Food Mood: Apertivo at Serafina. Bengaluru

Serafina (Bengaluru) had invited a few bloggers and me to partake in their version, or Italy’s version, of the happy hour, known as “Apertivo”. But unlike the better known buy-1-get-1-free happy hour, this is a more polished affair with pre-dinner cocktails and bite-sized appetizers to set the mood for dinner. Traditionally, the Apertivo starts just after working hours.

We started our evening with a Campari Spritz which is extremely light on the palette and offers a refreshing taste each time. However, as someone who prefers a stronger drink, this cocktail wasn’t my favourite. But it is an ideal drink for someone looking at something light to accompany their appetizers. Speaking of which, we started out with two salads. The first was an Insalate Rinforzo. (Yes, it does sound like the name of a rather rugged 4x4).  The salad is a traditional Neapolitan Christmas-Eve cold salad.  Traditionally made of pickled cauliflower, olives, pickled peppers and capers, the salad was a completely new taste to me. I was told that it goes best with the heavier meats and is traditionally had between bites to ensure the mouth is cleansed to allow one to savour the sauces of the meat better. The first thought in my head was ‘I need pork ribs to be sure of this claim’. The second salad had a more familiar taste and was a mix of tomatoes, onion, beans and various grains. It was on the sweeter side and the grains gave it the taste more suited to the Indian taste bud.

Campari Spritz

Insalate Rinforzo

Grains and veggie salad

We were offered two varieties of sangria – a white wine sangria with thyme and a red wine with rosemary. I chose the former and instantly took a liking to the taste. The thyme offers a nice herbal tinge in the end as the wine goes down your throat. Made cold to just the right temperature, this was definitely a good choice considering I traditionally favour red wine over white.

White Wine Sangria with Thyme
Next up was the cheese platter which had way too many varieties of cheese for me to pronounce or recognize. I’ll take a shot though. The platter comes with Parmigiano Reggiano, Smoked Scarmoza, Provolone Piccante, Gorgonzola Dolce, Pecorio Romano accompanied with Balsamic reduction, wine poached pear, onion crackers, candied walnuts, olives and fig pate. Phew!!!

Cheese Platter
I’m not an avid cheese connoisseur so I symbolically tried a few. What I do know about cheese is about mozzarella, and that’s primarily because of my sordid love affair with pizza. Fresh-made mozzarella is hard to find and that can make or break a pizza. Owing to a very short shelf-life, fresh mozzarella cheese is hard to transport over long distances. Lucky for Bengaluru, we have a cheese-maker in town and Serafina have been spot-on to use fresh cheese that makes a world of difference. This was evident in the refreshing taste of the Caprese Skewers which consisted of fresh mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and Basil. This light snack will definitely hit the right spot thanks to the cheese.

Caprese Skewers
We then tried the Sausage Pizza rolls which were fresh out of the oven. Rolled with garlic pork sausages and broccoli the pizza rolls were scrumptious. Equally tasty were the Gamberi Fritti (Shrimp popcorn) and the Mozzarella Sandwiches. I also got a taste of the Negroni, which despite having the milder Campari, was a decently strong cocktail. There was also a rather healthy Citrus Salad up for grabs. I was not a fan of that. So I won’t say anything cruel.

Sausage Pizza Rolls

Sausage Pizza Rolls

Shrimp Popcorn

Mozarella Sandwiches
Now for the crowning glory of the entire meal. Well, this time we have two. The first is the pan-fried Chicken Wings. While this isn’t the traditional spicy wings that I’ve gotten used to, the wings were the best I’ve had in a long time. Countries could go to war thanks to these wings. The first plate that was brought out was polished off almost instantaneously. So everyone was careful enough when the second plate came out to take their time and relish every bite, occasionally turning to the person next to them to say with a mouthful,”These are awesome”. When you head to Serafina, don’t forget to ask for this. The pan frying and the sauce on top make this an excellent meal al by itself. Go ahead, pamper yourself...order two plates!

Chicken Wings
The next awesome part of the meal was a cocktail known as A Monk’s Sin. Made up of dark rum, chocolate ganache, banana and whip and served in a shot glass, this is one yummy cocktail. While some of you might raise an eyebrow at the combination of the ingredients, none of them have an overwhelming taste. This cocktail is lighter than having a Bailey’s Irish shot, but it has a fun taste to it.
Monk's Sin
Our evening ended with a simple Pizza Primavera. Hand stretched and baked on a stone-hearth, the topping offered fresh tomato, fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese and garden vegetables. This was an enjoyable thin crust pizza. I do however, need to go back and try the pizza separately because I kept fantasising about the chicken wings.

Pizza Primavera
The ambience of Serafina is quite simple and pleasing. All the paintings on the wall are done by a single artistic team responsible for the look and feel of Serafina restaurants world over. The place can seat about 140 people, but still seems quite spread out. There is a rather cute outdoor area on the first floor that’s ideal for a small gathering. 

The Apertivo is available on weekdays between 4 pm and 7 pm. While I don’t have the prices with me, the experience was really nice and is something folks must try out. I do believe they might be extending the same to the weekend to ensure everyone in Bengaluru gets a taste of what Serafina has to offer.