Italian with an Indian sensibility
The interiors are cramped, the service is affably clueless but it’s crowded through the day because of the pizzas.
Atmospherics: You don’t have to navigate all the way down Hauz Khas Village because Pizzeria Rossa is the very first eatery as you enter and there are no steps to climb either! The cladding on the walls and the false ceiling have turned it into a dark trattorio-style space which would have suited a colder climate than ours, but it’s still extremely popular. They call themselves a pizzeria with good reason: they are the reason most visitors are here, given the quality. The base, the toppings, the witty combinations: just a beer and a pizza is a good enough reason for a visit.
Table talk: the bbq chicken pizza (Rs 435) has a sprinkling of caramelized onions atop it which lifts it up from the ordinary. The onions have been caramelized carefully so that they are not burnt, but add a delightfully sweet aftertaste to the chicken. Even better is the Rossa special French fries pizza (Rs 375) that actually does feature crisp French fries as the main topping. It is no more authentic than, say, chicken, cranberry & Brie pizza, but it is a rather witty take on America meets Italy and it is not as gross as it sounds. It is the signature pizza of the restaurant.
Next to the pizzas, the rest of the menu is a bit of a pastiche. Some dishes work; others don’t. The Arancini (Rs 275) are very well made here, with oozing mozzarella in the centre of a ball of rice that is coated in crumbs and fried. The baked artichokes (Rs350) were classic enough, but were a surprisingly lily-livered addition to a menu that glorifies French fries as a pizza topping! As for the saffron flavoured seafood risotto (Rs 465), it violated the cardinal rule of Italian culinary beliefs: not to mix cheese and seafood in one dish.
Plus and minus: The exponential rise in the number of restaurants in the city has meant that half-trained and un-trained staff is sent out to tables without supervision. That is what has happened in Hauz Khas Village and Pizzeria Rossa is no exception. On the plus side, the carrot cake is lightly flavoured with cinnamon and the Sambuca lava cake has been made with an extremely high degree of skill.
Must try: Grilled river sole in lemon caper sauce; ricotta ravioli with almond butter sauce; tiramisu
26 Ground floor, Hauz Khas Village
Meal for two: Rs 2,000