Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Delfino's Pizzeria & Restaurant - London

As even the most casual reader of this blog knows, both of us love London. Over the last 10 odd years, we have spent a lot of time here. For both of us it’s a city that gives us culture, mental stimulation, loads of walking, great food and an immediate sense of peace. We are often asked what we do there for so long every year and our honest answer is ‘we live there’. We go for walks, we cook in our apartment, we go for an occasional play or music show or exhibition that catches our eye, we watch TV, we work on our computers, we go to the supermarket and the farmers market and, as we do in Mumbai, we go out to eat. Doesn’t seem like much but believe me, the time flies by.

Over the years, we have developed or fallen into some sort of routine for our time in London. Every Saturday morning, we watch Saturday Kitchen, a fabulous TV show hosted by James Martin showcasing the best chefs in Britain; every Sunday morning we go to the farmers Market at Marylebone where I often treat myself to half a dozen fresh oysters; if we don’t have an early dinner reservation we go for a walk around Hyde Park every evening and so on. One of the other routines we have fallen into is a first meal in London at the lovely Delfino Pizzeria at Mayfair and our last supper as it were is normally Fish and Chips at Golden Hind in Marylebone.

Delfino Pizzeria is a charming busy family owned restaurant Pizzeria on Mount Street right next to Berkeley Square. Sharing the ground floor of the lovely Victorian building is the more formal Fino Restaurant and Bar which is owned and run by the same family that runs Delfino.

The Pizzeria has an unassuming charm, bright yellow table cloths, friendly chatty staff and considering its location in Mayfair the prices are very competitive. A pizza here will not cost you more than a pizza at any Pizza Express in London. Besides pizzas, there is a good wine list, excellent starters and a fair choice of meat and pasta dishes and seasonal specials.

Part of the charm at Delfino is getting a table in the front room and watching the pizzaiolos toss and spin the pizzas before placing them in the large wood fired oven.

Having eaten at Delfino more than half a dozen times, we have eaten our way through a fair part of the menu. The fried Zucchini and Calamari starter served with tartare sauce is particularly good as is the Burratina (extra creamy mozzarella on a bed of turnip tops and marinated red onion, balsamic reduction dressing), the Polpettine di Agnello: (Spiced lamb meat balls with cracked wheat, pine nuts & cinnamon, served with mint and Greek yoghurt) as well as the Insalata Rizzoli (Tomato, buffalo mozzarella & the speciality Rizzoli anchovies from Parma). Washed down with either their house red wine or a very decently priced bottle of pink prosecco, any of these starters go down an absolute treat.

Polpettine di Agnello

Fried Calamari & Zucinni

But, however good the starters may be, it is the pizzas here that are the absolute stars. Unlike other places, the pizzas at Delfino are well-cooked without being charred and use the right quantities of each ingredient, evenly spread throughout. The base itself isn't too thin or thick and is so tasty that you will happily eat the crust too!  Over the years and over several visits we have eaten the Margherita, the Quattro Formaggi (Mozzarella, Brie, Parmesan and Gorgonzola. No Tomato), the Fiorentina (Tomato, Mozzarella, Spinach, Italian Prosciutto Cotto Ham, Fresh Farm Egg), the Tricolore (A three-stripe pizza in the colours of the Italian Flag: Tomato, Mozzarella and Spicy Salame – Mozzarella and Ricotta – Roquette and Parma Ham) and a few excellent Calzones. I am happy to say, we have never had a disappointing pizza.

Tirolese: Tomato, Mozzarella, a little Gorgonzola, Speck (Tyrolean ham speciality) and Roquette

Diavolo: Tomato, Mozzarella, Fresh Sausage, Spicy Salame, Gorgonzola

This time we were in London during Black Truffle season and to our delight, the special pizza for the day was Spalla Cotta Tartufata (Tomato, Mozzarella, Scarmoza, Spalla Cotta – a specialty cooked ham – and a generous drizzle of Black Truffle Oil. We worked our way through the Fried Zucchini and Calamari and a bottle of the house red while we waited for our pizza. The aroma hits you as soon as the pizza hits the table and each bite is an absolute joy. Just one word – sublime. Perfectly seasoned, wonderfully balanced and an absolute winner.

Spalla Cotta Tartufata

The next time you are in London, do go to Delfino. It is really special.

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