Grand Hyatt Mumbai’s signature restaurant Celini is back with a delicious new menu, dotted with signature dishes from the exemplary Chef Gianfranco Tuttolani
Before we get into the authentic Italian experience that Celini is, it’s important to note that elitism greets you at the doors of the Grand Hyatt in Mumbai. A policy prevalent across most luxury hotels, it’s simply unfathomable why a lack of four wheels makes vehicles ineligible for entry even in this day and age.
However, that’s a story for another day. Fortunately the rest of our experience at Celini provided some redemption, thanks in large part to Chef Gianfranco Tuttolani. The chef’s infectious energy and love for food translates well into his newly introduced menu.
Hailing from the provincial capital of Chieti, the Italian Chef has brought his passion and eccentric culinary whimsies to one of Mumbai’s favourite Italian dining spots. Born in a province known for its rich heritage, famous cathedrals and museums, Chef Gianfranco hails from an Alma Mater of repute —G.Marchitelli Culinary College, Villa Santa Maria, Chieti, Italy.
With over two decades of experience, Chef Gianfranco aims to bring the flavours of Abruzzi province to the world through his masterful culinary expertise.
As Chef Gianfranco assumes his latest role as Head Chef of Grand Hyatt Mumbai’s Celini, he states, “It will be exciting to implement my skills and knowledge, and bring to the people of Mumbai, authentic and traditional flavours from my home country-Italy.”
The restaurant is unsurprisingly beautiful, with clean aesthetics and an inviting display of wines welcoming you. The ceiling-to-floor windows exude natural light onto the gold marble, giving the restaurant a glow like none other.
We were fortunate enough to score a dinner by the Yogadakshinamurti, for a ‘dining under the stars’ experience. The installation symbolizes movements within our bodies, the sun and the constellations, thus personifying immeasurable celestial bodies. Which was befitting of the out of the world meal up for indulgence at Celini.
It’s a melange of flavours with the newly curated menu by Chef Gianfranco. His signature delicacies are a treat, right from the appetizers, including the Polenta Millefeuille and Poached Chicken Tonnato. Both of the dishes were easily the highlights of the evening, and a delicious insight into the experienced chef’s extraordinary culinary skills.
Next up were Celini’s all-time favourite wood-fired pizzas and risotto. The Salmon Risotto with the pea pesto was definitely an innovative bite, with the peas serving as a refreshing explosion against a background of creamy sauce and seafood. The Celini pizza, however, seemed to miss the mark. In spite of technical perfection, the flavours seemed a bit muted and hardly impressive enough for what is ultimately an Indian palate.
Celini’s new menu also features various other chef specials, including the Spaghetti Aglio Olio e Peperoncino, Mushroom Ravioli, Caprese and Prosciutto, Ossobuco, Sea Bass Livornese and a lot more, making it an Italian feast to savour.
While the Saltimbocca was a dish we were especially excited for, the wait unfortunately was not worth it. The meat had a rather distinctly unpleasant odour, and the sauce was too tangy to complement the dish, quite often overpowering all the delicate flavours.
The saving grace by a huge margin came in the form of delicious desserts. Both the Tiramisu and the Sicilian Cassata Semifreddo disappeared almost as quickly as they arrived. The latter might have been an indulgent first for us, but the former was hands down the best in its category across most restaurants in Mumbai.
The well informed and courteous staff took us through the fine selection of red and white wines perfect for an Italian menu. Not being too much of a wine person however, we opted for an Old Fashioned and an LIIT instead. Alas, both fell far short of our basic expectations, and proved to be an expensive mistake to boot.
All things aside, if you know your Italian flavours and are looking for a beautiful ambience to complement a passionately made meal, Celini is the place for you. Experience the best of Italian classics, wine tasting evenings, and even pasta making sessions helmed by Chef Gianfranco. If not us, our taste buds could definitely use a safe tour to Italy right about now!