It’s easy to miss Siciliano, the one-month-old Italian cafe tucked away from plain sight on the tree-lined Khader Nawaz Khan Road. We heard about the place from a friend who told Siciliano served made-fresh, preservative-free gelatos that are probably the best in town. But, walking into Siciliano we were pleasantly surprised that gelatos are not their only specialty and that they serve delectable varieties of Italian pizzas, pastas and American fast food too.
We started off with the Crostini Misti, an array of toasted Italian bread with three assorted toppings. The first set was topped with melted Mozarella cheese flavored with spicy peri-peri and olives for the extra kick. The second set had toppings of tomatoes, basil, and shredded parmesan cheese and the final set had smoked feta topped with sweet blueberry and almonds. The three different toppings, that had to be eaten in the above order, offered three different tastes – spice, sour and sweet, to instigate the three spectrums of our taste buds and prepare us for the rest of the course.
We ordered the Formagio Zafferano Arancini next. It is risotto rice balls fried crispy golden-brown with mushrooms, cheese and two different varieties of mayo stuffing. It was a delight to bite into as the cheese and mayo stuffing slowly flow out and takes you to food heaven.
We began our main course with Spaghetti Carbonara turkey bacon pasta. It arrived at the table piping hot and we could smell the flavours of fresh parsley leaves and feel the taste of smoked turkey bacon even before we took a single bite! This creamy white sauce pasta is a must try and a personal favourite of Siciliano’s director Abdullah Rafiq.
No Italian experience is complete without a pizza, so we ordered the Scintilliante Siciliano. What’s special here is that it has a pesto sauce spread across the thin crust base instead of the traditional tomato sauce. It comes with juicy chicken, mushrooms, jalapeno and olive toppings that could be customised to our liking. The pizza slices found its way to our stomach in no time and more words are unnecessary to describe how it tastes.
Deciding to go American way next we ordered the Pollo Avvolgere. The name may sound fancy but it is nothing but shredded grilled chicken caesar wrap. The mayo seemed freshly made, the lettuce was crunchy and the chicken had just the right amount of spice to round it off. We would also highly recommend Siciliano’s wraps.
The cool stuff
Impressed with the food we moved to ice creams, sorbets and of course gelatos – the specialty of Siciliano. Among the ones we tasted, Pistacchio gelato, Manghi Sorbetto (mango sorbet) and Blu Azoto (liquid nitrogen blueberry icecream) was our pick of the lot.
Pistacchio gelato was love at first bite. A quick enquiry as to the secret behind the rich flavour revealed that the ingredients were freshly ground and we were even showed the pure pistachio paste used for making the gelato. What impressed me most however was Manghi Sorbetto. Though a Chennai guy, I’m not a huge fan of mangoes.
Surprisingly, Siciliano’s mango sorbet (made with Banganapalli mangoes) was a gamechanger. The smooth texture was unlike any sorbet that I had tasted before. We discovered that Abdullah, the director of Siciliano himself perfected this recipe by adding a bit of lemon sorbet in the mix. It helps that he is a chemical engineer and he is closely involved with the entire process. The Blue Azoto is a liquid nitrogen blueberry ice cream that is quick to melt but great to taste.
The best thing about Siciliano’s deserts is that they are all freshly made in-house from locally sourced ingredients. Another notable mention of Siciliano’s ice-creams would be the blood orange sorbet made from blood-orange extract that’s a first in the city! Siciliano is located at Gems Court, Khader Nawaz Khan Road, Nungambakkam.