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MEGU, THE LEELA PALACE

When I received an e-mail from The Leela Palace inviting me to review the new menu at contemporary Japanese restaurant MEGU ('blessing' in Japanese) I was delighted and went there with a friend "in the know" who could help me navigate through the menu with an enthusiasm for foodie adventures that mirrors my own. MEGU is an Indian outpost of a New York chain—and the pricing seems to have been strategized accordingly! Walking in, I was in awe of the luxurious restaurant with a stunning main dining area adjacent to a casual room.. sushi counter and private dining space.. and my favorite section: alfresco seating on the porch and lawn. Don't let the pricing deter you from dining here because once you've visited this East Asian restaurant the lure of personal service and painstakingly made dishes.. the luxurious ambience and décor—a huge Crystal Buddha poised beneath the Bonsho bell weighing app. 800 lbs—will lure you back! 

 

When we arrived, we were taken to our table and Chef Saito suggested wine complementing the dishes he had planned for us. And so the meal began with their signature dish 'Yellow Tail Carpaccio' that was magnificent. You can eat it plain or with Chilli Kanzuri Sauce—either way it is delicious. Up next was 'MEGU Original Crispy Asparagus'. If you're a vegetarian this would be a brilliant choice! The last appetiser was perhaps the best dish in the meal and one that would ensure we return to MEGU. Like the Carpaccio.. the presentation of 'Shira Ae' with tofu-spinach and sesame sauce was impressive. The server mixed the ingredients and presented it to us with a flourish—it just melted in the mouth and the gleam in our eyes said it all! Then the sushi platter was delivered. The creative presentation included 'Nigiri Sushi' and 'Seared Chutoro' [medium fatty Tuna] with garlic.. 'Seared Habanero Scallop' and 'Tuna Soy Akami' with black truffle.. 'Vegetarian Rainbow Rolls' and 'Ebi Cracker Roll'. The tuna and chutoro was "transported to culinary heaven" sushi.. I don't think it could've been better! Then our entrée [I call it the "coup de grace”] arrived. The menu lists it as 'Pan Seared Sea Bass with Soy Ginger Dashi' but we agreed that once you see the presentation and take a forkful it's worth each bite! The chef has this one down to an exact science and if you really like seafood this one is to die for — the sea bass was plump and dabbing it with fresh soy ginger dashi made it scrumptious. 

 

Taking a breather with a flute of sake, we meandered over to the alfresco section where the nip in the air was cancelled by mashals peeping from the lush greenery.. the trippy music.. the delightful company. I must mention here that the credit of enjoying our meal (modern Japanese was alien to me) goes to the manager Deepak Rawat who went out of his way to make us relaxed and explained the history and ingredients of each dish served. He repeated this with the other tables too and it was easy to see why MEGU is fast becoming the preferred choice for Japanese cuisine. Time flew by and then dessert was served: a portion of 'Wasabi Cheese Cake' with 'Yuzu Crème Brulee' and 'Azuki Ice Cream'. I dived into the cheese cake which was delicious with a hit of wasabi in the end. My friends said the crème brulee and ice cream were just as delectable. Reflecting back on last night's dinner.. the menu crafted by Chef Saito is excellent, the management is proficient and clued-up and the décor is luxurious — it is worth every pretty penny and a must-visit. Bon appétit! 

— JASMEEN DUGAL

 
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The Leela Palace New Delhi, Diplomatic Enclave, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi

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