If wine, food and song is your idea of a fulfilling night-out, consider a visit to Oregano, the dinner-only Italian restaurant at the JW Marriot, Chandigarh. My last visit there found chef Antonello Cancedda in a mood to rustle up some off-menu treats.
The antipasto comprised of bruschetta topped variously with tomato, peppers and liver pate, and was served with the very versatile Riesling. The spinach ravioli in cheese sauce lightly drizzled with white truffle oil that followed was simply divine. As was the truly rustic olive oil and garlic rich spaghetti aglio e olio; in my mind the Italian equivalent of a searing hot roti smeared with desi ghee!
We abandoned a forgettable white wine for the ubiquitous Jacob Creek Shiraz Cabernet to pair with a round of balsamic risotto with chicken, which though delicious, was out-done by the vegetable-laden primavera risotto. Which, in turn, was completely out-ranked by the to-die-for tiramisu we were served as dessert with espresso coffee. Just as we began wrapping up the evening, along came a round of chilled limoncello, southern Italy’s traditional digestivo in the guise of a lemon flavoured liqueur.
Then, wait for it, a guitar-bearing gentleman, the chef himself. Here on, the evening took a distinctly musical turn as we joined his strumming and singing with our own tuneless versions of Chura Liya Hai and It’s Now Or Never. A delightful evening, no doubt. Just one niggling thought followed me home: whatever happened to Italian wines? I plan to find out when I return for the acid test of cucina Italiana, the carbonara.