We had the unique and highly anticipated opportunity to have a meal at Fresca Pizza on KNK road couple of weeks back, thanks to the CFG Diners Club. Unique because the restaurant had not opened its doors to the public then-it just opened on the 23rd of May. and highly anticipated because it is a baby conceptualized and bought into being by Sandesh Reddy of Sandy's Chocolate Laboratory fame, so it was so bound to not be run-of-the-mill stuff. and also 'cos we heard it was specializing in Neapolitan Cuisine. The menu was a previously set 4 course deal: an appetizer, the Pasta, the Pizza and then the Dessert, all with options for the vegetarians. So with appetite in stock, cameras ready and Sandesh to help us every step of the way by explaining every dish and how it is made, we started.
There was a little something to start off the experience: a concoction of peaches and salty cheese served in a unique looking dish. That teaser worked wonders for a lot of people but didnt quite hit the right note for me. but thought it was presented well. For the appetizers, we had options of the Ajo Blanco, Stewed Figs and the Carpaccio. The Carpaccio is an Italian dish of raw meat that has been sliced thin and pounded very very thin. As Sandesh explained, the heat in the human mouth as you chew it is enough to cook the meat enough. I was very particular about trying it seeing i have never eaten anything outside the realm of 'well done'. and i quite liked it! it was delicate, ultra thin slices, much like salmon and served with a salad of field greens.
The Ajo Blanco had gotten rave reviews from friends who'd dined there prior to us and we were hence given a head's up about how delicious it is. which was a good thing because left to myself, i would'nt have ordered a soup, leave alone a cold soup. So the Ajo Blanco is this cold soup with grapes and drizzled with olive oil; and it appealed to a lot of people at the table. I found it alright, it's creamy and flavored differently. The stewed figs were good, but i like figs in pretty much every way. The figs were paired with honey balsamic, bocconcinni and zucchini-very refreshing on the palate.
The pasta course kickstarted with the creamiest, the dreamiest Three Cheese Ravioli in wine butter. The portions may look small but try one of 'em babies and you know they are loaded on the good stuff. and suddenly, the quantity feels just right! The seasoning is perfect, without being overpowering or going unnoticed. The Smoked Chicken Agnolotti was another favorite of mine. The tomato sauce is so complex, yet so flavorful, it makes you go back for more (ok, i'm salivating here a bit). The Spinach Gnocchi with buttermilk was my least favorite, i didn't quite fancy the spinach flavor but the gnocchi was creamy and cooked very well.
An Italian joint is probably one of the very (very) few places where the main course trumps the dessert course for me, simply because of one fabulous item on their menu, the pizza! i love a good thin crust pizza loaded with the right amount of sauce, flavor and most importantly, cheese. The wonders that charred-in-places thin crust and the perfect buffalo mozzarella can do to me (and my waistline) is pretty amazing. and Fresca did not disappoint. Sandesh explained that their pizza dough is made using 00 flour imported from Italy. For the layman, 00 Flour provides the best pizza crust, lending the perfect chew to the most tender crust. Another interesting fact, Fresca hand rolls their pizzas. The pepperoni pizza was my favorite. Tangy, appropriately cheesy (an oxymoron?) and loaded with flavor, i loved the pepperoni. The unique tanginess was attributed to the pepperoni, and not the usual suspect of the sauce.
There was a surprise favorite, a pesto with artichoke pizza. The flavors and the combination of artichoke and pesto on a thin crust pizza created magic in previously unheard of ways for me.
The other pizzas of the night was the Spec and the Bocconcini, a sauceless pizza with just the Spec and the cheese. It was a tad too dry but alright. Frankly, everything else pales in comparison with the pepperoni and the pesto, really.
The palette cleanser, a green apple sorbet that screamed 'green apple!!' with every soft spoonful was the stuff sorbet dreams are made of. Refreshing, soft, tangy in a nice way and smacking of green apple flavors.
That was the prelude to the impending dessert. and whattey dessert it was: I was torn between the Bocca Negra and the Nutella Tiramisu, but eventually the Bocca Negra swayed me and i was glad it did. The dish consists of a pot of molten chocolate cake, gooey goodness not restricted just to the center of the cake but permeating all the way to the sides. Suffice to say, it was sinful. I had the Vanilla bean ice cream much later as i did'nt want to adulterate my Bocca Negra with anything.
The Nutella Tiramisu was also good, Sandesh had warned us of a healthy dose of rum but we didnt find it overpowering at all. The nutella lent a brilliant flavor and it is a combination i look forward to experimenting with.
I'm pretty sure i will be going back for more such escapades with the ravioli and the pizza and the bocca negra. Till then, it's a presto from me!
Fresca Pizza is in the basement of building that houses UCB and Cascade, right at the beginning of KNK.