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Bringing Italy to Your Plate

Artusi Ristorante glitters, quite literally, with a trail of lights that follow you inside. It is inviting, warm and luxurious. The walls are adorned with paintings and there’s an actual fireplace with a live fire in the centre of the room! How often do you see lit fireplaces in Delhi*?

For me, the watershed moment in my love for Italian food was when Julia Roberts ate a plate of spaghetti while Mozart played in the background in the movie Eat Pray Love. I wanted nothing more than to devour that plate of pasta. After many unsuccessful attempts to replicate the dish, I have been on a lifelong quest to find the perfect spaghetti.

Artusi represents food from Emilia Romagna in Northeast Italy where pasta is the hero. They leave no stone unturned to perfect the dish. The pasta is entirely made by hand so the noodle is noticeably rough as compared to the smooth spaghetti cut by the pasta machine. This lends well to the spaghetti being ensconced in the tomato sauce, covering every ridge. It was not by chance that my plate was accompanied by crab. I would happily eat this spaghetti in a movie.

One of the finest dishes on the menu is a simple cheese with mushrooms and bread. Tomino is a soft cheese sourced directly from its motherland, Italy. It melts magnificently over the bread, sticking to the mushrooms, garnished with white truffle oil. Seemingly modest, the flavours are intricate and delicious. Try this dish even if you don’t love mushrooms. You will be converted for life. For dessert, pick the Panna Cotta. It is fluffy and soft, wonderfully offset by the crunchy praline, almonds and fig.

Do attempt to hide your shock when you don’t see pizza on the menu. I assure you that you won’t miss it. Pizza is a southern Italian signature whereas the northern regions have influences from countries such as Germany. Ask the owner, Oscar Balcon about the food from his homeland and he will passionately and painstakingly explain the regional variations in food across Italy. He’ll throw in a joke or two, staying true to his Italian heritage. This restaurant, he says is his retirement project. I can only hope that my retirement project is half as majestic or delicious someday.

 

Location: One Horizon Centre, Golf Course Road, Gurgaon
Meal for two: Rs. 4000

*Alright, Gurgaon

Anjora cannot resist a good prawn preparation, finds home in Chinese food anywhere in the world but will eat almost anything if it looks pretty. She is a Potter head and has recently discovered pottery as a hobby (excuse the pun).
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Pizza Express

 

Real Italian comes to Gurgaon

By Priyali Prakash

It’s time for some authentic Italian food in Gurgaon. PizzaExpress is all set to open its second outlet of the Delhi- NCR region. Delhi Food Walks is offering you a sneak peek into what this restaurant has to offer. Read on to find out!

A word of caution: if you are too accustomed to the Indian palate with its generous share of spices, this might not be the best place for you. But, if you are adventurous enough to try some Italian food exactly the way how it should be, PizzaExpress is the place to be at!

Their signature starter dish, the Doughballs, is a personal favourite. Little balls of lightly seasoned dough, served with an assortment of dips including garlic butter, pesto and pesto rosso, are the best thing to start the meal with. The doughballs are light and fluffy and served hot- the perfect beginning for an Italian meal.

Other starters include Polpette, chicken meatballs in chicken Bolognese sauce and Ramiro Al Forno for the vegetarians, sweet red pepper stuffed with goat’s cheese, mushrooms and mozzarella.

Pizzaexpress 1The pizzas at PizzaExpress come with an extremely thin crust. The management puts it as, “Simple and authentic pizzas, always served in style. Just the way the Italians do.” While the Apollo pizza comes with Tandoori chicken, modified specially for Indians, the Padana Romana with spinach, goat’s cheese, mozzarella and red and caramelised onions, finished with a drizzle of garlic oil, might be the tastiest option for vegetarians.

Also on the menu is the Pomodoro Pesto Romana. As the name suggests, pesto sauce is the hero among the toppings here, accompanied by cherry tomatoes, fresh basil and baby mozzarella. Though, the final drizzle of garlic oil makes the pizza a little too oily.

The pastas in general seem to be a little undercooked, but according to one of the very sweet staff members, that’s how the Italians like it. The Tagliatelle Pollo Bolognese, classic chicken Bolognese sauce with a little twist stands out as the best pasta on the menu. The Penne Pollo Picante would have tasted a lot better had the sauce not been as dry.

As far as the desserts are concerned, Banoffee Pie wins hands down. The classic dessert, served with a dollop of mascarpone cheese on the side is a sure shot winner.

PizzaExpress is all beautified and lit up to welcome you. Pay them a visit to find out more about what they have to offer!

Anubhav Sapra is an avid foodie! He is a Founder but proudly calls himself a Foodie-in-chief at Delhi Food Walks. He is also a street-food and Indian regional cuisine connoisseur and loves to write about street-food.
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Bloggers’ Lunch @ Tonino

April 21, 2014

Bloggers’ Lunch @ Tonino

By Anubhav Sapra

 

On Saturday, 19th April 2014, Tonino celebrated their 10th anniversary. I am glad that I was a part of this revelry, celebrating with them a decade of their successful run in Delhi! One of the finest Italian restaurants in the City well-known for serving authentic Italian cuisine, ToninoIs famous for havingbrought to life the romantic old world charm.

Conceptualized and created in 2004 by The Eagle Group of Companies, Mr. Parmeet Singh Sawhney, Managing Partner and Mr. Tonino Generale of Italy, Tonino is known for its exquisitely prepared Italian dishes and extensive wine collection. Meticulously designed interiors and exteriors are proof enough that the Sawhneys with Chef Suman have left no stone unturned to endow the place with the distinct rustic charm of Tuscany.

The lunch started with a brief introduction by Mrs. Simran Sawhney.  She graciously took us all on a tour of Tonino’s history, beginning with its inception in 2004. She shared that “Tonino was created to provide the most scrumptious authentic  Italian cuisine in Tuscan surroundings where you can enjoy your meal in the Al fresco style or dine indoors in the lavish Italian old world comfort”. To her, these 10 years are not about the statistics, but about a journey of passion, of creating a place in Delhi where one can forget one’s background, and experience the romantic charm of Italy. Food is not the only prerogative;the ambience and the people engaged in running the restaurant all collectively work towards adding that personal touch. She beautifully sums up the discussion- “Tonino believes in relationships. People experience the ambience and talk about it”.

The interaction with Corporate Chef Suman, trained with the ‘European Champion’ and the ‘Five Star Chef’, was very engaging. He travels to different regions of Italy every year in a bid to provide a traditional experience to the guests that incorporates regional Italian food and its culture. He said that great care has been taken to keep the taste authentic by using original ingredients imported specially from Italy.

20140419_145402The Chef had planned a delicious menu for the lunch. The food journey started with Aspragi Bellavista 650 (fresh asparagus and roasted red pepper with garlic crumbs) and Pollo con Pesto( pan grilled pesto marinated chicken with parmesan cheese ball).  I liked the Pollo con Pesto as the chicken was juicy and tender.  In the first course section, I had Tortelloni Di Spinachi Ricotta (Spinach ricotta and basil tortelloni with truffle oil and parmesan butter cream) and finally in the main course, I had Costolette Di Pollo Con Salsa Piccante (Chicken chops with BBQ sauce served with grilled potatoes in vegetables) Being a street food connoisseur, my instincts lead me to compare every cuisine. From eating at fine dining restaurants to the food sold by street vendors, I have done it all. The Salsa Piccante reminds me of the desi style mutton chops I had at Sardarji’s meat shop in Bara Hindu Rao. Tonino’s Chicken chops were truly delectable, very soft and juicy. I had finished my serving within seconds.

20140419_152125For desserts I had the wonderful experience of having Lasagna Di Cioccolato which is a Chocolate Lasagna with layers of warm chocolate cake with white and dark chocolate served with vanilla ice cream.  The very process of describing it for my readers is enough to titillate my senses. Apparently, this dessert happens to be Sonia Gandhi’s favorite!

In a nutshell, Tonino is an ideal destination in Delhi for Italian food lovers and offers a perfect place to unwind inafter a rough day. Enjoy savory regional specialties from Italy in a relaxed ambience, under the moon-lit skies.

 

 

 

Anubhav Sapra is an avid foodie! He is a Founder but proudly calls himself a Foodie-in-chief at Delhi Food Walks. He is also a street-food and Indian regional cuisine connoisseur and loves to write about street-food.