Fusion food is the latest fad and we’ve got to admit that it’s a pretty interesting concept. In fact, the fusion of two popular cuisines to produce something new and refreshing is very cool. So much so that when we visited Italiano in Anna Nagar, we were pleasantly surprised by the menu and the food that followed.
Divya Pesala is the mastermind behind Italiano, with her passion for food and experimenting with different fusion options, the restaurant has become what it is. Originally a visual communications student, Divya’s passion for food and cooking encouraged her to start something of her own. Her passion also drove her to participate in Super Chef Chennai which happens every year and brings together aspiring chefs in the city to compete for the top spot.
“I always had this passion for cooking, and my husband used to encourage me a lot and he really liked my cooking, so when we started calling friends home I did lots of experiments on them. That way, I developed a serious passion for cooking and it kind of strengthened my cooking skills and I got confident enough to take this forward.” Divya told us about her start in food and added, “My mom once told me ‘my dream is to see you on TV’, so then I thought I’d surprise her and applied for a regional channel cooking show. I passed my screen test and told my mom I’d be on this show on this and this date. It was on a Tamil regional channel and I did close to 100 episodes!”
Divya and Kiran Kumar, her partner in this endeavour, had the same vision and started it together. “This is just a startup and a new experience, which is why we started out small. I wanted to be recognised because fusion like Indo-Italian is unique. It’s not like we wanted to give authentic Italian, but give it a fusion. So our dishes are Italian with the Indian twist, like the Italian Bhel and the Paneer Pizza,” Divya added.
All the noms
First up, we had the Italian Bhel. It is exactly as it sounds! It’s made from home-made pasta which is then deep fried so that it’s crispy and served with your usual Bhel fittings including onions and tomatoes and masala.
A must have on their menu is the Mac & Cheese Balls, which as you would imagine is deep fried as well but so very delicious. Mac & Cheese made into balls and then coated with crumbs and fried like you would fry anything. And it’s served with a Chipotle dip and mayonnaise, because everything goes well with Mac & Cheese.
Next up we had the Pita Pockets. They come with three different fillings and we had two of the three – the mushroom and corn as well as the paneer. Both are great on taste and filling, so keep in mind that pacing yourself through the meal is a good idea.
We also had the Babycorn Fritters, which is again deliciously deep fried. The babycorn is kept as it is and coated with cornflakes before fried. Each bite is crunchy and hot and just what you need in this changing weather.
For the main course, we the Veggie Italian Pizza which was the right amount of spicy and nicely balanced with a mixture of veggies and loaded with cheese!
On their menu, they also have three kinds of pasta and we had two of them – the White Pasta and the Pink Pasta. No Italian meal is complete without a bowl of pasta and Italiano served up enough to satisfy our cravings.
And if you’re looking for dessert to end the meal, just swing over to Roll Over Chennai which is right next door and you’re in for a treat!
Italiano is located at 338/9, New Sunshine Apartments, 2nd Avenue, Anna Nagar East.