Friday, August 12, 2011

Lunch at Tuscana

It has been a crazy couple of weeks now. I find most of my days packed with something or the other. Inspite of having solemnly promising myself not to yield to the temptation of eating out all the time, there is some irresistible hangout with some visiting friend or the other. Now, I can’t act fussy and deny an invitation, can I?

I had to make it up to my friend for constantly postponing luncheon plans. We decided to do Little Italy first, but I was surprised to find mixed responses about the restaurant. So I promptly changed the venue to Tuscana instead, on Wallace road. I had heard good reviews about this Italian hangout and of course, wanted to sample the food. Incidentally, it is run by the same individual who takes care of Kryptos.
One of my friends from work, Surya, who had already been there urged me to try their poached peaches in wine, but to my dismay, I was told that there was a menu reshuffle, and the favorite dessert was off the list. Her husband apparently loved this place. Her alternative recommendation of a walnut cake was also not featured. I can still overlook all these small irritants, but their lack of service shocked me. I was really put off that no one attended to our table for quite a while.
 Finally, when the server did make his appearance, it was a relief because I was starving. To keep us occupied, we were served some amazing soup sticks and thin crispy biscuits with basil and olive sauce As always, I ordered by soup, the Pomodoro, which is a Tuscan summer recipe for a warm tomato soup. The soup was a little bland though the flavor was good. I was surprised that no bread was served with the soup, but I made sure my demands were heard. For starters, I decided to skip the usual Bruschetta and instead ordered the Aran Riso, which was arboria rice and cheese balls deep fried and served with a sauce. As soon as I tried a piece, I realized it was a bad choice because it was dripping with oil and gave me a headache. To make matters worse, I ordered a heavy pasta Integrale Penna with the Salsa di Noci, which is tubular penne pasta served with a sauce made with sweet pumpkin and roasted walnuts sprinkled on top. I usually have the Penne Arabiata, with the tomato sauce base. I could not enjoy more than two bites and asked for the remaining pasta to be packed.
Not to be deterred, I ordered the Cannoli for dessert, which is a crispy fried roll, into which ricotta cheese beaten with sugar is poured, and served over seasonal fruit compote. It was alright, but not sensational as the pana cotta I had at Kryptos.  
Overall, it was not a great experience. The ambience was good, but marred by jarring music in the afternoon. A meal for two, which included an appetizer (shared between two people), a starter, a pasta for the main course, and a dessert cost us Rs.1000 bucks, which is quite steep. However, the quantity of food served was good. For vegetarians, apart from the usual, there is not much variety and the menu is limited. We decided not to tip them much, as a penalty for poor service and the greasy starter. My friends were surprised because the place is usually jam packed with service round the clock. Maybe, it was not my lucky day, but the place is certainly worth a try.

Tuscana is located at, No 19, Wallace Garden, Nungambakkam, Chennai 600034. You can call them at +914445008180 for reservations or visit their site

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