Cuisine: Italian bar snacks
Atmospherics: The best little bar in the city. The music doesn’t blast your ear-drums, there’s none of the ‘open tab’ accounts that are the norm in places where crowds have to roar to make themselves heard. This is a stylish bar, in the manner of an Italian bar where an espresso machine sits right next to the alcoholic beverages, the way it would in Italy. There are bar stools, tables for two and a searingly red sofa that just begs to be occupied for an hour or three. Upstairs, Diva Italiano continues as usual. The collaboration is between bar operator PCO whose cocktails are deservedly famous and Ritu Dalmia, whose take on Italian bar food is unlike anything that has been seen or done before in Delhi. This works well for a more mature crowd. You can nibble on crudites or fox-nuts or order more substantial snacks, but do be aware that they will be brought to you in a certain sequence, ranging from light to heavy, ending with pizza, which will be served to you by slice.
Table talk: Fig, onion jam and goat cheese bruschetta (Rs 530) is deeply umami because of the interplay of flavours, though my personal favourite is the chicken liver pate and green apple (Rs 530), where the apple is a razor thin slice to contrast with the buttery softness of the pate. Burrata with pizza fritta, arugula and chilli relish (Rs 590) proves, if proof was necessary, that Dalmia can turn out vegetarian fare that is as delicious as the meaty treats of Italy. Prawns in a blanket (Rs 650) feature four large prawns tightly wound with a thin slice of bacon and cooked expertly so that the bacon is crisp yet the prawns remain succulent. The lemon aioli served with it is pleasant enough, but pales in comparison with the smoked red pepper sauce that is served with the (complimentary) grissini when you order your first drink. The cep pizza (Rs 730) is a vegetarian masterpiece of meaty mushrooms, béchamel and truffle oil.
Plus and minus: This is the definitive bar for anyone older than teeny-boppers! The gratis snacks served with your first drink are first-rate and delicious. Bhaskar, the (alarmingly) young bartender can make you a deadly cocktail of your choice, just by talking to you for a few minutes. Some talent, that!
Food: 4, Service: 4, Décor: 4
M 8A, Ground floor, M Block Market, Greater Kailash II
Open from 12 noon to 12 midnight
Meal for two: Rs 3000