Kavitha Mantha introduced Hyderabad to its first farm to fork restaurant, Sage, and now in the same premises started Ciao – The Pasta Bar, which is a snug space serving authentic Italian cuisine. Think hand-rolled pasta, bread so soft that you can’t stop digging in and mozzarella to die for!
The interiors done by architect Sai Prasad Renugunta, give the 40-seater restaurant a very earthy vibe with its natural stone flooring, mud finish on the walls, and wooden tiles for a ceiling. The organic veggies and herbs are sourced from Kavitha’s farm, and Chef Kaushik (who worked at an Italian restaurant in Canada) adding his unique perspective, makes the food excellent and gives good value for money. With seating both indoors and outdoors, it is an excellent hangout for those who love all things Italian.
Start with the Bread Board (ideal if you are in a group) which has an assortment of different breads and dips for an appetizer. The Bruschetta, topped with fresh basil and cheese are just ideal as are the Calzones which come in two versions – roasted mushrooms or minced lamb, both cooked to perfection.
The Bottlegourd Ceviche transforms the humble vegetable to an art form and we highly recommend this unusual salad for its interesting taste (tangy pickled red onions and fiery jalapenos) and an excellent combination of assorted ingredients (including caramelized almonds). The pastas however are the piece de resistance. The Mushroom Norchina served with a béchamel sauce and drizzle of truffle oil is love at first bite; while the Trapanese shows how eggplant can be used for both flavor and bite. The Meatball Spaghetti is something the non-vegetarians will definitely enjoy.
Can we talk Italian and not mention pizza? Ciao offers a smattering of choices and the top choice would be the Piomonte which is lovingly treated with a garlic and shallot puree resulting in a tantalizing taste. A bit bland though, it needs a generous sprinkling of chilli flakes for those who love their spice. The mains also boast of other options from Braised Lamb Shank to Pesto Chicken which we will try the next time we visit.
For dessert, choose between the Tiramisu or the Flourless Chocolate Cake, both are sinful and decadent, and worth ditching your diet chart for. Kombucha is the ideal drink that goes with the food but the adventurous can try the Limonita, which combines condensed milk and lemon in an interesting and may we say acquired, taste!
PS: The ideal way to enjoy a meal at Ciao is to do it at leisure. Take in the greenery, relax and browse through the interesting and hand-picked products at the store too. n
Meal for two: Rs 1500 to Rs 1800
Same venue as Sage, Road No. 62 A, Jubilee Hills
Tel: 63045 53216
Timings: 12.30 pm to 3.30 pm and 6.30 pm to 10.30 pm [Closed on Mondays]