Burrata, and Anchovy bread). The simplistic yet perfect seafood dish consisting of flattened shrimp meat shaped in the form of sphere bonbons, filled with fresh Burrata cheese and a hint of olive oil (cold pressed olive oil straight from Calabria). Cooked in an oven, this dish was then garnished with exotic Anchovy bread and served on a plate decorated with pumpkin puree. I absolutely loved this rendition of the Bon-Bon (which is originally a sweet dish). Very smooth on the palate, the flavour of the fresh shrimps was the highlight of this which further enhanced by the high-quality burrata. Each bite made me say ‘Mamma Mia’.
Chef Riccardo also prepared a very beautiful Spaghetti with Black Cod and Black Truffle (Spaghetto Con Meriuzzo Nero e Tartufo Nero). Now, this was a unique Al-Dente(Italian for the term, ‘to the tooth’) cooked entirely in a salted stock, along with aromatic black truffle oil and of course some classic Olive oil from Italy. Al Dente is basically a pasta that is not too soft and is rather firm in texture, which again ensures our taste buds to absorb the true wonderful flavors of the raw materials, without requiring the chef to add a lot of artificial flavors and seasonings.
Apart from the mentioned two dishes, Chef Riccardo’s Special Menu also had two more dishes;
Carpaccio di Aragosta e Verdure
(Lobster carpaccio with seasonal salad and tomato gele)
Filetto di Branzino Europeo, Servito con crema di cariofi e croccante di patate
(European sea bass fillet served with cream of artichoke and potato chips)
All in all, it was an experience that words can only describe to an extent. As a fan of seafood I have always craved for want the best of it (without having to travel to Calabria), and having paid a visit to Sorrento Ristorante where I got to try out Chef Riccardo’s ‘Barefoot in the Sand’ Menu, I must say it was an authentic and beautifully raw flavour experience.