Pranzo At Celini – Of Italy, Love And Warmth!

It had been a while since I stepped out for a nice lunch date with friends, and if you know me, you’d know that I prefer to go out for breakfast or lunch and keep it light in the evenings with coffee or a light dinner. Since the last few days I’ve feeling a little low and it has made me question numerous times the decisions I’ve made and the appropriateness of the same. To get out of that loop of thoughts that pull you down instead of raising you up, I thought of meeting my friend and confidant Shital Kakad for lunch at Celini in Grand Hyatt, Mumbai. I was informed that they’ve introduced the Italian Pranzo Veloce under the guidance of their Italian chef, Alessandro Persico.

From my limited knowledge of Italian cuisine, I do know that Pranzo is a lunch or dinner enjoyed with family and well, I was here to do just that. Shital and I were discussing about how we tend to choose our company over a meal and that more often than not we prefer to dine with the people who we can be comfortable with and share a level of informality. After all, food can be the only serious business!

Celini is as old as Grand Hyatt, Mumbai i.e fifteen years and has enjoyed the reputation of being one of the finest Italian restaurants in Mumbai for over a decade. Shital sat fondly reminiscing the days she used to be a regular there with her husband. Clearly, the place still enjoys a loyal customer base and has managed to keep its place intact in the hearts of the Mumbaikars.

Here’s what we had at the newly launched Pranzo Veloce:

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Hot and fresh out of the oven breads with aubergine salsa
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The calzone stuffed with cheese – light and puffy
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Seasonal greens with poached pear and walnuts salad 
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Penne in pink sauce  – extremely creamy and served al dante!
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Rigatoni with charred tomato and aubergines – my favourite!
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The tiramisu to die for! 

As if the meal in itself was not great that our server Steffi came and requested me for a picture in the end, which left me quite stumped, to be honest. I asked her if she knew me, because hey, I am not any known face and hence not used to this! She informed me that she’s been a follower of this blog since a long time and loves it. If only I could let her know how much that lifted my soul up! I gladly took a picture with Steffi and it will always be one of my treasured pictures and a reminder that I am on the right path.

Good things happen when you open your heart. Who knew that a casual lunch date with a friend would lead to meeting someone who loves what you do and without realising manages to put a smile on your face. The food at Celini, as usual, was delicious. The warm service by Steffi took it a notch higher.

If you’re looking for a relaxed time with loved ones, I would recommend the Pranzo meals at Celini, for their relaxed place, the chef’s love for what he sends out of his kitchen and the flavours that linger on your taste buds long after you’ve left and makes you want to come back for more.

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