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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Ritu Dalmia’s Diva Piccola


 Till Saturday I had never been to Diva! There - my guilty secret is out. O.K , lemme correct that - one of my guilty secrets is out. Living in Delhi and admitting that one has never seen the inside of Ritu Dalmia’s  original Diva at Hauz Khas Village is like committing social harakiri . So , of course , one had never done it – admitted, that is . But come Saturday, we sailed majestically to the cafe –only to be brought up short by one of life’s inescapable truths, which is, in Diva the door is not opened to the outside. It has to be pushed to the  inside. But the good thing is that even if one does do it, open to the outside , one is not looked condescendingly at . Nah !  Ritu’s battery of   ‘Servers’ ( ‘waiters’ would be blasphemy) are God’s own angels . They smile understandingly and   unobtrusively  open the door to the inside to let you know what you hadn’t known till then and then seat you at one of the three tables for four. The other three tables are for two . Cozy is an understatement and I smile at the adorable tot dangling over the back of the husband’s chair.

In the meantime a basket of bruschetta and the menu cards have been placed in front of us and we eat the bread and  pore over the menu . We look up to confabulate but by then one of the angels has floated over to us and is smiling beatifically. “Ready to  place your order”. A devil whispers in my ear –“ that is being super efficient “ but I push the devil away and , returning the smile- albeit not so beatifically- simper- “what do you recommend?” The angel is very firm about the penne pasta with eggplant but here I get slightly distracted. M , by now we know his name,  looks one of us alright but hey he doesn’t talk like someone from Lajpat Nagar ( don’t ask me why Lajpat ). He talks like one of them.Maybe a crash course in  ‘speaking English the Italian Way’ is mandatory for everyone at Diva ? 

We order a pizza margherita, a risotto and the penne pasta with eggplant. A very attractive girl catches my  eye and by the time I finish checking out what she is wearing – beige trousers with a white shirt that is not tucked in but  belted to emphasize the tiniest of waists- the pizza arrives. It is rectangilish /ovalish in shape and extremely good. Next to come is the risotto. Here I pause because I must confess that the risotto left me with mixed feelings. Firstly - but maybe this one is because of all the episodes of last season’s   Master Chef I had watched ,where the presentation was as good , if not better than Gordon Ramsay’s scowl – because it looked exactly like what my dishes look at home when there are no guests but only family. You know , very comsi comsa. Secondly, it made me promise to myself that I must do some research on what is a perfect risotto. What I am trying to  say is that it was nice   but that it wasn’t perfect.

How was the pasta ? entirely forgettable and , though pride is one of the seven deadly sins, better pastas have been dished out from my kitchen .

But then the angel brought me back to earth. How? By placing before us the dessert-the  best ever chocolate cake . It came on a wooden platter with a floating candle on one end  and  thin geometric lines of chocolate sauce at the other. The cake was served with vanilla sauce . Mmmm

We get up to exit. I open the door. Ooops. Did it again .This time I pushed it open forgetting that now it had to be pulled in. From the corner of my eye I could see one of ‘them’ rushing to do it  the  right way.

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