In the late 19th century, a large number of Italians moved to America and along came their grandma&rsquos favourite recipes. While America had a complicated tirade with immigration, the cuisine had a different fate, so much so that some people mistake America as the homeland of pizzas.
Regardless of the popular and experimental fate of the cuisine, Sorrento at Shangri-La is all about authentic Italian food. As we sat down for lunch, the icy Aperol Spritz was passed around as someone at the table remarked how it is a favourite drink of Italy. While the ice rattled and a hint of prosecco came alive, a certain old town nostalgia hung in the air, which paired perfectly with the lazy afternoon hours.
The Millet Minute
In their recent pop-up, Sorrento took a creative detour from their usual focus on authentic Italian and introduced millet on the menu. Millet, if you&rsquove been following the news lately, is a hot topic in India. As one of the largest producers of millet, the government has been upending its otherwise reclusive status.
Chef Gagandeep, the head chef at Sorrento, felt it was important to keep up with the times. While millet is not traditionally Italian, it worked really well for the Three Millet Tartare salad serving that acted as an appetizer. Paired with mango, pickled beets, yuzu lemon and Kashmiri saffron, the otherwise neutral taste of millet was alive on the plate.
Apart from salad, another super-grain found a home in the folds of a ravioli pocket. Served under artisanal pasta, the ravioli was stuffed with pearl barley (the Italian equivalent would be Italian barley), artichoke, and a topping of sun-dried pesto coulis.
Heart of the Pizza
Australian-American Chef Wolfgang Puck once said, &ldquoItalian food is all about ingredients, and it&rsquos not fussy, and it&rsquos not fancy.&rdquo As I bit into my pizza, I immediately remembered Chef Puck. However, with its current fast food status, pizza is undergoing the same dilemma as any other pop sensation&mdashpopular, but at what cost
Sorrento&rsquos pizza is admittedly unique. While the ingredients are imported from Italy, including the flour, the Biga technique is also traditional and only used by a handful of outlets in Delhi.
&ldquoWhen we make the dough, there are two stages. First, we mix water and flour and keep it for 48 hours. After this, we add some more water and flour so that the quantity of water reaches almost 80 per cent,&rdquo added Chef Gagandeep.As a result, the pizza is light, and the crust settles in nicely inside the mouth, preventing one from burning the roof of the mouth (which is a pizza hazard, I might add).
What About Vegan Cheese
&ldquoAs people are requesting more and more vegan options, we&rsquove introduced cheese made of coconut milk on our menu,&rdquo Chef Gagandeep responded about the vegan options.
My take If you always wanted to try vegan cheese, but were reluctant, here&rsquos a green flag from my end. While vegan cheese is relatively sturdy compared to other varieties, at Sorrento, there was no vast difference that could take away from a dish.
Chef's Recommendation If you're planning to visit Sorrento, do try their famous Lamb Pappardelle for mains, and the classic Tiramisu for dessert.