Thursday 25 July 2013

Italian Rendezvous at Pomodoro, Hilton Janakpuri

"Life is a combination of magic and pasta." - Federico Fellini

Life is indeed a combination of magic and pasta...and if some wood fired pizzas are thrown in, Well... life becomes even sweeter. To experience this magical world of pizzas and pastas, we at the Bloggers table met at Pomodoro, the newly opened Italian restaurant at Hilton, Janakpuri. When I first received the invitation for lunch my first reaction was, "A five star hotel in Janakpuri? Where is the space in Janakpuri to built a hotel that size?" Having lived for a year in this part of West Delhi, I remember even back then in the1990s, Janakpuri was a complete jungle of concrete - congested, chaotic and full of traffic snarls. Also, when I think of food in this part of Delhi, I can only conjure up images of Chawla chicken, Kohli chicken corner, Wah bhai Wah, Rajendra di hatti, mouth-watering chaat-papdi stalls and the innumerable take away joints nestled in every nook and corner of the heavily populated residential markets in the numerous sectors of Janakpuri. Intrigued and wanting to find out more, I braved the West Delhi traffic (yes, even on a Saturday afternoon), and landed up at Pomodoro, Hilton to meet up with friends and the promise of a great Italian feast. 
We began our culinary adventure with a tray of freshly baked breads placed in front of us. Both the Ciabatta and the foccacia were delicious and were served with 2 dips - a smoked tomato dip and pesto dip, both of which were excellent. Warm and fresh, the breads disappeared within no time. Waiting for Ruchira, who too was delayed in the traffic, we managed to demolish quite a few of these delicious breads. In fact, the moment the bread tray was emptied they were refilled as quickly, so much so, that we had to literally request the wait staff to stop replenishing them as we did not want to fill ourselves up on them.

Once Ruchira arrived, we started off with our Appetizers. Two different types of Bruschetta were serverd - one with a topping of artichokes and olives and oodles of melted mozzarella  cheese and the second one with freshly diced tomatoes with a beautiful flavor of garlic which I loved. They were crispy little bites of gooey goodness and so delicious that I could have easily made a complete meal out of them.
These little bites were followed a plate of Insalata di gamberi e calamari con burro fusso – warm squids and prawn cooked in brown butter. It was a beautiful dish both in taste and in looks. Served on a bed of salad leaves with crushed anchovies and some cherry tomatoes, both the squid and the prawn were seasoned delicately, with the anchovies lending the requisite saltiness to the dish. I especially loved the prawns which were tender and juicy and not to mention huge. A big thumbs up for this dish.

Rekha being a vegetarian chose Pomodoro e Mozzarella di Buffalo all Caprese.  Fresh slices of buffalo mozzarella and sun dried tomatoes stacked on top of each other and drizzled with balsamic vinegar and pepper, the salad made the perfect picture for summer.
Served with a crisp garlic bread, the Minestrone di legume con pasta, a traditional minestrone soup was light, wholesome and full of fresh vegetables. It was filling yet not heavy on the stomach. This is the kind of soup which I would love having on a cold wintry day.
Next to arrive was the Pizza Pomodoro which is the restaurants specialty. Fresh out of the brick oven, the pizza had a perfectly baked thin crust which was topped with a thin layer of cheese and a sea of vegetables like jalapenos, mushrooms, zucchinis, bell peppers and carrots making it a real treat for the eyes. 
Pasta followed the pizza. Rigatoni alla pastora - Slow braised lamb ragout with pecorino cheese and red wine. The pasta which was tossed with some fresh tomatoes and lamb mince, somehow reminded me of a North Indian lamb curry with a strong whiff of clarified butter. Perhaps the flavors were intended deliberately to cater to the local palate but certainly it did not work for me.
The Main course had varied varied choices both for the vegetarians and the non-vegetarians. Me and Sid chose a Costolette di agnello- grilled lamb chops with char grilled vegetables and garlic laced potatoes. Both of us had chosen to have our lamb chops well done but, while mine were grilled to perfection, Sid's were pinkish inside and slightly on the rare side leaving him a little unhappy. I had no complaints as mine were juicy, tender almost melt-in-the mouth delicious. The meat separated from the bones effortlessly with the help of cutlery without any tussle at all - just the way I like it to be. 
Charis and Aishwarya had a beautifully presented Trancio di salmon pan seared fillet of salmon with creamy parmesan mash and baby vegetables served with caper parsely butter sauce. It looked tender and flaky with a perfectly crisped skin on top.

Ruchira chose the vegetarian option of Verdure alla griglia e polenta that is grilled vegetables on creamy polenta with spicy tomato sauce. Served warm and fresh it smelled homely. I too had a bite of polenta and found it quite creamy and tasty.
We ended our journey with Tiramisu, the traditional italian mascarpone mousse infused with coffee scented sponge fingers. Though it looked exquisite, it failed to meet our expectations. The mascarpone was silky smooth but there was too much of it, the  coffee flavor was extremely light and the sponge cake was almost non-existent in the dessert. Though I did enjoy the small crunchy balls of chocolate which were used for decoration the top, this tiramisu really wasn't a "pick me up" kinda dessert.

But it was a great afternoon spent in good company accompanied by delicious food. If you too are looking for a fine Italian dining experience, Pomodoro at Hilton, Janakpuri is exactly the place to head for.

The others with me on the table were:
Aishwarya from Aishwarya Eats
Charis from  Culinary Storm
Rekha from My Tasty Curry
Ruchira from The Great Cookaroo
Sid from Chef at Large

No comments:

Post a Comment