Pasta Theatre with the Drama Chef

Drum-roll please!!
The red curtains were drawn back, candles lit the room and the hero, Chef Mauro Ferrari aka the Drama Chef stood at his station in the open kitchen. Surrounding him were his sous chefs.

Chef Mauro as and in The Drama Chef

Coloured pasta

The equipment

The Drama Chef opened last Friday at Focaccia, HRC and a group of us were invited to review the theatrics of a pasta production. On the counters lay the props - mounds of flour, eggs and vegetable pastes. The jars were filled with pasta shapes, pasta making equipment like moulds lay around and strands of pasta were hung to dry.

Tomato jelly, cherry mozzarella in carrozza

Chef Mauro was plating up his creations as we walked in. Each one of the appetisers was dramatic in presentation and like a good story, the story begins to reveal itself when you are well and truly immersed in the dish. Like the first appetiser, tomato jelly, cherry mozzarella in carrozza. Pesto was painted on the plate and on it sat a thin disc of tomato jelly. Crumb-fried bocconcini cheese balls and basil leaves completed the dish. Why did it all look and taste so familiar? Then realisation  - such a clever take on insalata caprese. Bravissimo!

Warm salmon mille-feuille, black olive pate, micro ratatouille

Warm fresh salmon mille-feuille, black olive pate, micro ratatouille was the second appetiser. It was a good plot for we discovered a deliciously flaky round of pastry smeared with dark olive pate under the thinnest slices of salmon. The micro ratatouille scattered over the top blended in seamlessly and provided textural contrast.

Wild mushroom and truffle oil gouger├Ęs

Wild mushroom and truffle oil gouger├Ęs was the last of the appetisers but the touch of whimsy and humour was evident in the presentation - the little choux buns were arranged according to size. The flavours of earthy porcini that blended perfectly with the savoury Parmesan and truffle-infused oil were superb.

Watermelon and cucumber gazpacho with smoked dry prawns

The pink soup was a watermelon and cucumber gazpacho. Smoked diced prawns and a single nasturtium decorated it. Light and delicious and perfect for a hot summer night.

Square spaghetti with broccoli, grissini crumble and crisp speck

We got to watch how square spaghetti, the first of our mains was made. As the pasta was rolled out, we touched it to feel its silky smoothness. Later, it was cooked and a broccoli paste (probably the minor villain) was tossed through it. Topped with shards of grissini, the speck that was crumbled over the top saved the day!

Mozzarella ravioli, liquid tomato & Parmesan, fried onions

Exotic prawn casoncelli, leek & bisque foam

Lamb stew tortellini, butter sage, thyme lamb jus infusion

There are about 350 kinds of pasta in the world, among them ravioli and tortellini. The ones that were served to us were exquisite, especially the lamb stew tortellini with butter sage. The lamb had been slow cooked for 12 hours, intensifying every flavour. We also learnt a new one - casoncelli and there and then, fell in love with it. It was not called exotic for nothing for it was filled with a paste of prawns, sauteed vegetables and a hint of ginger. Piped into fresh spinach pasta, it was cooked and served with a leek and bisque foam. The colours! The taste! Chef Mauro also showed us how to make this variety of stuffed pasta. His fingers flew over the little discs and in no time, they had been shaped and were ready to be cooked to al dente perfection.

Square spaghetti

White gianduja parfait meringue with raspberry coulis, frozen mango & rum smoothie; espresso martini

The dessert we were served was a one night only show. Chef Mauro had pulled out all the stops to present his white gianduja parfait meringue with raspberry coulis, frozen mango and rum smoothie. The crisp meringue shell had been filled with gianduja parfait. The slight acidity from the raspberry coulis and mango smoothie toned down the sweetness but it was the construction that left us awestruck, one that deserved a standing ovation!

Our preview dinner of 3 appetisers, a soup, 4 mains and dessert was priced at 2500/++ and was available only that night.

Do not despair as The Drama Chef will be presenting his specialities till July 30th. You can be a part of the drama by choosing the pasta of your choice, the filling and the sauce. Or you could do the job yourself if you like. A la carte prices start at 800/++, unlimited pastas at 1300++. Whichever you opt for, do remember that if you ever want pasta this delicious, you can either have it at Focaccia or go to Italy.

Chef Mauro and his assistants


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