uòco has been tantalising taste buds and capturing hearts in Islamabad, with an already established reputation for serving its unique retention of European food, especially Italian cuisine. The fine dining restaurant recently opened its doors in Lahore.
Nestled in the heart of the city, in Gulberg, Fuòco has made its grand entrance in style into the dining scene of the cultural hub of the country. T has been a must visit for me whenever I am in Islamabad, so I had to go now that they are in my hometown.
Upon entering the restaurant, you are immediately struck by the warm and inviting ambience. The interior exudes an elegant yet cozy vibe that combines well with soft lighting and tasteful minimalistic décor. Whether you’re planning a lunch or dinner for two or a gathering with friends and family, the ambience sets the stage for an enjoyable dining experience.
The celebrated star of the show is their food. They have been able to maintain the excellence here as well. Fuòco’s menu is renowned for its diverse array of dishes that caters to different tastes and preferences, and can surely induce some picky eaters to experiment.
My group of friends had a 50-50 split between individuals who were familiar with the menu from Islamabad and those who were trying it for the first time.
We started with their fig salad and steak salad for the table. The quality of their ingredients is impeccable; the figs were plump and sweet; and the steak was tender and made to perfection. The greens in both salads were incredibly fresh. As we dug into those, everyone around the table was forced to praise the elegant arrangement, showcasing the beauty of simplicity.
From their small plate selection, we got the burrata pomodoro, smashed sliders, and mushroom risotto. Burrata Pomodoro is a dish that defines indulgence. The creamy burrata cheese paired with ripe tomatoes was a heavenly combination. The presentation was elegantly simple, with the burrata resting beside the cherry tomato slices, garnished with fresh basil leaves.
The smashed sliders here are a celebration of comfort food at its finest. The quality of the beef patties was evident in every bite — rich in flavour and perfectly juicy. Both these dishes prove that sometimes, less is more.
We couldn’t get enough of the mushroom risotto. The rice was cooked to al dente perfection and the earthy flavours of the mushrooms permeated each mouthful. Once again, the presentation was an exercise in elegance, with the risotto carefully arranged on the plate, adorned with sautéed mushrooms and fresh herbs.
For the mains, our table went with spinach and ricotta ravioli, tortellini Bolognese and seared salmon. While everyone picked their own preferred dish, we tasted each others’ food and enjoyed every bit of it.
The seared salmon here is a seafood lover’s dream come true. The freshness of the salmon was undeniable and the searing technique showcased its natural flavours beautifully. Its presentation — a simple yet effective display that highlighted the salmon’s texture and colour.
The spinach and ricotta ravioli at Fuòco is a true pasta lover’s delight. It gives credence to the culinary journey of the owners and the learnings that they have been able to put in the food they present.
The quality of the pasta itself is outstanding, with each ravioli pouch holding a delectable mixture of creamy ricotta and vibrant spinach. The presentation is a testament to precision, with the ravioli neatly arranged on the plate and adorned with a delicate drizzle of sauce. This dish is a harmonious marriage of flavours and a feast for the eyes.
My personal favourite was the tortellini Bolognese, which exceeded my expectations. The quality of the pasta was exceptional, with each tortellini expertly crafted and cooked to perfection. The Bolognese sauce was a savoury masterpiece, rich and hearty. The presentation was inviting — the tortellini nestled in a generous pool of meat, garnished with a sprinkle of parmesan and fresh herbs. This dish was a true homage to traditional Italian flavours and culinary artistry. (They have put up a BTS video on their Instagram which is a treat to watch.)
We wrapped our lunch with cheesecake which, despite the fear of sounding clichéd, is to die for. Its velvety, melt-in-your-mouth texture made each bite an exquisite indulgence. The creamy cheesecake base was perfectly balanced, with just the right hint of sweetness that dances on the taste buds. But what truly elevates this dessert to a work of art is the decadent crust, a harmonious blend that added a delightful crunch to each forkful.
Food is also a form of art, with chefs and home cooks alike channelling their creativity into the presentation and flavours of dishes. This fusion of food and art is evident in the ever-evolving world of gastronomy, where innovation and tradition coexist harmoniously.
In essence, food and culture are inseparable companions, with each influencing and enriching the other. Exploring the culinary traditions of different cultures is not only a gastronomic adventure but also an opportunity to delve into the heart and soul of a society, to savour its history and heritage.
Fuòco has successfully transported an authentic taste of Italy to Lahore. It’s a welcome addition to the city’s culinary landscape. Whether you’re a die-hard Italian food enthusiast or simply looking for a delightful dining experience, it is a must-visit destination.
The writer is a communications, public relations and sustainability professional. Her X handle is FatimaArif