Blurb: A perfect restaurant in every respect
Intro: Great food, interesting menu, European service and excellent desserts
Atmospherics: When you enter the door, you migrate in an instant from hot, dusty, noisy Delhi and into Italian soil. From the owners to the manager to the chef – everybody is either Italian or has an Italian connection and it shows. There is a tiny Italian-style pastry counter near the entrance, perfect for a coffee during the day or an aperitif in the evening. Most important of all, the chef is from the Emilia Romagna region of Italy and it shows in her food. The expat crowd seems to have discovered Artusi already: the 40 seater was bursting at the seams with Europeans. What struck me was the quality of all their produce, from rucola leaves that were tender, to tomino cheese that was as fresh as it would be in Italy.
Table talk: Tomino (Rs 680) is an extremely generous portion of assorted sautéed mushrooms and a chunk of tomino cheese half melted over a bed of bruschetta drizzled over with truffle oil. It is a steal at the price because of the quantity served. It was the same with piadina e crescione (Rs 680) a platter piled with the freshest of smoked meats like Parma ham and mortadella. Risotto ortolano (Rs 640) was elevated to an art form with the rice firm to the bite and the diced vegetables imparting their savouriness to the dish. My companion ordered gnocchi pesto e patate (Rs 740) where the pesto did not drown the gnocchi, but complemented them. For main course, I had branzino cartoccio (Rs 900), sea bass baked in foil and served in it, with cherry tomatoes, olives, potatoes and artichokes. The cuisine is based on fresh ingredients, cooked simply and according to Italian principles. No plate suffers from too much fuss. The finest part of the meal is undoubtedly the dessert. Ask for a sugar-free option anywhere else, and you’ll be served something that is overly sweet and none too fresh. At Artusi, you’ll be given a choice of pannacotta with figs (Rs 780) or cream of pistachio with coffee gelee (Rs 690). Both are made so that the sweetness is only a whisper.
Plus and Minus: Such high standards are notoriously difficult to keep up. May they continue the way they’ve begun.
Must try: Prawn and avocado salad, caprese salad, Battuta di pollo
Food: 4, Service: 3.50, Ambience: 3.50
M 24 M Block Market, GK 2
From: 12 noon to 3 pm and 6.30 pm to 11.30 pm
Alcohol served; credit cards accepted
Meal for two: Rs 3,500