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Restaurant review: toscano: Refreshing Italian flavours descend upon Chennai
The newest addition to Chennai’s melting pot of culinary cultures is Toscano, a restaurant that has created a name for itself for its authentic Italian fare in Bengaluru for the past decade. Stepping outside of the tech city, the restaurant-lounge has now brought a slice of Italy to our city.
Located on the bustling Khader Nawaz Khan Road, the restaurant’s bright and luxe interiors and huge glass windows are highly inviting. With its walls adorned with framed black-and-white pictures of the Roman Colosseum and few other vignettes, it bears a very European look, at the same time keeps it quirky and modern with drawings out of chalk on a black board.
Open for lunch and dinner, the restaurant’s menu is largely similar to what it offers at its Bengaluru outlets — antipasto (Italian appetisers), salads, pizzas, pastas, meat and seafood entrées and desserts. We begin the meal with the bruschetta — which comes in fresh tomato and chickpea variants for vegetarians, and in smoked salmon and pesto grilled chicken options in non-vegetarian. Even if you’re a meat-lover, we suggest you give the tomato bruschetta a go. With the freshest of tomatoes chopped and spooned onto a crisp bread with balsamic dressing and rich olive oil. Simply put, this dish is Italian food demonstrated through one bite — simple flavours from minimal, yet the freshest of ingredients. Smoked Norwegian salmon bruschetta coats your palate with a smoky creaminess. Insalata Greca, a salad out of quinoa and pearl barley, with figs and creamy feta cheese, is a great choice, even for the weight watchers. Their silky broccoli soup is warm, smooth and silky as promised, while getting you all the goodness of broccoli. Even if you don’t prefer eating your greens, this soup is sure to win you over.
If you want to get straight to pleasing your taste buds the Italian way, is there a better way than pizza? We loved ours in a no-frills pepperoni style. The handmade thin-crust pizzas give the slices a right balance between crispy and soft. You can also choose between prosciutto or balsamic-coated-figs and parma ham options to up your pizza game. If you love seafood, do give their salmon alla griglia a try, which is a perfectly grilled salmon presented on a bed of vegetable couscous. While the restaurant, which is known in Bengaluru for its extensive wine offerings, awaits its license to serve wines in our city, it has quite a few thirst quenchers to beat the Chennai heat. Basil orange, a drink using orange, basil and mint leaves is particularly refreshing — either at the start of your meal or to sip on it till the end. Don’t forget to relish their tiramisu, a coffee-rich and classic Italian end to your meal. Even on weekdays, the restaurant could get quite packed, so a reservation would save you some waiting time. The service, however, did not seem to be keeping up with the rush. Toscano, in all, delivers a fine dining experience, whether you’re there just for their pizzas, or for a full-course luncheon.
Address: 11, Khader Nawaz Khan Road, Nungambakkam
Contact: 044 66205547
Timing: 12 noon to 3.30 pm, 6.30 pm to 11 pm
Must-haves: Tomato bruschetta, pepperoni pizza, grandma’s freshly whipped mascarpone tiramisu
Star rating (on 5):***1/2