An extended summer in the capital always brings forth banal, insipid environs, which could best be countered with weekend getaways to picturesque locales or by exploring delicious European cuisine within the confines of the city itself.
With an exquisite Italian lunch, prepped with authentic delicacies served by chef Seerat Johar of the Establishment Ristorante and Patisserie here, the vapidness and lull of the city can be instantly forgotten.
Located in Meher Chand Market, Lodhi Colony, the simplistic yet suave Italian restaurant exhibited an experiential menu created and served by chef Johar, who co-founded the space with restaurateur Pushkar Sharma of the long-running Metropolis in Paharganj.
“We have two things running together, the restaurant and the patisserie. Pushkar comes from the restaurant background, I come from pastry background. Now, he has been running a restaurant since three generations. We already had a great menu running and now we decided to showcase something special.
“He handpicked the menu. He hired a lady from Italy, who trained our entire staff. That’s how it came to be,” Johar said about the experiential menu.
The sumptuous menu comprised the Bruschetta Pomodoro, Tuna and Egg Salad as appetizers and also offered handpicked cuisines like the Lasagne Al Montone, Pasta Al Mediterraneo, Pasta Ala Carbonara, Gnocchi Di Patate al Sugo di Pomodoro and the Zucchini e Gorgonzola Risotto.
Beginning with the appetizers, the Tuna and Egg salad was a well-presented, light meal that set the tone for the scrumptious pastas and lasagnas to come ahead. Well portioned with egg whites and fresh tuna, the dish created a deft combination of the two.
Among the mains was served a portion of Lasagne Al Montone, which consisted of tomato sauce, bechamel, mutton mince and cheese. The sauce, which was made in-house by the chef, spruced up the dish with a tangy taste. With the right proportion of cheese thrown in, the lasagna delivered a transcendent flavour to the taste buds.
The Pasta Ala Carbonara, which was made of cream and bacon, was simple yet delicious and complemented the lasagna serving.
After lasagnas and pastas, how can a specially crafted Italian menu be complete without pizzas?
To satiate the taste buds of pizza enthusiasts, the chef included three varieties: the Pizza al Basilico e Bocconcini, Pizza Manhattan and the Pizza Establishment.
Initiating the pizza tasting ritual with the Pizza Establishment, which consisted of olive and jalapeno, the real taste of Italy came alive with the serving of Pizza al Basilico e Bocconcini.
Consisting of tomato sauce, bocconcini, jalapeno, olive, sundried tomato and parmesan, the pizza gave a delightful experience of traditional Italian thin-crust pizzas. The taste of the bocconcini taking forefront and jalapeno and olive making it equally scrumptious, the Pizza al Basilico e Bocconcini was the highlight of the menu.
Complementing the meals with a delicious yet not very sweet Summer Berry Love smoothie and a fascinating Flourless Fudge Cake, the food-tasting came to savoury, unforgettable closure.
With more authentic European eateries mushrooming in the capital, one can hope the food environment to undergo a positive change.
Highlighting the need for change in Indians’ food palettes, Johar said: “We want Indians to learn and adapt our taste. We don’t want ourselves to change for them. We want them to change their tastes.”
“We are not making extreme changes. There is a notion that people can’t enjoy authentic Italian food in India. We want to change that perception.”
Where: 96, Meher Chand Market, Lodhi Colony, New Delhi.
Meal for two: Rs 1200 + taxes (no alcohol).
Timings: 12 noon to 11 p.m.