This is vegetarian season, that is because of the Sabarimala mandalam time. And so there is frantic effort to constrain ourselves to Veggie places in the city. This in itself might throw people off. What looking for a veggie place in Chennai ? Well, yes, but it should not be a dosa idly place !!
Anyway back to Osteria. A recent article in The Hindu about a dosa festival let us to the Deccan Plaza Hotel. Only to find out that the Dosa buffet actually closes at 6:30 !! So not wanting to hit the streets, we walked across the lobby to Osteria, a vegetarian Italian dinning experience.
We were welcomed very warmly, considering that there was only one other patron seated inside. Jokes apart, the people were very friendly and even brought some popcorn to the table, because my kid had seen it inside. It is normally only served as sides when you order a drink. Hunger in the stomach, lead us to order fast. An appetizer, a salad and main courses.
Hummus was our choice. Dont ask me why. When i saw it, i felt like it. The salad was regular salad with ceaser dressing. The pasta was penne pasta with red sauce and a lazagna (with a request to hold zucchini). Soon, they delivered a loaf of hot garlic bread. Soft and succulent, it melted as you chewed on it. The hummus and salad arrived, both decent, but with no major shakes to talk about. I guess that was only because it paled in comparison (from a story view) on what was to follow.
The penne pasta arrived, hot and steaming, done very well and was quickly dished out to all of us. The sauce was well done and had coated the pasta well, making it a very nice and tasty meal. I was pleasantly surprised by this pasta meal. I guess that answers the expensive price tags. Authentic cooking or good chefs can be expensive. But the experience so far was shattered by the lasagna. I guess since we said 'no zucchini', we were to be punished.
The lasagna was filled with stuff, that included peas. But the taste was killing, the cheese (forget the name), was so pungent and sour that it immediately was rejected by all, except me. Well i am a fan of things sour, buttermilk, puliyodharai, sambar etc. Talking about sambar, this lasagna was close to sambar rice, or maybe we can call it sambar pasta with cheese. The veggie filling in between broken strips of pasta felt like you were eating some mashed sambar rice. Inspite of the pungent flavour, i did manage to take a couple of helpings (small tho'). But this would be on our avoid list in the future.
Not wanting to leave with a bad taste, we ordered chocolate cake, over tiramisu. And we were not to be disappointed.
To sum it all, it was a pleasant experience, a tad bit on the expensive side. The expensive part didnt reflect in portions, presentation, decor or otherwise. It however was served with a pleasing smile and friendly people. I must however, caution, that the restaurant was quite empty and not sure if the same experience can be expected under the duress of a full crowd.
2 months ago