By Sourish Bhattacharyya
PRINCESS DIANA’S favourite restaurant, San Lorenzo, is celebrating its golden jubilee year by opening at Taj Lands End in Mumbai. The Beauchamp Place, Knightsbridge, restaurant will be the third from the tony neighbourhood to head to India. The first was Maroush with rather unfortunate results at the ITC Maurya rooftop in New Delhi. More recently, Ciro’s Pomodoro, owned by the very colourful friend of the likes of Sylvester Stallone and Leonardo DiCaprio, Ciro Orsini, opened at the Greater Kailash-I, N-Block Market. And now it is the turn of Maritime by San Lorenzo, which is what the restaurant at Taj Lands End would be called.
A basement restaurant with an air of “upmarket intimacy”, as TimeOut London describes the place, San Lorenzo has been serving traditional Italian preparations and getting middling reviews. Beauchamp Place restaurants are known more for their clientele than for their food, and San Lorenzo has served A-listers such as Sophia Loren, Jack Nicholson, Peter Sellers, Andy Warhol and the Rolling Stones, and the Duchess of Cambridge’s mother Carole Middleton and sister Pippa not too long ago, as Kate Nicholl reported in the Daily Mail.
For the restaurant’s owner, the Italian-born Lorenzo Berni, who grew up in Forte dei Marmi on the Tuscan coast, San Lorenzo’s international debut in India has an emotional connect. “Many special moments in my life have had a connection to India; the first date with my wife Mara was at an Indian restaurant and, as a family, we would always take our three children out to eat Indian food on Sundays,” Berni is quoted in a media release issued by Taj Lands End.
Maritime by San Lorenzo’s kitchen has been set up and will be run by Alessandro Bechini and Marco Foroni, two San Lorenzo-trained Italian chefs, who will be dishing out the restaurant’s signature dishes such as risotto with prawns and courgettes to tagliata of chicken breast with balsamic sauce. The menu will feature plenty of vegan and vegetarian options as well as San Lorenzo’s famous homemade ice-creams, the Taj media release assures us. And the wine list will feature 64 Italian labels. “For those seeking a tasty tipple,” adds the media release, “the Prosecco Bar will serve a variety of cocktails, from Kir Royals to fruity Bellinis.” After the hugely successful Ananda Solomon creation, Trattoria, this is the Taj Group’s second foray into Italian cuisine. Will it be as successful as the first?