Italiano is the oldest surviving Italian restaurants in Gurgaon, setting up base at Nathupur in 2004 and opening another branch at Omaxe mall on Sohna Road. At their new branch, the prep is done from the base kitchen at Nathupur itself to maintain the quality. “We focus on authentic food, and fresh ingredients,” says Chef Animesh Khare. Their clientele is primarily corporate, keeping the restaurant pretty busy at lunch and dinner. The décor inside has a Mediterranean feel to it with ample natural lighting.
I look at their detailed menu, and am excited to find saltimbocca (Rs 245) there. Saltimbocca is popular starter in southern Switzerland, Italy, Spain and Greece. This dish there is made of veal lined with prosciutto and sage and then marinated in wine. The re-engineered version in this restaurant has chicken sausage wrapped with bacon and marinated in a honey and mustard dressing. The name literally translates as hop-in-the-mouth and is singularly appropriate – you can never have too many of these. There is something addictive about the combination of bacon, honey and mustard.
On chef’s recommendation, I try the pizza verdue (Rs 320) next. Incidentally, pizza used to be a dish of the poor people; it was sold in the street and was not considered a kitchen recipe for a long time. Originally, the idea for pizza came from a Pita, or flatbread, which was placed with various toppings. Eventually they placed tomato sauce on the Pitas and created Italian pizza. The traditional pizza was usually oregano, virgin olive oil, tomato sauce and basil. Our pizza verdue is topped with cheese, bell peppers, mushrooms and zucchini along with the traditional toppings. With a crisp, thin crust and all the veggies on top, it makes for a light bite, albeit a bit dry on the palate.
It is time for my main course. I order the a (Rs 375) which may confuse Italian speakers, but thankfully the English translation clears the plot. This dish is essentially roasted chicken breasts served in a red wine sauce. Though the sauce does not taste of red wine, it does taste good. The chicken breast is tender and succulent, and pairs well with the piquant sauce. The accompanying veggies add a pertinent counterpoint to the taste. All in all this is a good dish indeed.
For any Italian, very much like us Indians, the meal is incomplete without the dolci. So I order the only real Italian dish on the dessert menu, the classic tiramisu (Rs 185). The dish arrives looking pretty on the plate. The taste is competent, like that of a good creamy pastry, but not authentic.
Italiano’s business has grown in synch with Gurgaon itself. It is heartening to know that they have opened a second branch to reach out to the foodies living at Sohna road. With great ambience and good food, I look forward to their becoming the made-in-Gurgaon local food chain soon.
Ratings out of 5
Food & Drinks: 3.0 | Ambiance: 3.0 | Service: 3.5 |Overall: 3.0
Meal for Two: 1500 | Alcohol: Yes | Credit Card: Yes|
Address: NR 27, Nathupur, DLF – 3 and SF-5, 2nd floor, Omaxe Gurgaon Mall, Gurgaon | Phone: 0124 4061895
This review first appeared in Friday Gurgaon