You all know that I’d never turn down an invite to an Italian place. So when Crowne Plaza hosted the Milanese Food Festival food reviewer’s meet at Aloro earlier this month, I RSVPed in a heartbeat. It didn’t matter that the hotel is located way across the city and that meant I’d spend more time on traveling than actually being at the event. All that was in my head was Viva Milano!

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Crowne Plaza is a beautiful property located right in the midst of Namma Ooru’s IT hub. The ambiance is splendid with well-decorated floor and amber lit interiors that immediately draw your attention to the restaurants – 24@43, Aloro, East and Burgundy Hill. They also have The Terminus for the party-goers and Connexions for those seeking a few drinks over conversation.

Aloro is indeed beautiful designed to project an elegant Italian restaurant complete with photographs and art from Italy on the walls. It gives a very cozy feeling that goes with the food, music and company. We were seated at the sections near Burgundy Hill across the wall of wine from Aloro, so here’s a look at what’s in store for you.

To start with, we tried a few drinks off the Mango Festival menu. Refreshing, acidic and sweet, these drinks worked as our palate cleansers to set the mood for the elaborate tasting.

We began with Zuppa di porri e bietole (Traditional soup made with leeks and Swiss chard) and Busecca (Beans flavored Classic Lombard regional soup). Both were poles opposite to each other in all regards. While the leeks were in a clear soup with sharp notes of acidity that were cut smoothly by the Swiss chard, the Busecca was a thick typical bean soup full of familiar flavors.

The Rucola Organica (Arugula salad with aged balsamic, Asparagus, Sun kissed cherry tomato, Red radish, Beet slice & Parmesan Rocks), was fresh and unique with the very nicely created Parmesan rocks that tied all the freshness together with some deep fried umami.

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I couldn’t wait to get a bite of the Taleggio Dip (Taleggio dip served with pan seared watermelon, mesclun salad & basil grissini). It was a visually spectacular dish, and to the palate, the watermelon in its dressing sang. The dip itself was a firework of flavors.

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Coming to my favorite course (:P), I got to stray from my comfortable red sauce and try something different.

I quite enjoyed the pasta in Traditional Pizzoccheri Pasta (Hand rolled Buckwheat pasta with four cheese sauce). I’m not a white sauce person, so it wouldn’t be fair to comment on the cheese sauce. I absolutely loved the Tortelli di Zucca (Pumpkin filled Ravioli with Parmesan cream emulsion). Beautiful ravioli with sweet pumpkin that rang of subtle flavors in that rich Parmesan sauce.

Do you see the pattern? Something Healthy with Something Fatty? Maybe the folks at Aloro are the first to master the art of palate seduction.

I couldn’t wait to get the desserts in as they sounded spectacular. Panettone (Milan Christmas special dessert presented by Chefs way), Charlotte alla Milanese (Rum laced apple & bread pudding), Barbajada mousse (Chef special Popular Milanese dessert made with chocolate, milk, coffee), Homemade gelatos (Rich Saffron, Fresh Fig & cherry, Caramelized Pistachio & rosemary) were enough to keep our smiles intact and tummies satisfied.

If you are at Aloro, ask for the Parmesan Trilogy. You will probably see heaven at the bottom of that plate.

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More of our elaborate tasting