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South Mumbai's new pizzazz

india Updated: Oct 27, 2012 01:19 IST

Anybody who is in the vicinity of Palladium should not miss Serafina's tiramisu. We nearly did, but were deftly saved by a server who said that he'd tried the tiramisu, and that the panna cotta, a classic Italian dessert, could wait for our second visit. The "pick-me-up" at Serafina, an American chain serving northern Italian food, lives up to its name. The high square block is made up of layers of lush mascarpone and boozy, espresso-soaked sponge. It may seem daunting after a big meal, but is a dessert that will be devoured even when you think that another spoonful will make you ill.

Northern Italy is known for its love of unsalted butter over olive oil, stuffed pasta and its light hand with spices and garlic. The menu at Serafina's flagship Indian outlet reflects these flavours. A plate of spinach- and ricotta-filled ravioli comes in a pool of sage-infused golden-yellow melted butter. The food is not spicy at all, but because this is India, a bottle of chilli flakes and oil is offered at each table.

During press meets last week, owners Vittorio Assaf and Fabio Granato said that they would import vital ingredients such as flour, San Marzano tomatoes and, of course, cheese. These ingredients shine through in their pizzas, which have perfectly thin crusts, a concentrated flavour of the red fruit and light lactic mozzarella, no matter what other toppings diners choose. A salad of arugula is tossed with a fig vinaigrette and topped with toasted pine nuts. A square of freshly sliced parmigiano reggiano cheese is balanced on top.

However, some dishes leave one wanting. The carpaccio of lobster is boring, and begs for a spike in acid and texture. Our minestrone tasted like a soup that one would have during a bout of the 'flu. Our curry martini seemed to contain margarita mix. However, if it's pizza and pasta you're craving, Serafina is spot on. Look for the Mumbai-inspired mural and settle into a seat by the large window. Remember to begin with the tiramisu, though.

- Roshni Bajaj Sanghvi

(HT pays for all meals and events, and reviews anonymously)