We comforted ourselves with the memory of that pizza long after it had been consumed, stranded at the teeth-gnashingly protracted Chirag Delhi red light during high noon, while our rickshaw driver hopped out for a smoke and chat. Determined not to panic at his casual desertion, we cued Tu Vuo' Fa l'Americano on our iPod and focused on the aftertaste of slivered mushroom and shards of chilly, on the hedonistically pink pepperoni disks that had crowned our pie. All we needed now was a vino-filled flask and a getaway car: the talented Mr. Tipply, it’s nice to meat you.
The abovementioned pizza we were introduced to at Capri Villaggio, an Italian restaurant that has just opened in Hauz Khas Village. Unlike many of the neighborhood’s new eateries, Capri Villaggio doesn’t resemble a college kid’s living room or require you to navigate dizzying flights of stairs: it is located at street level with décor that is simple but professional (think matched furniture and evenly painted walls, clean tablecloths, wrought iron accessories). The food too is far from ad hoc, a nice selection of Italian options including Panini sandwiches, pasta, risotto and pizza. All in all, a welcome change. Benvenuto!
The Old Pan and the Sea
Our meal began with pan-seared prawns, zesty, salty, steeped in flavor of the deep, deep sea; we just wish the meat was better cooked and more tender. Accompanying these was a lively apple and rucola salad, the bitterness of greens contrasting nicely with the fruit, all bound together with sheets of Parmesan: a neat and seemingly simple dish that we tried and failed to replicate at home. Less successful was plain-Jane spinach and cheese ravioli, which arrived at our table in a pretty, brushed-steel pan, as well as chicken risotto: both were satisfactory but nothing to write home about. Especially with those pizzas waiting in the wings!
Thin and crisp, these are the perfect balance of cheese and sauce and crust, good with toppings and without. We tried and loved a pepperoni version, studded with meat and herbs; as well as a delish mushroom, garlic and chilli pie.
Much of the dessert menu was unavailable, but we did manage to order Tiramisu and score caramel custard on the house (early birds benefits). Both were underwhelming, although the too-dense Tiramisu is definitely a better bet than the cloyingly milky custard. Yes, there is such a thing as a too-sweet ending.
The Afterlife of Pie
Despite missteps, Capri Villaggio gets key things right: go here for salad and pizza (and a nice glass of white, once their liquor license comes through); have a chat with Babita, who owns the place and has been around the couple of times we dropped by; and store away the memory of your very first bite of pie for the next time you’re stuck at Chirag Delhi flyover. Believe us, it helps – it’s Jude’s Law!
Getting there: One – A, Hauz Khas Village, call 41623333, Rs 1,700 for a meal for two without alcohol.
bpb pays for its own meals and conducts all reviews anonymously.