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BIG FAT LULU'S

My trip to Delhi has always been incomplete without a visit to Big Chill. For me, Italian food in Delhi has always been associated with it. But one visit to Big Fat Lulu’s changed all that. Run by Deepak Datwani and Monica Batra, Big Fat Lulu’s is a foodie’s absolute delight. At the risk of sounding juvenile, I can say that after having a big fat Italian meal at BFL I could die without any regrets. But let’s not be over-dramatic. And state some facts.

 

The restaurant in Cross Point Mall is expansive — with a form finished ceiling, brick walls, quirky antiquities like transistors, gramophones and charcoal drawings with skewed artistic perspective — creating an atmosphere of chic bohemia. The food and drinks are as much fun. After downing two coolers — watermelon infused with lemon and watermelon mixed with blueberry — that were refreshing, we start our meal with a twist to the rocket leaves and feta salad. The secret ingredient again was watermelon. The salad — rocket leaves, walnut, watermelon and feta peppered with balsamic sauce — is a must for couch potatoes who want to sit and refresh their palates before the main meal begins. For health watchers, a must-try is Detox Salad with quinoa, tabouleh, raw papaya and veggies, dried cranberry, avocado and strawberry emulsion. Lip-smacking!

 

We followed up the salad with Spicy Tofu and Water-chestnut served with a tangy bell pepper sauce. This for me was quite an extraordinary dish.  It combined tofu, which is always rubbery and extremely hard to get soft, and chestnuts with an almost chilly potato-like spicy sauce. There are many areas where this dish could have gone wrong but to my delight it was flawless. The tofu was as soft as the full fat cottage cheese that you get in the market and the sauce was perfect along with the crunchiness of the chestnuts; the perfect texture. The other starter - Oven-baked Artichoke topped with spicy tomato jam and mushrooms – was sort of a quiche. The tomato jam on the inside was simply put outstanding. But the artichoke itself could have been blanched with some spices, maybe pepper, as it would have given a nice balance to the sweet and sour nature of the tomato jam on the inside. Full marks for texture here. Also for me, it could have done without the salad garnishing on top. I am that kind of person who likes to eat everything on my plate (seriously, you should look at a picture of how fat I am) and that garnishing was not something that I would have had with the artichoke. It was raw. Maybe with a bit of dressing, maybe something similar to ranch dressing, the salad would've been great. 

 

For the main course we tried Vegetarian Torteloni: pumpkin, corn and cream cheese ravioli with sage and butter sauce that was really quite innovative and tasty. The pumpkin was mildly sweet and was cooked to perfection before it was stuffed into the ravioli. This balanced the taste beautifully with the ravioli itself and of course the sage and butter as well. Though I am not overly fond of Gnocchi (I want my pasta to be good old maida and not potato), the Gnocchi with Gorgonzola, arugula, sun-dried tomatoes and cream was tasty and altered my view of Gnocchi forever. The chef uses blue cheese to give a sinfully unique dish that you just won’t get anywhere else. I was slurping the sauce even after the gnocchi was over!! Also I would like to give a special mention to the garlic bread that accompanied both the pastas. It was genuinely one of the best I’ve had - cut from authentic Italian garlic bread, toasted a lovely golden brown, and topped with just the correct amount of butter and herbs. Next time I go there I will definitely order just a portion of garlic bread on its own. 

 

At this point you would think that I’ve probably eaten too much and that it’ll now be the end of the review, but no sir, no. I still wanted more. Lulu’s sliders came as a huge surprise. They were mini-burgers that come in three variants but we settled for two, one spicy and the other was the stock bean burger. I was surprised to find that these were amazing as well. The normal bean burger is a patty of perfection, hard and crusty on the outside and soft on the inside. Again the buns, which they get specially made, were really fresh. The same bean burger with a spicy twist gives it the perfect Indian fusion taste. Both burgers were served with home made roast potato wedges infused with herbs – a must try. They also have a great selection of non-vegetarian burgers – shredded chicken, lamb and even a one-kilo beef burger.

 

Now how can you go to BFL and not have a pizza? We went the whole hog with slices of Classic Margarita, Chilly Willy, Fat Lulu’s Vegetarian and Queens Pizza from the wood fired oven. My all-time favourite has always been the classic margarita and even here by far my most favourite. The crust used is really good, mozzarella cheese used on the pizza is fabulous, and their base sauce is tangy. Some places do a sweet or a spicy sauce but I prefer it when you taste the natural tomato tanginess. If you don’t like chillies you might want to give the Chilly Willy – pimento chillies, jalapeños, mushroom and roasted garlic – a miss. It’s really spicy and not for faint  hearted tastebuds! The Fat Lulu’s Vegetarian – zucchini, bell pepper, mushrooms and olives - was also really good but it depends on whether you like that particular combination. And for the health conscious, Queens Pizza - made on a whole-wheat base with jalapeños, olives, red onions, rocket leaves and feta – is light, almost like having salad on a pizza base. But it is extremely deceptive. It might look very leafy but by no means does the taste falter by any standard!!

 

Surely, he’s not going to have any dessert… isn’t that what you’re thinking? Oh yes! There is still some space and we move on to dessert. Everyone is going to like this. They have partnered with Elma’s Bakery and everyone knows what delicious cakes they have. BFL has a selection of cakes from Elma’s that is delivered freshly baked every morning. I don’t think I need to say much more but if anybody is curious we had the red velvet cake and it is divine. Yummy!!! To top all of this we finished it off with a Tiramisu Shake that was not too sweet so it was really good, and a simple cappuccino brewed to perfection. After all that divine food I felt that I could die happy at that moment. Rarely have I ever tasted such a sumptuous meal. If you go to BFL I promise you that you will be majorly spoilt for choice. Everything is just so good. And I guarantee you that if the vegetarian food at BFL is so good then the non-veg will be exceptional.

 

P.S. I would like to mention that the staff is extremely courteous and prompt. Also the owners were sitting in the restaurant and made sure that they went to each table to ensure people were enjoying their food. Deepak Datwani, like me, turned out to be a great fan of antiques and films. After our meal he took out a Super 8 camera that was still in working condition. They used to be a rage with teens who would want to make home movies in the 70s. It used to be the smallest form of a video camera at that time. It was then compressed to make the modern day digital handy-cams and a beautiful peace of equipment. Simply a superbly magnificent experience!!

 

— GAUTMIK (Foodie from Mumbai)

 
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Big Fat Lulu's. Cross Point Mall. Gurgaon.

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