Away from the bustle of malls and market place, The Grand at Vasant Kunj, New Delhi possesses a Mediterranean gem that sings odes to Italian cuisine. IT, the Italian restaurant, boasts a warm and inviting ambience accentuated by ceiling lights that resemble glowing candles perched on wood and stone accented interiors. But the draw of the restaurant is the food served by an enthusiastic yet unassuming Chef Nilesh who delights with food that sparkles with both his joie de vivre and craft.
Never have I tasted so many different variety of tomatoes served all at once. Organic Tomato Salad showcasing luscious red, juicy cherry, fruity orange, tart green, and the nutrient rich purple served simply but deliciously with olive oil, tomatillo sauce and sea salt was as refreshing and intriguing as a Tuscan summer.
Truffle scented Mushroom, and Tomato Bruschetta garnished with slices of dried, golden-hued garlic and herbs, dehydrated truffle oil made for a fantabulous snack. I asked for an attention-catching Cheese stuffed Polenta and it proved to be more than interesting. The buttery avocado and sharp asparagus presented a variety of textures while the cream basil sauce gave it a dash that elevated the ordinary polenta to a culinary delight.
Pizzas were daring and colourful at IT. A vegetarian version made of spinach infused base and a non-vegetarian counterpart with chicken doing the honours on a pink beet base, while not distracting the taste buds, added a healthy twist to the trattoria favourite. The palate suitably cleansed by an invigorating Blackberry sorbet, what greeted next was a couple of gorgeous Lamb Chops resting on truffle scented risotto, the gamy meat done just right so that it remains juicy yet firm to the bite. Pan seared Sea Bass in a lemon caper sauce was complacent in the company of the exuberant lamb.
Home made Chicken Gnocchi was on a trip to deceive and please. Expecting flour based dish, the chef surprised us with an innovative pasta dumpling made of herbed chicken that was done to a fine mince resembling our very own Kashmiri goshtaba meatballs. The tomato reduction only added to its stellar quality.
Conchiglioni, conch shaped pasta stuffed with aromatic seafood was one of the best pasta preparations that I had tasted in recent times with an innovative mascarpone and basil sauce that was lip-smacking.The classic Tiramisu was simple yet classy, every spoonful exuding understated elegance. I loved it.
Most of the herbs and vegetables are grown organically in house and Chef Nilesh experiments with tastes and flavours using exotic salad leaves- oak leaf, mistletoe, dandelion, Japanese Mitsuba etc both as garnish and to accentuate flavours of the original dishes. While there was an excellent selection of wine, it was disappointing that the restaurant had no sparkling mineral water.
Focaccia was served at our meal but wiping the plate clean of the delicious sauces that accompanied the dishes would have been even more pleasurable with a crusty bread like Ciabatta.
Ratings (Out of 5)
Food: 4.0| Service: 4.0 | Ambience: 4.0 I Overall: 4.0
Address: IT, The Grand, Phase 2, Nelson Mandela Road, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi | Tel: +91 11 26771234/26705410
Category: Italian, European | Timings: 12.00 noon – 03.00 pm, 07.00 pm – 12.00 midnight (Mon-Sun) | Meal for two without alcohol:~ Rs. 3500/++ | Alcohol: yes | Disabled friendly: yes
(Disclaimer: This review was done on the invitation of the restaurant)