Taste of Sicilian Italy at Rosso

Prior to this meal, the type of Italian food that I and most people are exposed to has been the universally known dish, like pasta, pizza, risotto, tiramisu. But much like (for example) Balinese food is a subset of Indonesian food, Sicilian food is also a distinctive, yet lesser known, regional variety of Italian food.
Taste of Sicilian Italy at Rosso
The reason I'm talking about Sicily, is because the Executive Chef of Rosso at Shangri-la Jakarta, Paolo Gionfriddo, comes from that massive island in the southern of Italy, more than 30 years ago. Chef Paolo previously worked in another 5 star property in Abu Dhabi, UAE before setting sail for Jakarta. Chef Paolo's move to Rosso, will introduce refreshingly novel Sicilian flavours to the existing menu, legacy of the previous Executive Chef Oriana.
Chef Paolo Gionfriddo
Rosso's Executive Chef, Paolo Gionfriddo
Sicilian cuisine is influenced by many cultures, by virtue of its location and long history of different domination from the neighboring Germany, France, Spain, Greece, including Africa and Arab, etc. It is however, still predominantly Italian, with Mediterranean flavours, but liberal use of fresh seafood abundant from the sea surrounding it.

Together with a few other friends, we were invited to Rosso to sample Chef Paolo's new creations, which may be soon added to the current menu at Rosso. Take a look at the Sicilian influenced dishes by Chef Paolo:
Sauteed calamari stuffed with chicory, sun dried tomato pesto
I Calamari M'Puttunati
(picture above) I Calamari M'Puttunati - sauteed calamari stuffed with chicory, sun dried tomato pesto.
My first impression of the dish is that it looks pretty, a triplet of stuffed squid domes arranged at certain angles on a bed of sun dried tomato pesto. I have never tasted tomato pesto, so I was quite surprised to find the strong taste (like concentrated tomato). But it complements well with the more bland stuffed squid.

Squid ink risotto and tartare of calamari
Niuru dei Sicci
(picture above) Niuru dei Sicci - squid ink risotto and tartare of calamari
It was my first time eating raw (tartare of) calamari, but turns out it is not completely raw, as the hot risotto slowly cooks the tartare spread thinly on top of it. I had feared the black squid ink risotto would have pungent smell, but was so much relieved to find it odorless and with salty taste. The best is to eat the tartare, risotto and the brown crumbs.

Headcheese with prawn and asparagus
Headcheese with prawn and asparagus
(picture above) I didn't know the name of this dish, because it was not stated in the menu. But I knew it was made from pig's head, so I searched online and found a dish that looks just like what I ate. I call this Coppa di Testa - headcheese (as is head and cheese), made from the flesh off the swine's head (or fat, for the abundance of fat covering the head). When I heard the name, I was already shrivelling in fear, because I've never eaten pig's head before.

But really, how bad could it be right? So I tried my luck, and decided once and for all that head cheese is not my cup of tea.

Cannolo filled with buffalo ricotta cheese and pistachio
Cannolo ca' Ricotta
(picture above) Cannolo ca' Ricotta - Cannolo filled with buffalo ricotta cheese and pistachio.
A combination of crispiness and creaminess in each scoop that is not too sweet and not boring, this dessert is definitely going to be a hit with the customers. A little food fact: Cannoli (plural; singular: cannolo) is a highly popular pastry associated with sicilian cuisine. The 'little tube' dessert is fried pastry puff filled with sweet filling, typically ricotta cheese.

So, the above was actually a set lunch specially prepared by Chef Paolo himself for the select few of us invited for lunch that noon.  And although I may not thoroughly share Chef Paolo's Sicilian cuisine roots, I have come to appreciate and understand that Italy is not just about using a lot of cheese and pasta and pizza. Thank you for the privilege, Chef!

Rosso Shangri-la Jakarta
Espresso and Cappuccino
Left: Single shot espresso
Right: Cappuccino
Rosso Shangri-la Jakarta
Interior of Rosso
Rosso Shangri-la Jakarta

Open Hours
Restaurant:  Lunch 11.30am - 2.30pm  | Dinner 6.30pm - 10.30pm 
Lounge: Lunch 11am - 2.30pm  | Dinner 5.30pm - 1am

Kota BNI 46 complex
JL. Jend. Sudirman Kav. 1
Ph: +6221 29399562


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