My most recent culinary indulgence was at Italian fine dining restaurant Celini nestled in the lobby level of Grand Hyatt Mumbai, and renowned for its home-style traditional Italian cuisine. The interiors are subtly stylish, with a wood-fired pizza oven, rotisserie and charcoal grill where celebrated Chef Alessandro Persico whips up sumptuous dishes. Is it a wonder then that Bollywood luminary Priyanka Chopra is often spotted here?
To appreciate the breadth and scope of the types and styles of food comprising Celini's menu, I recommend that you go with dining companions and order dishes you can share. When we took a table by the show kitchen and ordered margarita, I was surprised by the number of diners on a weeknight. Most seemed familiar with the chefs which speaks volumes of its popularity! On Chef Alessandro's suggestion, we chose 'marinated smoked salmon with braised lettuce, caviar and lemon chives cream' to begin the round of appetisers. The off-the-hook fresh salmon and caviar — perfect merger for a gourmet treat — released a bouquet of flavours and textures, blended with lemon chives cream. The little bursts of briny flavour from caviar was beyond sumptuous! Up next was the homestyle 'calzone rustico'. Packed with tomatoes, mozzarella, pork sausage and braised lettuce, the oven-baked folded pizza was comfort food at its best. Up next was 'homemade Swisschard ravioli'. The delicate ravioli accented by lemon butter sage sauce, simple enough that it lets the filling shine, was sumptuously creamy and elicited murmurs of 'amore' with each forkful.
Time flew with another margarita served, and much conversation and camaraderie, and soon Chef Alessandro sent out entrees. The 'braised lamb shank with roasted topinambur and truffle mash' was tender and full-flavoured with the truffle mash and the topinambur used instead of potatoes transforming it into a special occasion meal. This was a showpiece entree that was meticulously prepared; the layered flavours and textures demonstrated Chef's mastery of the art. 'Pan seared basa fillet with caponata sauce' was served next. The basa with finger lickin' delicious aubergine-base sauce is a must-have for sea-foodies! The dish delivered everything promised by its elements. Sigh! The last entree was 'warm mushroom potato cake with goat cheese and balsamic reduction’. "Just one bite… that's all it took!" The vegan cake was so fresh and palatable that even the fine cheese couldn't boast bragging rights, capiche?
Stuffed, with no room for dessert, the Chef kindly send out a melon sorbet that he promised would cleanse the palate and aid in digestion. He was so right. Before I end this review, I must state that everything here is 'genuino'; you get the real deal at Celini which is sure to reel me back here time and again! Buon Appetito!!
— JASMEEN DUGAL
Grand Hyatt Mumbai,
Western Express Highway,