Italian cuisine is a favorite in my city Delhi and there are a wide variety of Italian restaurants, as well as restaurants serving some sort of Italian dishes on their menu. Artusi Ristorante E Bar, in South Delhi, is the newest entrant in the list of itlan restaurants on the city, having opened its doors just 3 weeks back. We were invited by the restaurant for a lunch and taste their food. Since, I love Italian cuisine, I promptly took up the invite and had lunch here last week along with the husband. I totally loved the food and it was one of the best Italian food I have had.
Artusi Ristorante is located in M block Market, GK II, south Delhi. The décor is minimal & classy, with white & yellow being the dominating color, with pops of colorful showpieces in the form of pickled jars, bright ceramic, ware artwork on the walls & roses. The ceramic ware & roses were the favorite touches in the décor for me and lent an air of warmth. Also of note were, what seemed to us, classic old Italian songs playing in the background, which, though we did not understand a word of, was very relaxing (and I would recommend them never to change the music they play!!!). Oscar Balcon, the husband of the co-owner Gurpinder Balcon, greeted us warmly and explained to us the concept of the restaurant.
Artusi Ristorante E Bar takes inspiration from the cuisine of Emilia-Romagna region in Italy, one of the most beautiful regions of Italy and Mister Pellegrino Artusi (the pioneer of Italian cuisine). The restaurant’s menu has a variety on offer home-made artisanal pastas, farm fresh ingredients and imported specialty items of highest quality.
Since it was a new establishment, we wanted to order as per the owner’s recommendation but Oscar confidently said we could order anything from the menu, everything was available!! We were served an assortment of fresh breads, with pesto while we went through the menu. The breads were soft, fresh & addictive to the now grumbling tummy. The menu is vast, with a lot of pasta, fish & meat. In fact, I found a lot of handmade pastas & raviolis to be part of the dishes in many section. This, Oscar told me was because Emilio Romango region cuisine has a rich tradition of a variety of handmade pastas & raviolis, which they have tried to incorporate in their menu. The husband opted for the non-vegetarian tasting menu (comprising of 5 course meal) without the dessert, while I opted for 3 courses from the vegetarian tasting menu and a Risotto from some other section of the menu.
In the first course, I was served Piadina e Crescione (home-made Piadina with cheese and a Crescione with herbs), while the husband was served Piadina e Crescione (Home-made Piadina with cheese and Prosciutto di Parma Traditional Emilia-Romagna Crescione with herbs). The Piadina & Crescione was common in both our courses, while we found the Piadina to be more like a hard bread, we really liked the Crescione with herbs & cheese making it a comfortable, flavorful bite. The husband also liked the Prosciutto di Parma, which was cured nicely.
In the second course, I was served Rucola e Carciofi (Arugola and artichoke salad finished with pecorino cheese and lemon dressing). I liked the mildly flavored dressing, which enabled the taste of the cheese, artichoke & arugula combination to shine through in every bite. The husband was served Cappelletti in Brodo (Artfully hat-shaped pasta pockets, made one by one by our chef, filled with ricotta and Parmiggiano cheeses - cooked and served in piping hot broth), which, though part of the non- vegetarian tasting menu, did not have any meat or fish in it. The husband liked the hot broth as well as the pasta filled with the cheeses and urged me to try it too; I found the pasta to be incredibly comforting, as the cheeses burst out inside the mouth with their flavors and left a wonderful aftertaste.
In the third course, I was served Raviolo Asparagi (Square pasta pockets, all made by hand, and filled with ricotta cheese spinach and chard - set in a buttery sage and asparagus sauce). This was the best dish of the whole lunch for me. The Raviolo was smooth, flavorful and the cheeses just melted in the mouth. I could come back here just to have this dish! The husband was served Pappardelle alla Faraona (Home-made pasta in the shape of very broad noodles set in a ragu' of slow-cooked grandmother style guinea hen and vegetables), which he liked.
In the fourth course, I was served Risotto Ortolano (Highest quality Carnaroli rice and seasonal vegetables and authentic Grana Padana cheese are used to make this traditional Italian risotto). This was a very different kind of Risotto, from the usual I have had at any Italian restaurant in the city. It was firmer, but creamy, incredibly flavorful with the flavor cheese & seasonal vegetables coming through beautifully. The husband also tasted it and totally loved it. In fact, when I could not finish the dish portions, he took spoonfuls of it and finished it for me! The husband was served Tagliatina e Insalata (Thinly sliced meat accompanied by a salad of arugula and artichokes, finished with a lemon dressing and cheese flakes). He liked the salad in this dish, however, sine pork is really not his thing, the meat did not work for him. We also had fresh lime soda & water melon juice along with the meal, both of which were fresh and done well.
In the dessert, we opted for Panna Cotta, Fichi e Mandorle (Pudding served with caramelized figs and roasted almonds), which was termed an Artusi Ristorante signature dessert in the menu. We liked the combination of carmalized figs & roasted almonds and the pudding was sweet, but not sugary. A thumbs up!!
We found the food at Artusi Ristorante E Bar to be innovate, fresh and executed well. Their dishes rely on the freshness & flavors of the ingredients to work their magic and personally I loved the minimal use of seasonings (or spices). Their menu is refreshingly different from other Italian restaurants in Delhi and has a wonderful range of home made pastas. I sincerely hope they keep their food standards. We would certainly come back for the fresh home made pastas, warm service and the lovely music.
~ Bon Apetit ~