by The India Tube
4 August 2015
M-24 Greater Kailash-II, M Block Market, Delhi.
Open daily, 11.30-1am.
Check all thoughts of red, white, and pink sauces at the door please.
Artusi, in GK-II’s M Block market, is blessedly free of all Indian-Italian flourishes. Instead you’ll be trying less commonly seen Northern Italian fare with prosperous flourishes of truffle and lobster garnishing many dishes. The décor has all the predictable trappings of an old-world Italian joint, in a sort of cramped, neighbourly way, but it’s more soothing than stereotype, and as the wine list is long and extremely reasonably priced, and we recommend that you settle in with a glass of prosecco as you peruse the equally-long food menu.
Crescioni romagnoli, or fried dough pockets filled with spinach, herbs, and cheese, were light and moreish, while the calamari-served with sour cream, a tangy tomato dip, and a squeeze of lime-was so light and subtly breaded that it was hard to believe it was fried. We offset this doughy start with a ferro salad, an artfully composed plate that brought together rocket, grapes, raisins, pear and goats cheese into a refreshing opening act.
It’s the ‘artisanal’ pasta that gets all the press at this bustling little spot; on our visit the kitchen demonstrated such skill with their homemade pasta that our second course completely stole the show. Top picks include the pumpkin-and-potato stuffed tortello in a gorgonzola sauce and a divine, oozy cappelletto carbonara, with hat-shaped pasta pockets stuffed with cheese bacon, and cream.
The pasta is exceptional, but don’t let that deter you from ordering one of their satisfying, beautifully-fired proteins, because the braciola di maiale is a hunk of pork that demands eating. Oscar, Artusi’s extremely charming owner and host, urged us to try the fries and I’m glad we did. Drizzled with white truffle oil and dusted with Grana Padano , those aren’t potatoes I’m likely to forget in a hurry.
But I’ve saved the best for last. I’d heard about Artusi’s panna cotta before our visit, but nothing prepared me for the smooth, wobbly beauty of this gorgeous pud, or the subtle chewiness that came from the stippling of sweet figs and toasted almond slivers. Artusi is excellent for authentic, accessible, carefully rusticated Italian cooking, and a new favourite.