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Casual Italian done right

CinCin promises to take you on a Mediterranean taste trip

Right next to BKC restaurant Nara Thai, is a white and emerald glass house with dome-shaped façade. The city’s newest Italian restaurant, CinCin is promoted by the folks behind Hakkasan, Yauatcha and Nara Thai. Opened last month, CinCin has an outdoor high-seating bar that expands inside as a sleek brass framed body that tempts us with bottles of Campari, tequilla and Martini. We are in Italy all right. A wine wall in the far corner invites you to gaze, pick the server’s brain and exclaim “Cin Cin” (cheers in Italian).

The restaurant a toast to all things Italy, is designed as a Venetian bacari (wine bar) patronised by locals for drinks and small plates called cicchetti – think lightly flavoured seafood of the north and spicier chilli sausages from the south.

The eatery’s vibe is casual, comfortable and inviting, complete with a wood fire oven, boasting a warm blue flame awaiting the first toss of pizza. Next to it, to our delight is a pasta bar. Skilled fingers are rolling the gardenelli — turning hand-rolled strips on a wooden stick to form tubes instantly making us crave for some.

At our table, the server starts us off with a White Wine Flight (₹700). The stemless glasses put us at ease; like drinking wine from our coffee mug at home. “It is important to enjoy the wine, not appreciate it,” owner Karyna Bajaj grins. First up is a Nederberg Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa – crisp and tart compared to the second one which is a sweeter Pinot Grigio. But the one we fall in love with is the pop-inducing Argentinian Crios. The wines are poured by the glass using Coravin, a needle-thin device used to pour wine without uncorking the bottle to retain its quality.

The drinks are a prelude to the food, and we bite into Salmon Carpaccio, home-made ricotta, picante dill sauce (₹490). The Crispy Crumbed Brie with Tuscan truffle honey, cheese crisps (₹490) has a beer batter coating, which we wish was thinner. The combination of truffle and honey is umami at its best with Parmesan crisps adding texture and a salty punch to the dish.

While Sameer Karkare is the executive chef for the restaurant, Bajaj has brought down Chef Romina Lugaresi from Cesena, North East Italy to add authentic finishing touches to the menu. The Pork Ragu Cappelletti (₹590) are ricotta-stuffed small pockets in a marinated pork mince. The Strozzapreti (₹520), is a tomato pasta garnished with crunchy shavings of eggplant and smoked mozzarella. The thick hand-rolled filaments are plaited together and are served al dente.

We savour an Aperol Spritz (₹650) with sparkling wine throughout the meal for its bubbly and fruity taste. When in Italy, do what the Italians would do, so we opt for a Tegroni (₹550) (where the gin is replaced with tequila). Our first stop for dessert is a Panna Cotta with caramelised Figs and Almond Croccante (₹350). This is a secret recipe by Lurageri’s nona. It’s a creamy and thick mound, almost drunken in a dark caramel sauce reduced with figs and garnished with almonds. We’ll come back just for this one. The Classic Tiramisu (₹390) falls short of expectation as we get icicles in the shortbread, which should have been juicier.

Overall, CinCin has the promise of an authentic menu and a jolly good time. Ours ends with a stiff shot of inhouse Limoncello. It’s proof of an Italian job, well done.

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