A Tuscany Wedding

2nd Floor,
Forum Value Mall, Whitefield,

05th February, 2017

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to join this man and woman in holy matrimony

‘Tis the season to get married, Fa la la la la, la la la la

Do you take this woman to be your wife, to live together in matrimony, to love her, to honor her, to comfort her, and to keep her in sickness and in health, forsaking all others, for as long as you both shall live?

Ah! Love is in the air! A joyous occasion! A time to rejoice! A time to celebrate the holiest of holy bonds!

Do you take this man to be your husband, to live together in matrimony, to love him, to comfort him, and to keep him in sickness and in health, forsaking all others, for as long as you both shall live?

A time to…sniff sniff….do you smell that? What is that? Oh my God! Food! That aroma! It’s making my mouth salivate.

I give you  this ring as a token and pledge of our constant faith and abiding love

Oh come on! How long will this go on for? I’m hungry! Hurry up!

By the virtue of the authority vested in me under the laws of the State of Karnataka, I now pronounce you husband and wife.

Arrggghhhh! I hate weddings! Why do they have to be so long and boring? I’m here only for the meal to be honest.

If I were to describe the above events, it would have to be ‘The Five-Step Wedding Programme” – Step 1: Acceptance; Step 5: Denial.

I don’t “hate” weddings, if that’s what you’re wondering. After all, what better time than a two (in some cases three) day occasion to meet, greet, and shift feet with family relatives, some of whom I last met when the United Kingdom was still a part of Europe, Barack Obama still had black stubble on his hair, and ISIS was nothing but a repetition of the word ‘is’.

The introduction to this blog must have you pondering whether this is a “Wedding Food Review”. Unfortunately, it isn’t! The introduction was merely, for lack of a better word, an introduction to this story.

04th February 2017 – Day One – A cold, breezy winter’s evening in Bangalore. Families, all dressed in their best attires, gathered around the lawns at the Holiday Inn, Whitefield, ready for the start of the programme. The theme for the day was Bollywood, so it wasn’t a surprise to find people dressed as famous actors (thought I must admit, I did mistake a toy gun for a real rifle). It wasn’t until half-past seven when the programme began. Loud music (and even louder voices) blared across the lawn, nearly deafening any elderly person in attendance (and there were many!). As evening became night, everyone got their party shoes on and danced the night away. A proud believer in the phrase “South Indian men can’t dance”, I moved further away from the stage, and into the lobby. It was there, in the lobby, away from the music, that I hatched a plan for a Sunday lunch with my cousins. 

The plan was simple in its entirety. The next day, while my parents were out for another wedding function, I would stay back at the hotel with my sister. My cousins would later join me at the hotel, and we would venture out, nearby, for a meal, after which we would head back to the hotel to join everyone for the evening celebrations (yes, another one!). When I proposed my lunch plans to my cousins, they gave me the typical ambivalent response “We’ll see.” 

05th February 2017 – Day Two – After breakfast next morning, my parents decided to leave for the morning function, while my sister and I decided to head back to the room for some well deserved R&R! It was half past ten in the morning and no reply yet from either cousin on whether they were going to join us at the hotel. So I decided to check on them. 

“Hey are you going to have lunch there?”

“We haven’t even had breakfast!”

“Why don’t you guys finish breakfast and come over for lunch? We’ll go out.”

“Naa…can’t leave everyone here.”

“Why not?”


Resigned to the fact that I will be dining with my sister in the hotel (which isn’t a bad thing!), I decided to do some writing. So, I opened my laptop and began writing the previous article on the blog. Simultaneously, I turned on the television and switched channels between ‘The Amazing Spiderman’ and ‘Men in Black 3’ (I preferred the latter!). All of a sudden, my thigh began to vibrate and ‘Binary Sunset’ began playing from my pocket. I picked up my phone. It was from my younger cousin.


“Hi! So….change of plans.”

Now what?

“So we’re going to come to your hotel now, and then we’ll go for lunch somewhere. Is that alright?”

Alright? That was perfect!


It was quarter to noon, when the doorbell rang. I opened the door and welcomed my cousins into the room. We sat at the table and debated on where we were going to go for lunch. It was a unanimous decision that we decided to go somewhere within walking distance – a mall perhaps. A quick search online and I found that the closest mall was the Forum Value Mall – nearly 2 kilometers away. With respect to a restaurant, it was again a unanimous decision to go to Toscano – an highly-rated Italian restaurant located inside the mall. When I asked my sister, if she would be willing to join us for lunch, she replied in the negative, and seeing the cosiness in which she laid on the bed, I was sure her mind was not going to change.

Ten minutes later, I put on my sunglasses (the sun was shining bright that day) and we were ready to leave for lunch. Given the near proximity of the mall, we thought it best to walk it down (and that way build up an appetite!). It took us roughly twenty minutes to reach the mall. As we entered the mall, we realized that we hadn’t checked the exact address of the restaurant, and there was an information booth was nowhere in sight. I went online and found the restaurant to be located on the second floor of the mall. And so we made our way to the restaurant.

Toscano is a restaurant that I am familiar with, having been to their branch in UB City, Bangalore. The ambience in the latter was delightfully wonderful, as we sat outside and enjoyed the pleasant weather on offer in the city. Unfortunately, there was no outside seating at the Whitefield branch, however, that didn’t stop the restaurant from providing a very authentic Italian environment. Spacious, quaint, and extremely green, the ambience ticked all the right boxes for an Italian restaurant. As we entered the almost-empty restaurant, we were greeted by the receptionist and our waiter guided us to our seats. The view from our seats was unlike anything we got during our visit to the other branch. It wasn’t entirely spectacular, our view, as we caught glimpses of the road (and traffic!) below through the branches of the trees nearby. What we could see clearly, however, was what was on tap at the bar.

The waiter handed over the menus. The first thing I noticed was the map of Tuscany on the cover of the menu. Tuscany – the name behind the brand (and the article!). The menu had a wide variety of choices, and in cases such as this, it was always going to be difficult to choose what to order, but decide we did. Even if it did take us a while. While we decided what we were going to have, our waiter approached us with a small bread basket – three slices of focaccia bread and three slices of brown bread – served with garlic dip and basil-infused olive oil. It was what came soon after that really surprised me. A glass of red wine! We hadn’t even ordered one, and I thought it best to enquire whether it was ‘on the house’. Looking at the confused face plastered across the waiter’s face, I knew he had made a mistake. Offering his apologies, he took the glass off the table and went back to the bar.

It was now time to decide what we were going to order. My cousins were inclined to share a vegetarian pizza, however, I advised them to go for individual dishes as I wasn’t sure whether a pizza would be enough to quench their hunger. And so, taking my advice, they decided to go for one pizza and one spaghetti dish. Meanwhile, I was in a dilemma as to what to order – do I go the Italian way and order a pasta dish or do I go for a proper carnivorous meal? Last time I visited the restaurant, I wasn’t overjoyed with the fact that I had to carve my meat from the rack of lamb, and not wanting to go through the entire experience once again, I decided to go for a pasta dish. The waiter approached our table.

 ( From left to right ): Pizza Verdure; Homemade Chicken Ravioli; Toscano Cassata
(From left to right): Pizza Verdure; Homemade Chicken Ravioli; Toscano Cassata

“We’re ready to place our order.”

“One Pizza Verdure, One Fettuccine Primavera”

“Wait! Cancel the Primavera.”

Why did I change my mind and cancel the dish? Well, the portions, I remember, were on the larger side, and I thought it would be wise to go light for mains and save room for dessert.

“So, one Pizza Verdure and one Homemade Chicken Ravioli.”

“To drink, sir?”

“Two classic mojitos, and one orange and pomegranate spritzer.”

 We first got served our drinks. The spritzer – bright orange with a touch of red (from the pomegranate) – was served in a margarita glass; while the two classic mojitos were served in ordinary tall glasses. Thankfully, we weren’t mistakenly served another glass of wine. Cheers! To describe what I drank as a ‘Mojito’ would be committing a grievous error for it tasted more like a mint and lemon cooler. The drink was overwhelmingly minty and sour and lacked the touch of sugar syrup, which would have balanced the acidity in the drink. So I need not tell you that when the waiter came to clear our table, my drink was still left half-full (hmmm…I guess I did tell you!) Having not had a sip of the spritzer, it would be erroneous of me to make any comment.

We were halfway through with our drinks, when the mains arrived.

An Indian (oh don’t start now!) recently moved to Sweden, and decided to venture out into town and have a go at authentic Swedish food. He entered the restaurant, and was seated at a table by the courteous staff. He was then handed the menu. Upon opening the menu, he was shocked at the fact that the whole menu card was in Swedish. Not having perfected the language, the diner was unable to make heads or tails out of what was written. There were no pictures too! Rather than leave the restaurant, which he felt would look quite awkward, he called for the waiter. He then proceeded to ask what each of the dishes meant. However, an amateur in Swedish, he was unable to comprehend what the waiter was saying. Looking distraught and disheartened, the man had one more idea up his sleeve. He looked at the waiter and asked “Pizza?” The waiter smiled! The diner had finally managed to get through to the waiter. The waiter said “Pizza?” and the diner nodded. The next second, the diner found himself being thrown outside the restaurant. Apparently, the waiter found it an insult that the diner has asked for a pizza in a Swedish restaurant. While this story might teach you readers what not to ask in a Swedish restaurant, the fact that the diner had gotten through a tough ordeal with the word ‘Pizza’ says a lot.

Pizza! It’s more than just a dish! It’s a language that transcends across land and water. From a staple in Italy, to a luxury in Africa, to a fast-food in India, and to a stoner’s delight in America. Pizza! Just writing about it has got my mouth watering and stomach tumbling. So it was with hyped eagerness that we watched as the waiter placed the Pizza Verdure at the centre of the table.

Before I get to reviewing the taste of the dish, an opinion formed by my cousins, I would like to point out two things. First, as the dish was placed, our eagerness turned to sorrow and slight disappointment at the size of the pizza. The dish didn’t look large enough to satisfy either of my cousin’s appetite. Second and most importantly, the dish was absent of any aroma that usually accompanies a freshly-baked pizza. Even the skinniest of people would have easily finished the entire pizza and still had room for dessert.

Okay. So now we come to the taste. As I said earlier, all of the forthcoming views on the taste of the dish are based on the opinions voiced by my cousins. And so we start at the basics – the pizza base. For any pizza to be edible, the base needs to be cooked through and through. While the base certainly was cooked on that day, my cousin did not fail to notice that a few slices were in fact on the floury side. Talk about white supremacy! The choice of vegetables, though slightly confusing (thanks to the carrot!), did not feel out of place in terms of taste. However, my cousins felt that the pizza could have done with more toppings, as it would have given a more wholesome feeling than it actually did.

Enough about the pizza. I now move on to the Ravioli. Unlike the pizza, when the ravioli dish was placed in front of me, I was a little skeptical about whether I would be able to finish the entire dish. There was no way I could share it with my cousins, who by the way are vegetarians. The dish was heavier than I had anticipated, owing to the higher number of raviolis in the bowl. The best part about watching cooking shows on the television (apart from the hilarious mistakes and the anxious results) is that you know exactly what to look for in each dish. With ravioli, you always have be on the lookout for those that are burst, for that would be a perfect indication of the thickness of the pasta. On that day, however, finding a burst ravioli was not going to happen. Not because all of them were cooked to perfection, but because of the rich layer of cream and cheese that covered all of the raviolis. So if presentation was not going to indicate how well cooked the raviolis were, it was all up to my taste buds.

Though cooked properly, the ravioli was definitely on the heavier side, partly because of the rich, creamy, cheesy sauce that covered the entire dish, and partly because the pasta had not been rolled out too well. The pasta was too thick for my liking and I had to chew my way through the dough to get to the chicken. When I did manage to get to the chicken, I found it to be quite disappointing. The chicken lacked salt (or any flavour for that matter!). I had to literally pour in the chilli flakes and oregano that sat on the table into the dish to get any flavour. To say that the only flavour I could taste was cheese would be making a gross understatement. I felt the creamy sauce to be too overpowering and that made the dish harder to finish.

Finished with our mains, we decided to order off the dessert. The last time I had visited Toscano, we had ordered a dessert that didn’t really excite me. Eager to avoid a repetition, we decided to go for the Toscano Cassata. Imagine my surprise (and slight shock) when the waiter arrived with the same dessert! Coincidence? I think not! The cassata is a traditional Italian dessert made of sponge cake, moistened with fruit juices, and layered with ricotta cheese and chocolate chips. Putting a spin on the traditional cassata, the Toscano Cassata is a layered sponge cake, with the second and third layers being chocolate and strawberry ice-cream respectively, topped with whipped cream, almond and chocolate shavings, and drizzled with chocolate sauce. The cake is also accompanied by a thin almond biscotti and two tiny globules of fruit.

The dessert overall was quite average. The biscotti, being so close to the ice-cream, had moistened and made for a very wet and tasteless side-dish. The fruits were quite the unnecessary addition on the plate, and the one globule that I bit into (I think it was peach!) was overwhelmingly sweet and ruined the after-taste. The sponge-cake, on the other hand, was quite soft and delicious when mixed with the ice-cream and whipped cream. If there was another criticism to be made about the dish, it was that the ice-creams were quite hard (some might say frozen!) and it was only after a couple of beatings with the dessert spoon that the ice-cream bar fell apart. There was certainly an icy element to the dish, which I wasn’t a fan of.

Overall, lunch at Toscano (Round 2!) was quite average. None of the dishes were particularly great enough to rave about to friends and family. Before I leave you with my ratings of the place, I would like to mention the service at Toscano. Given that the place was empty, the waiters were often found circling the diners’ tables, waiting for a dish to be completed so that they could whisk it off the table. While I admire the eagerness to serve, the near shark-like movements of the waiters could be misconstrued as unnerving to guests and sometimes quite rude. While I wouldn’t recommend diners to try out Toscano at Whitefield, my previous experience (which was much better) urges me to recommend Toscano at UB City, which has a far better view, ambience, and service. And the food isn’t too bad either! With the dessert finally done, we asked for the cheque. It certainly wasn’t value for money, but considering we did just eat their food, we had to pay! And so we did! We left the restaurant with mixed emotions – dejected with the quality of food that we were served but glad that we lived on the other side of town and would not be making such a commute any time soon.

Toscano - Forum Value Mall Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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