Spaghetti Kitchen in Select CityWalk, Saket, may be one of the most underrated restaurants in Delhi. It’s always full, the food veers from excellent to not bad and the décor is, well, more sophisticated than you would expect from an eatery that sits on the same level as a noisy, sprawling food court.
Delhi is, of course, awash with Italian restaurants (the city’s favourite cuisine after Indian and Chinese), some of them with PR kits more exciting than their menus. And, recently, there are some which try and bridge the gap between fancy, expensive ones which toss truffle oil and shave aged Parmigiano over everything, and the fast food heavy-on-the-cheese-and-bottled-tomato-paste pizza chains.
Spaghetti Kitchen’s main disadvantage is that it is in a mall. Had it been located in, say, Shahpur Jat or even the GK2 M Block market where another better known Italian place gets rave reviews, it possibly would be given credit for turning out decent food without fancy footwork.
Best thing about the décor: No check red tablecloths or superficial nod towards any Mediterranean or Italian décor aesthetic. It’s quietly glamourous.
Because it’s in a mall, expect to occasionally suffer big families. Charming if the kids mop up their olive oil and balsemico with quiet cuteness. Not so much when spoilt kids flail about the place in a manner best reserved for the food court.
The menu may be bewilderingly large but it allows you the freedom to do an easy lunch (pizza and salad) or go the full monty, beginning with a starter (can vaguely recollect, from an earlier meal that the carpaccio, both the tenderloin and the salmon, were good) and ending with a tiramisu or the triple chocolate biscotti.
Some dishes need to be nudged away from stodginess. Like the “Platter of Three Delicious Bruschettas” (290), which is potentially good with aged gouda, wild mushroom and arrabbiata but tasted like they need a lighter hand with the olive oil and a deft touch with the toppings.
A favourite primo piatti is the Parmesan cream cheese baby potatoes (290), nicely roasted baby potatoes served with parmesan cream. Delicately flavoured, smoothly creamy and comfort food at its best but not quite what the diet doctor would recommend. This also makes a lovely accompaniment to some of the main courses.
The most popular menu section is the cracker pizzas. And with good reason. Served on a fluted steel “cake-stand”, these layered, light pizzas have toppings that are truer in style to this Italian favourite than that served up by most restaurants. A good bet is the Pizza Con Pollo alla Cabrese (475) with its spicy Italian chicken sausages and sweet peppers. There is a good selection of salad, and a cracker pizza with a provencale rocket leaf salad (370) with its aged balsemic is a good way to go.
If you’re not troubled by pesky thoughts of diet and, if you’re in luck, the chef would have made gnocchi with a chunky, beautifully-spiced pork bolognaise. On the day we went, this lovely and, there’s that word again, comforting dish of potato-based dumplings, was not on the specials menu.
The best of the mains are the Salmone ai Ferri (990), grilled Norwegian salmon served with a caper butter sauce and a very tasty Dutch pork chop which is served with delicious onion mash. Service is always good, if a bit harried when the restaurant is full.