Blurb: A little trattorio in the midst of Golf Course Road
Atmospherics: I am not one of those who love loitering in malls: I find the one-size-fits-all sameness dreary in a country like ours where difference ought to be celebrated with elation. That said, South Point Mall is one of my favourite malls: its blend of Korean bakeries, Thai spas, Japanese restaurants and the best coffee bar in the NCR is unbeatable, if you can ignore the endless corridors that echo like all malls do. Amaretto Café is a cosy white on white restaurant on the lower ground floor. It has been repurposed from being an art gallery to being a restaurant, but the transition has been cleverly accomplished by retaining a few pictures from the gallery: presumably they are for sale; they certainly don’t have an Italian theme, but they don’t clash with the décor that has been kept neutral. The kitchen includes an enormous pizza oven: a lesser restaurateur would have been tempted to dispense with it because of the sheer space it occupies. The day of my visit coincided with their first birthday, so all diners were given a glass of bubbly gratis. For a one year old, the kitchen is remarkably self-assured
Table talk: Amaretto Café serves food that is on the cusp between authentic and comfort. Smoked chicken and mixed green salad with Asian dressing (Rs 435) is not quite Italian but, like the prawns with panko crumbs, manages to fit into the scheme of things because of the complete lack of pretension here. Besides, the dressing moistens the rocket and lettuce. Spinach, ricotta and walnut crespelle (Rs 545) is a pancake-like roll filled with chopped spinach, ricotta and small bits of walnut just to provide a crunch. Cooking is all about proportion, and that is what the kitchen in Amaretto Café has managed to ace. For main course, we had prawns with garlic chips, crushed baked aubergine stack (Rs 1100). Some of the combinations that one encounters here are rather unusual to say the least, but all of them work. The textural contrast of the prawns with the blandness of the aubergines blends quite well.
Plus and minus: In the one year of its existence, the place has garnered its fair share of loyalists, but it does have to rationalize the prawn malai curry on its menu!
Must have: watermelon, feta and rocket salad; prosciutto pizza; salted caramel cake.
Ground floor, South Point Mall, Golf Course Road, Gurgaon
Tel: 0124-7177357; 8180329955
Wine and beer served; credit cards accepted
Open from 10 am to 11 pm
Meal for two: Rs 2,500