Do you want to get a sneak peek into something nobody has seen/experienced till date? That is all it takes for my interest to get piqued and antenna to go up .. So, when i got a text asking if i would like to be a part of the 1st group of people who were going to experience the “yet to be opened” Fresca Pizzeria by Sandy, i jumped right in. Yes, this is same Sandesh Reddy who brought in Sandy’s Chocolate Laboratory and Maya to our city… Actually, Fresca is what you will find if you go looking for Maya Restaurant [which is moving to a different location].
A Four Course Neapolitan meal with a price tag of Rs1000/- and let me tell you, it was well worth the money, infact it was a steal. This was part of Chennai Food Guide Diner’s club initiative!!

Trivia on Neopolitan Cuisine [a la Wikipedia]

Neapolitan cuisine has ancient historical roots that date back to the Greco-Roman period, which was enriched over the centuries by the influence of the different cultures that controlled Naples and its kingdoms,
such as that of Aragon and France. The contributions and fantasy of the
Neapolitan people has been extremely important in further developing an
autonomous culinary culture.

Since Naples was the capital of the Kingdom of Naples, its cuisine took much from the culinary traditions of all the Campania region, reaching a balance between dishes based on rural ingredients (pasta, vegetables, cheese) and seafood dishes (fish, crustaceans, mollusks). A vast variety of recipes is influenced by the local aristocratic cuisine, like timballi and the sartù di riso,
pasta or rice dishes with very elaborate preparation, while the dishes
coming from the popular traditions contain poor but nutritionally
healthy ingredients, like pasta e fagioli (pasta with beans) and other pasta dishes with vegetables.

I landed at the venue at 7.45, spotted Shadir on the phone, and went ahead to the basement looking for the others. The place looked pretty much the same as it did when Maya was around, Sandesh mentioned he was getting an artist who would do a mural/art on the ceiling and some of the paintings on the wall would be replaced. We were offered the largest table in the restaurant, that could seat 15.

Dark interiors, Deep red sofas and chairs, White cutlery with Black napkins, a menu sheet rolled up with a pretty ribbon on each place. Not only this, but after every course, the cutlery was replaced, there was someone refilling our water glasses every few seconds.. All this is what you call Attention to detail and it definitely adds to the impression and experience.

The night began with Sandesh giving us a brief on Neopolitan Cuisine, the fresh ingredients he was using, and the process he went through when finalising the menu, the equipments being used and so on. It was quite fascinating listening to him because for many food is just food, well, you order a pizza, dig into it, and once your hunger is satiated, you are done with the meal. Very few relish the ingredients, want to learn about the process of baking, cooking, reduction, and so on. 
Course 1 – Appetizers 
from L to R- Carpaccio, Stewed Figs, Appetite Teaser[ smoked Gorgonzella cheese with Poached Pears]
Ajo Blanco and Bruschetta 
1. Ajo Blanco[ Soup] –
Stewed green grape, gastrique
It was a divine cold soup, that was so rich in flavours, we were all dumb struck.
2. Carpaccio  Non Veg [Salad]
Rocket, Mustard Mango & Parmesan
Well, the guys looked like they had visited heaven and back on tasting this dish
3. Stewed Figs [Salad]
Boccancini, Roasted Zuccini

This was sinful, i love figs, and when  it had been gently stewed and served with zucchini, cheese and greens, it was a delight

Course 2 – Pasta  
 
From L to R- the menu., Spinach Gnocchi, Fromaggio Ravioli, Smoked Chicken Agnoloti and accompaniment herbs
1. The Fromaggio Ravioli
Wine butter, Pickled Vegetables
Oh my, i got no words to describe this dish. It just melted in my mouth, it was orgasmic [yes, stop gasping already, you will understand what i mean when you taste this] and was again so rich in flavours. there were about 3 different kinds of cheese in it, along with Tomatoes and basil. The Ravioli was cooked to perfection, al dente and this dish was a hit, the plates were whizzing from one end of the table to the other, with people polishing it off.
2. Spinach Gnocchi [Made with Spinach, Potato and Semolina]
Butter milk, Gorgonzola
Soft and simple, this gnocchi was nice. It had subtle flavours, and again a bit of cheese in the sauce.
3. Smoked Chicken Agnolotti – Non Veg
Tomato, Basil, Parmesan
Going by the reactions, am guessing this dish was delicious as well.
Course 3 – Pizze
From L to R: Palate Cleanser [Apple & Lime], Pizza:- Pesto & Artichoke , Margharita,Quattro fromaggi  and finally, the trio of Non veg pizza.
What is a Neapolitan Pizza? 
For
starts – it is not your regular pizza. The size of a Neapolitan Pizza
is around 10-12″ ~ about the size of a Frisbee. 1 pizza should fill 1
person. It’s a whole pie only, sit down affair. Usually not for a take
away/home delivery. Eat if fresh, eat it at table for best results. Your
pizza will be soggy as the liquid from the sauce & cheese tend to
create a hot, soppy, molten area at the center of the pizza. It takes
roughly 2-3 minutes to prepare one Neapolitan Pizza. The pizzas are
usually not sliced, will have a charred crust & minimal toppings.
Ideally a balance between crust, sauce & cheese. If an Indian were
to put in layman terms – it would be an Indian bread (maybe Naan/Roti)
with tomato paste, cheese & topping on it! 
Veg – Margharita, Pesto & Artichoke, Quattro fromaggi 
Each of these were lip smackingly good. I personally loved the Pesto & Artichoke , it was oozing with flavour, the crust was thin but not biscuitish, and there was cheese, but nont overpowering.
Non Veg – Grilled Chicken, Pepperoni
These flew like hot cakes. 
There were pizzas being served on our table as if there was going to be dearth for food next day on. That is how amazing these pizzas were. 
The Palate Cleanser was served next, it was a sort of sorbet made with Apple and Lime, and it was a burst of flavour in the mouth. I could taste the apple more than the lime…  And by now, we all knew this meant Dessert was next… ta ta ta daa …
Course 4 – Dessert 
Top: Bocca Negra and Bottom: Tiramisu 
1. Tiramisu
  Nuttela
I’ve eaten Tiramisu in plenty of places but this was groovy, and as we got to the bottom of the glass, the liquer took over, it was quite strong. It also has mascarpone and savoiardi
biscuits and enough tia maria and dark rum mixed with a lavazza
espresso that really kicks in with every bite.
2. Bocca Negra
Vanilla Bean Ice cream 
I ordered this since i thought Bleh, Tiramisu, been there eaten enough.. 🙂 I got a plate with a scoop of Vanilla ice cream, and a cup with what looked like a molten lava cake.. Well, it was hot, it was gooey and it was chocolate, not over the top, but just right. I loved it from the first spoonful.
Bharat, who dint eat eggs got what looked like Blueberry tart, couldnt get a picture, but he enjoyed it.
The evening began around 8 and went on till 11pm, and it was quite a fun evening. Good company, amazing food, interesting insights, and well, awesome service. What more could we ask for right? Between every course, Sandesh gave us a bit of insight into the dishes, the style of cooking, the battles he fought to keep the item on the menu and how each day would boast a different menu [well as he said not all ingredients will be available all the time]
None of the pizzas or pastas had All purpose flour or Maida in them, he was using a different kind of flour.. How cool is that? And yes, he was here offering people the chance to break away from perceptions, and try new ingredients and dishes!
  
P.S: * I did note that most of the lot on the table, though hard core non vegetarians, enjoyed the veg food immensely.
P.P.S: The Pizzaria should be open in a few weeks time! So keep a look out
for the “Now Open” banner when you drive into Khader Nawaz Khan road.
Ambiance – 7/10
Service- 8.10
Food – 9/10
Price – 8/10 [A meal for two will cost about Rs1000- Rs1200/- but remember, it also depends on what and how much you order]
Overall Rating – 8/10
Address:
Fresca Pizzaria
No 32 Platinum Building [Basement],
Khader Nawaz Khan Road
Chennai – 24
It is located in the same building as Benetton, Mehta Jewellery and Cascade.   

Disclaimer:
This was part of a CFG Showcase that I attended and was conducted by Chennai Food Guide.


The
reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also
remember that restaurants and eat outs sometimes change with time, so
does their food and service. So, kindly consider these factors while
visiting the places. Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit  🙂