Shangri-La’s Mactan’s Acqua Cucina Italiana restaurant welcomes guests with a renewed menu formed by resident Italian Chef Gianfranco Pirrone.
Chef Franco, as he is commonly called, gets from his Italian ancestors to create a menu that reflects his culinary philosophy that genuine Italian taste are created with only the freshest seasonal ingredients.
“Italian cuisine is characterized by its simplicity, with many dishes having only four to eight ingredients. We (Italian chefs) rely chiefly on the quality of the ingredients, rather than on elaborate preparation,” said Chef Franco.
This is evident in his new menu, with dishes Chef Franco described as simple and conventional, concentrating on the natural simplicity of his chosen ingredients. The new menu offers Risotto con Gamberi Profumato Allo Zafferano (Saffron Risotto with Shrimp), Fettucelle al Tartufo Nero e Porcini (Fettuccini with Truffle and Porcini Mushroom Cream Sauce) and Agnolotti Rossi di Bufala con Pesto Cremoso alla Genovese (Red Agnolotti filled with Buffalo Mozarella in Creamy Basil Pesto Sauce). All these three dishes act as staple Italian ingredients – truffle, porcini mushroom, buffalo mozzarella and saffron.
While being genuinely classics, Chef Franco presents his creativity with a tastefully innovative take on traditional Italian favorites. The all time favorite Carbonara Pasta is transformed into a white pizza, while a bed of salad is playfully re-engineered into Pizza Franco.
Chef Franco’s sweet take on pizza is Pizza Dolce Vita or oven-baked pizza with mascarpone cheese, different tropical sliced fruits, hazelnut praline fondant sauce and Chantilly cream.
Diners will also love the homemade fresh pastas on the new menu. Conventionally used in Italy, fresh pasta holds up beautifully under heavy, hearty sauces and is appreciated for its al-dente texture. Chef Franco recommends Spaghetti al Profumo di Sicilia – a pasta with Scallops, Citrus Pesto in a Bed of Pistachio Cream Sauce; and Taglionili Al Nero con Polpa di Granchio – a Black Tagliolini with Creamy Crabmeat Sauce.
Like most Italian chefs, Chef Franco grew up in a family of enthusiastic cooks from where he quickly learned the family recipes. Paying homage to his culinary roots, Chef Franco included in Acqua’s new menu a much-loved family heirloom recipe – Parmigiana di Melanzane con Pomodori Pachino e Bufala or Nonna (grandmother in Italy) Maria’s Layered Eggplant Cake with Buffalo Mozzarella and Cherry Tomatoes.
“This is a dish that I remember my grandmother used to prepare for us often. This dish brings up a lot of warm memories of growing up in Sicily,” said Chef Franco.
A resort classic, Acqua is a contemporary restaurant offering Italian comfort food in a friendly, inviting ambiance. It has been consistently named as one of Tatler Philippines’ Best Restaurants. For inquiries and table reservations, please contact Shangri La’s Mactan Resort & Spa, Cebu’s Restaurant Reservations and Information Center at (63 32) 231 8224 or email [email protected].