Inside Romano’s, JW Marriott Sahar | All The Deets

By Devika Pathak June 4, 2018
Italian Food At It's Best At Romano's

When you step into Romano’s at the relatively new JW Marriott Sahar, you may feel like you’ve walked into a New York brasserie. The leather sofas, exposed lighting, open kitchen and dark wooden décor create an atmosphere that is perfect for elevated family dinners, important business meetings and romantic date nights. The huge space features two levels, with the upstairs area looking down at the kitchen and seating. There are chalkboards featuring cocktail specials and a wall of wine, my personal favourite décor element.

We visited Romano’s to try out their special Focaccia de Recco menu which brings a taste of the small Ligurian town of Recco, to Mumbai. Chef Roberto Zorzoli, who hails from Milan and has spent over 15 years working across Belgium, Italy and China told us that families from Milan would spend their weekends driving to Recco just to get their hands on this famous focaccia.

Focaccia as we know it, is usually had as a side or starter where you dip beautifully seasoned bread into olive oil. However, this kind of focaccia was unlike anything I had ever seen. Chef Zorzoli and his team has created ten versions of the classic focaccia which were essentially Italian kulchas- if I can be so crude. These focaccias are flat, oven-baked bread, with dough that is similar to pizza dough however each one was both stuffed and topped with a variety of delicious ingredients.

We first tried the Campomorone which featured crescenza cheese, sautéed wild mushrooms and black truffle cream. The focaccia is as large as a medium pizza and was stuffed with delicately sautéed wild mushrooms and baked. I personally found this dish slightly bland, without enough of that truffle flavour we all love. The bread was also similar to a naan and perhaps could have been rolled slightly thicker.

 

The Airole however, packed with that creamy crescenza cheese, cooked ham, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes and egg was something I had never tried before. The quality of the ingredients served was definitely top-notch as the ham was meaty and rich while the combination of the eggs and cheese created a really brilliant, quiche like texture. The dough here was thicker and less burnt which created an almost unique dining experience from the Campomorone. These focaccias are perfect for pizza lovers who don’t mind experimenting with authentically Italian and luxuriously rich flavours and ingredients. The festival ends on June 10thso you better hurry!

While we were ooh-ing and aah-ing over the focaccia, we were served the Del Contadino salad which promised baked red beetroot, grilled green asparagus, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, baby carrots, walnuts and Portobello mushrooms. Unfortunately, everything was so drenched in dressing that we couldn’t really taste much else. The salad also came sans beetroot which I assumed would have been the hero of the salad.

Del Contadino Salad

Del Contadino Salad

We decided to skip the pasta and ordered the Risotto Al Funghi instead, trying to fulfil those truffle dreams that were shattered with the Campomorone. Lucky for us, this might have been one of the best risottos I’ve ever tried. Each grain of rice was distinct, al dente and covered in a combination of wild and porcini mushrooms cooked with truffle oil. Served in a copper pot, I could have eaten the entire serving.

Next, we tried the Pesce Specchio Alla Puttanesca at the chef’s insistence. He promised us that the pan seared orange roughy fillet served with capers, anchovies, green olives, garlic, artichokes and cherry tomatoes was going to be incredible, and he was right. Orange roughy is a white fish but is firm and cooks beautifully. The puttanesca sauce was tangy and garlicky, and paired perfectly with the pan seared fillet. I was apprehensive about the anchovies and capers, expecting too much acidity, but found this dish to be perfectly balanced.

Pesce Specchio Alla Puttanesca

Pesce Specchio Alla Puttanesca

Onto la dolce vita, or dessert, my friend and I decided to order one each so we shared the Tiramisu and the Vulcano di Cioccolato or soft centered chocolate cake with vanilla ice-cream. The tiramisu rivalled some of the best versions I had tried in Rome and Florence and was perfectly creamy with just the right amount of coffee. The chocolate fondant was also delicious with a cake like texture on the outside concealing a volcano of hot, chocolate sauce served with crushed lemon cookies and beautiful vanilla ice-cream.

Vulcano Di Cioccolato

Vulcano Di Cioccolato

By this point, my stomach could have stayed for another round of cake but my brain demanded that we leave immediately. I really loved the décor and ambience at Romano’s and will definitely be coming back with a date in the near future. I also like that the menu is comprehensive without being overwhelming and offers well-known Italian fare alongside classic dishes many of us have never tried. In terms of the focaccia, I think had I tried a few more, I might have been a bigger fan but I highly recommend trying these out to someone who enjoys gourmet pizzas and calzones, you will not be disappointed! The Focaccia di Recco festival ends on June 10th so get there before it’s gone.