Review: San Gimignano (Fine Dining- Tuscan Italian)
The Imperial, Janpath, New Delhi. Contact # +91-11-2334 1234
I have outlined my sheer love for the Italian food at every possible occasion so when we hit 50 k likes on facebook it called for a special celebration. The Chocolate and Wine Soaked Cherry Mousse shots were real good but just not enough for our indulgent moods, so we went out to raise a toast at our all time favourite Italian restaurant in the city, San Gimignano.
San Gimignano -Tuscan Italian Fine dining restaurant at The Imperial New Delhi is named after a medieval hill town in the bosom of Tuscany. The restaurant almost transports the Tuscany countryside traditions to life here in India with its authentic food, premium selection of wines and a wide range of Cheese.
Do not prejudge by what meets your eyes with the first step inside the restaurant. It may appear too small with only a few visible tables at first, but when you walk across the next door into the courtyard you are welcomed to a spread of romantic and relaxed seating within the walled garden of the hotel. The enchanting white and earthy tone upholstery, the garden style furniture, carved arches that’s painted in white, fresh flowers and candles on each table, together creates the right ambiance for a fine dining experience.
It’s a pity that Delhi’s blazing hot weather had us seek comfort in their air conditioned indoors. The setting inside nonetheless has a classic Italian feel too, specially the large black and white pictures of the preserved medieval Tuscany town, San Gimignano that adorns the wooden four walls. What immediately caught my attention was an inbuilt wine Cellar on one of the walls that pompously displayed selected Italian wines and Grappa that the restaurant proudly boasts of. We took our seat right opposite the intoxicating wall to keep our spirits high throughout the evening and much before I could notice that the other tables were scarcely occupied by mostly International tourists, I had already requested for my Wine by the glass.
The drinks were served with an assortment of fresh breads and the finest olive oil. The crackling cheesy Pane (a thin crispy Italian bread) in particular was an instant winner with my husband and on his request the manger generously packed a few as a complimentary take away. Now, these little gestures are what makes a fine dining experience memorable and truly worthy.
The thoughtfully selected menu has a spread of authentic Tuscan-Italian recipes with their Italian names duly explained in English subscripts. I quickly scanned though the Antipasti, which literary means before the pasto or meal, and called for an Affettati Misti that was a platter of 5 different cuts of meat, perhaps a Mortadella, a Prosciutto, Pancetta, a Salami and one other that my limited knowledge could not recognize. The appetizer was a delicious light bite with each cut served over a crispy bread base and it made a perfect pair with my glass of Chardonnay.
For our mains we called for classical recipes, a Scaloppine di Pollo and a Lasagne alla Bolognese. Scaloppine di Pollo was served with a cournflour Polenta and capers and the dish was absolute heart winner, succulent chicken and a soft polenta with the mild and tangy lemon butter sauce was a treat to the palate. The Lasagne was served hot, straight from the oven with a delicious load of cheese and soft meat melting together in each bite. The portions were quite good and though we could barely mange to eat our full plates there was no way that we could miss our dessert. I had a lingering memory of an awesome Tiramisu Trio from my earlier visit but the ever evolving menu had it replaced with a Trio of Crème Brulee and the change was equally welcome. The Brulee was a nice light serve of three classical flavours, kahlua, orange, and amaretto. It was licked off within minutes of being served and in the high of our excitement I even forgot to click a picture of the dessert so I am leaving that to my next visit.
The service was impeccable, prompt and precise, I say precise for the attentends do not hover around you unnecessarily. The staff is informed to make intelligent recommendations with the menu and wines, and their smiling faces helps brighten the experience and a special mention for the charming Feroz who manages to win hearts without fail on every visit.
My verdict is going to be inclined or what may simply be termed ‘Biased’. While I don’t take these blames with much flair usually but this once I simply don’t mind for I am indeed biased and that’s not without a reason. I’ve formed my opinion over subsequent visits, when I’ve received services and food that has managed to exceed my expectation each time. I can go further and audaciously declare that ‘San Gimignano is by far the finest and the most authentic Italian restaurant in the City’.
So, if you take my word just go and experience it but do not forget to have a pocket full of currency notes for our bill for the above order including the drinks was a whooping Rs. 13,861 with taxes (Rs. 6.400 for the Drinks and Rest for the food). That’s infact much higher than my other recent fine dining experiences at Singh Sahib, Hotel Eros-Managed by Hilton or at ThreeSixtyDegree, The Oberoi.
Since I know that good things in life often come with a price tag, so I’d go back there soon for I am yet to try one of their signature dishes, Filleto di Branzino and Tagliolini a Mere di Champagne.