I’ve lost count of the number of times I have revisited a favourite restaurant and have been disappointed at falling standards. When I was told that Azzuro has a branch in DLF, I was almost certain I would have to write it off. However, thankfully, that is not the case. The DLF menu is tiny as of now, but they want to grow into full service slowly yet surely.
All my favourites are there: the Risotto Croquettes (Rs 275) are as good as the ones in the Saket outlet, though I wish they’d use more mozzarella. The Arborio is jazzed up with a slice of jalapeno for a hot bite. It’s not authentic: it’s not even supposed to be – Azzuro is all about Mediterranean flavours, and it mixes and matches with great success; that is what its signature is. Take for instance Hummus with Lamb and Caramelized Onion (Rs 225). You’ll never get the combination in Lebanon, Syria or Jordan, but both components are representative of the cuisine of the region. The onion really is caramelized and is sweet as a consequence, while the mince is slightly spicy and the hummus is creamy and mild: a perfect blend.
The other of my favourites is Pizza Secco (Rs 250). Sold nowhere else in the capital, many people do not recognize it as a pizza at all, because to us, pizzas have become all about the topping. This is a pizza that is all about the base to the extent that there is nothing else but the base. The topping consists of nothing but a few grains of peperoncino and oven-dried garlic. If the base turns out too stodgy or thick, pizza secco would be a disaster: it just has to be light yet filling, soft yet crisp. You sprinkle olive oil on the pizza at the table – Azzuro is one of the few restaurants that actually serves excellent extra virgin olive oil on the table.
Harissa Chicken (Rs 275) resembled a tandoori chicken closely enough; even the spice level was about the same, except that harissa is the fiery red spice mix of Morocco. You can also have all manner of pizzas (Rs 350-475) with chicken and spicy chicken toppings in addition to the bona fide toppings of cheese and tomato, pepperoni, rocket leaves etc.
The finest item on the menu is Lamb Picatta (Rs 425) that consists of fine slices of lamb cut across the grain, charcoal grilled and flavoured with Moroccan spices.
Whatever else you do, leave some place for dessert. Whether you have the Orange and Almond Torte (Rs 200), the Bailey’s Cheesecake or the Coffee and Chocolate Mousse Cake, it will be one of the finest, most original desserts in the city.
D 147 The Shopping Mall, Arjun Marg, DLF Phase 1, Gurgaon
Tel: 95124 4289253-4
Open from 12.30 pm to 3.30 pm and 7.30 pm to 11.30 pm
All credit cards accepted; alcohol licence expected shortly
Average cost of a meal for two: Rs 1,000