Words: Rihaab Mowlana
Photographs: Manoj Ratnayake
Aqua Forte is an epicure’s treasure nestled down Leyn Baan Street in the iconic Galle Fort, and serves traditional Italian cuisine with a twist. Housed in a striking Dutch colonial property, the interior is simple, tasteful and timeless; the walls adorned with an impressive collection of etchings by renowned Italian artist, Walter Valentini. Dining at Aqua Forte is an experience curated to take the diner on a journey to Italy, integrating ambience and cuisine masterfully.
Chef Roberto Vicario has mastered Italian cooking down to an art, merging the old with the new. “Tradition is a gift of the past to the present,” he notes. “We must be grateful for this gift, respect it and use it wisely”. Chef Roberto - who has a background in engineering - is, without a doubt, an innovator who consistently pays homage to tradition through his food. The food at Aqua Forte is prepared with painstaking attention to detail and inventive techniques, a testament to the ingenious chef’s ethos.
Aqua Forte serves homemade breads, ravioli and more, prepared using quality Italian ingredients including locally sourced fresh produce. Chef Roberto delighted our guests with a tasting menu, starting lunch off with 2 varieties of Antipasti, the Carpaccio di zucchine and the Carpaccio di tonno marinato alla siciliana which were not just visually appealing, but comprised a sophisticated play on ingredients. The Ravioli alla Norma and Risotto al basilico e gamberi were a delightful duo of well executed Primi. The guests were also wowed by the Polenta di montagna and Filetto di lampuga, cavolfiore, porri e barbabietola.
Lunch concluded with the perennial favourite, the Tiramisu, and the La Pastiera Napoletana, a Neapolitan shortbread cake. Sublime and delectable, the afternoon at Aqua Forte culminated on a high note, firmly cementing its standing as one of the leading Italian restaurants in the country.