We drove past Del Italia’s plant-filled enclosed porch three times on the evening we were attempting to find Aurus. Lushly lit and packed with diners, it looked pretty promising. “Why don’t we just go there?” grumbled Hrishikesh. We definitely should have. After the disappointment of Aurus, eating at Del Italia was a refreshing reminder that Bombay’s restaurants can do justice to Italian food.
I journeyed to Juhu many months later to meet a friend from America for lunch at Del Italia. The restaurant was empty when I arrived at noon, and two hours later, when we left, just one other table had been occupied. Unfortunately, the front porch, with its hanging potted plants, bay windows, and colorful throw cushions, was being used to complete some minor renovations work, so we sat inside, which was designed to resemble a Mediterranean home.
While waiting for my friend to arrive, I ordered a competent cappuccino and studied the menu. Small plates; soups; salads; bruschettas; pizzas; pastas; other vegetarian mains- though the categories were comprehensive, the handful of options under each seemed selective. Lured by the toppings, we started with the spinach, rucola and artichoke bruschetta, a mess of extremely garlicky greens on tough, questionably stale bread doused with olive oil.
Not so great, but our woodfired pizza, topped with herby tomato sauce, real mozerella, and a generous scattering of cremini mushrooms, was definitely the best I’ve eaten in Bombay. The care taken in choosing quality ingredients was apparent in each surprisingly delicious slice.
One appetizer and a pizza is all we needed but I’m glad we also ordered the rotolo, two rounds of a soft pasta sheet filled with minced mushrooms and onions, swimming in a pureed caramelized onion sauce and garnished with a sprig of woodsy rosemary, leaves of which I kept pressing into my pizza. This more unconventional dish on Del Italia’s menu gave me a taste of the restaurant’s potential scope.
delItalia, Juhu Tara Road, next to Mocha, Juhu, Mumbai. 26184040.