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Delightful indulgence

An exciting wine list makes you forget all the misgivings you might have towards the food sartoria, Vasant Vihar

india Updated: May 14, 2010 02:09 IST
Jimmy Chew

My love for Pinot Noir, the red wine varietal, owes its origins to the 2004 film Sideways starring Paul Giamatti, who goes with a soon-to-be-married friend on a wine-drinking and golf-playing weekend road trip with a bit of philandering tossed in. Giamatti plays an unpublished writer and wine aficionado who disses Merlot and sings the praises of Pinot Noir. I took to Pinot Noir after watching that fine film and each time I encounter a nice bottle of that red varietal, I feel good.

Good enough to forgive anything, really. So, when we landed up at Sartoria, the new-ish Italian restaurant in the Basant Lok Market, for dinner and I saw their extensive wine list, my spirits rose even before I selected New Zealand’s Mebus Pinot Noir 2007 (Rs 4500). The wine, as it happened, was excellent.

Sartoria is a small, cosy establishment with three levels — a patisserie of sorts at the ground level and seated dining on the other two. We chose the topmost floor where a solo singer, armed with a keyboard, dished out mainly Beatles and Coldplay tunes (with which a couple of my companions sang along). Sartoria has a tasteful muted décor and a romantic atmosphere ideal for a quiet dinner for two. I mentally noted that for future reference.

The menu at Sartoria was extensive. We ordered two antipasti dishes — the Parma Ham with Melon (Rs 500) and the Carpaccio Cipriani (Rs 300). The first was a delight — the ham was fresh and the melons were juicy, but the carpaccio was a disappointment. Tenderloin needs to be cut in fine slivers, not served in a thick, chewy mess. We had a Pepperoni Pizza (Rs 500) too, which was quite good although they couldn’t give us a whole-wheat base.

For the mains, we had a Ciopino of Seafood (Rs 500), which is a stew of prawns, fish and squid and was pronounced by those who ate it to be perfect. I had a Steak Pepe Verde (Rs 400) that came with a potato in a jacket and some veggies. The steak, ordered medium, came overdone and dry. But I forgave the chef, courtesy the Pinot Noir.

One of our party had a Spezzatino of Lamb (Rs 400), again a stew of lamb cubes, which, going by the way it was lapped up, must’ve been good. I must mention here that Sartoria serves an awesome pesto sauce with its freshly baked breads-the pesto, with its flavours of pine nuts, basil and olive oil is not to be missed. I nearly made a meal of it with the bread. There are desserts aplenty on the menu but most of us declined.

A Gelati Misti (vanilla ice-cream with chocolate sauce; Rs 200) came and was shared. But there was a twist in the tail. We ordered double espresso shots. The coffee, when it came, was a big disappointment. Mine actually smelt of something unmentionable. We sent it back. But, like I said, I was generous with my forgiveness. Yes, the Pinot Noir does that to me. Always.