I love a good Carbonara. Which is really weird because I despise runny yolks. I cannot, simply cannot stand eggs sunny-side up or a soft boiled egg on a Nicoise salad because the yolk runs and coats everything on the plate. But a good Carbonara is always an exception to the rule.
Carbonara’s heritage is really concocted. All agree that the dish originated in Rome; the how, however, has various versions. Some believe it was during WWII when American GIs took their ration of ham and eggs to Roman cooks to be made into a meal. Another theory is that this dish was a favourite among the Carbonaro (charcoal burners) and later gained popularity among the masses. Origins aside, the dish came into prominence post 1945 and has gained a tremendous fan following world wide.
When I visit an Italian restaurant for the first time, I always order their version of the simple yet tasty dish of pasta, eggs, cheese, black pepper and pancetta (some recipes advertise cream or creme fraiche). Based on how good it is, (and of course the portion size) I decide whether to go back or not.
The Colony Bistro
I recently visited this bistro with my sister. We both love Italian food and when I found out that they had received a bar license, well, you can’t really stop a determined person can you. It’s located in the Amar Colony Market in Lajpat Nagar, New Delhi. You can choose to walk it from the Moolchand or Kailash Colony metro station or take a rickshaw for Rs30.
The bistro can seat more than 30 people at a go and also has a cute two-seater outdoor table, perfect for the evening. The music combination is interesting with Florence and the Machines, jazz and house. The white walls and deep brown furniture gives the place a nice feel.
So far so good. The menu offers a variety of Chinese, Lebanese, Italian and north Indian so we order a plate of onion rings, a peach iced tea and a beer pint to begin with. The beer always lives up to its promise but unfortunately the rings and iced tea didn’t. The batter had no salt and was soggy while the iced tea served up a lot of ice. Then came the mains. Full marks to their portion size but the Carbonara was not the way I like it. It is good for someone who likes a cheesy white sauce engulfing their spaghetti with crispy bacon bits but not for someone who looks forward to the yolk proudly displayed on top.
I always like a simple Carbonara. Fry the bacon and add the al dente spaghetti to the pan. In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites, black pepper and a LOT of Parmesan cheese. Taking the spaghetti and bacon pan away from the heat, add the eggy mixture so it coats each strand without curdling. As the sauce thickens, add a bit of the salty pasta water to loosen the mixture. Serve with the egg yolk on top, fresh Parmesan shavings and a bit of parsley. It’s THAT simple.
My sister ordered a creamy cheese chicken served with spaghetti which was far better and worth the money. This bistro is famous for deserts and especially the Banoffee pie. The taste was excellent but unfortunately, the base had completely melted. Thus the cream too had begun to make a mess.
Personally, I would go back a second time. Instead of the Carbonara, I would try another cuisine because I enjoyed the over all ambiance. The music was enjoyable, there was not much delay between courses and the staff were courteous. Plus, their portion size is a big draw and it’s easier on the pockets (pocket pinch for two is approximately Rs1400) than going to a place like Hauz Khas village. But I definitely would steer clear of the Italian items on the menu card.