Perbacco: Baldassarre in India

The chef from Tordomatto in Rome is about to open a restaurant in New Delhi

by Niccolò Vecchia
According to the Guida di Identità Golose 2018 

According to the Guida di Identità Golose 2018 he’s "the great irregular of Roman cuisine." Adriano Baldassarre’s Il Tordomatto is one of the new entries in the Guide. The chef, perhaps so as to confirm he’s a man full of resources and inventive, is about to open a restaurant in New Delhi, inside the most luxurious hotel in town (photo from Lido Vannucchi)

Only a few days to go until the official opening of Adriano Baldassarre’s new restaurant. Last year, he conquered a Michelin star with his Tordomatto, in the heart of Rome, exactly 10 years after the one he received for another restaurant, with a very similar name (Tordo Matto), in Zagarolo (Rome). 

The new place that is to open in less than a month’s time, is instead called Perbacco and it will be... in New Delhi, India. For those who know Baldassarre’s career, this won’t be totally unexpected: the Roman chef spent two years as executive chef at restaurant Vetro inside the Oberoi Hotel in Mumbai. 

«The opportunity for this new adventure – says Adriano Baldassarre – arrived thanks to the people I met during the two years I spent working in India. I met Vikramaditya Singh, the general manager of hotel The Lodhi, probably the most beautiful hotel in New Delhi, when I was working in Mumbai. He’s very fond of our cuisine and he’s also worked for many years as cook in an Italian restaurant in St. Moritz, and came with the idea of opening a fine dining Italian restaurant in the beautiful hotel he runs».

Vikramaditya Singh and Adriano Baldassarre

Vikramaditya Singh and Adriano Baldassarre

So it’s not a complete debut, but a return to a huge country full of facets, whose culinary tradition is extremely rich. «My first two years in India were a precious experience – says Baldassarre.- I approached it as humbly as possible. When you approach a different culture, with different tastes and palates, you must be open-minded. You cannot impose yourself. You must smooth things over, so that people get a better understanding of what you’re going to present».

The Indian public is surely very different from the one to which an Italian chef is used to: «Indeed, I face this new challenge with greater awareness. I can say I have a better understanding of Indian culture: how they live, and how they think. At least in part. I will be in a different town from Mumbai, where I have already worked, but I believe I know enough of the Indians’ relationship with religion, which of course has a strong influence on their diet».

The façade at The Lodhi in New Delhi

The façade at The Lodhi in New Delhi

Plus Indians won’t be the only guests: «New Delhi is a crucial destination for Indian tourism. Many people travel here on their way to the Taj Mahal or to other regions of the subcontinent. So I’m sure I will serve many international guests too, on top of the locals». So for Baldassarre it will be important to present «both a classic Italian cuisine, especially at lunchtime, and some dishes that influenced his career the most. Which were also inspired by my first experience in India».

Only a few weeks to go: two, perhaps three, four maximum. Then, during the start-up phase, which is to last a few months, Baldassarre will spend part of his time in Rome, and part in India, where the new restaurant will be handed to a local executive chef who has already acquired experience in Italian cuisine. «I trust him – says the Roman chef – we did a real full immersion last month and I’m very happy with the standards we’ve achieved».

Our conversation stops as Baldassarre informs us he’s about to leave. Bound to India? «No, actually no – he hesitates. – Let’s say it’s a very lively period and there’s more news coming up. For now, I cannot say anything, but you’ll be the first to know». So we invite you to follow these pages to find out.

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso


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