All Things Food

Diva, chef Ritu Dalmia's flagship restaurant in Greater Kailash Part II, has seen many changes in its décor and menu over the past 11 years. Dalmia likes to keep things fresh and her restaurants reflect a particular phase she is going through as an observer of the good life and an avid traveller. In its latest avatar, Diva has been divided into two sections. The ground floor has been converted into an all-day dining cafe and the first floor has been converted into a fine dine area, serving just lunch and dinner. The best of best in cutlery, crockery and furniture dot the place. The leather on the seats is tough and smooth, like only good, genuine leather can be. The two sections have the same warmth, but different themes.

We headed to the cafe downstairs and began with a penne puttanesca, a classic tomato-based pasta from Naples. It boasted of excellent flavour, a brilliant menage a trois between saltiness, spice and a hint of sourness. The pasta itself was slightly underdone and chewy. We then ordered a Gorgonzola, green apple and walnut pizza without tomatoes. Blue cheese is not easy to pull off. The first slice was great. But after the third slice, it got a bit much. The pizza was lavished with Gorgonzola, which after a while is exhausting on the palate. Also, the bitterness of the walnuts acerbates the pungency of the cheese. Good on bruschetta but not the best on pizza.

In the end came sliced tenderloin, covered with crispy pancetta bacon and a creamy potato mash. It's a testament to the excellence of the steak that despite being overwhelmed by the pizza we finished every last crumb. It was grilled in a red wine reduction to a perfect medium-rare. The potato mash acted as a perfect foil to the robustness of the beef and the saltiness of the bacon. This was definitely the best course.

For dessert, we had a Diva classic: a chocolate lava cake with vanilla ice-cream, which is always a great way to finish a meal. Incidentally, fans of Ritu Dalmia and her almost adolescent child Diva must buy a copy of her second book, The Travelling Diva, that released last week. Gorgeously designed with pictures and illustrations, it recounts some of Dalmia's favourite recipes from around the world, encompassing European, Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines, and showcases the chef's love for all things food.

Meal for two: Rs 2,000, excluding alcohol, including taxes. Address: M8, M Block Market, GK II, New Delhi Contact: 011-29215673

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