I recently had the pleasure of dining at alfresco restaurant Citrus Cafe — with a fabulous view of the green belt off the Noida expressway — during my stay in Sandal Suites operated by Lemon Tree Hotels. Walking in, I felt a calming positive vibe with the stylish interiors, show kitchen, plants and tribal art, and was assured of a fine culinary experience, with chefs Gaurav Mullick and Amit Notiyal at the helm. So is it a wonder I was visibly excited when presented with a European dégustation menu that presented my friend and I with an opportunity of indulging in the chefs' signature dishes in one sitting?
Taking a table at the verandah, with the lush green plants and mist fan cooling the air, I was surprised by the number of diners on a weeknight, which speaks volumes of its popularity with neighbourhood foodies, corporate executives due to is strategic location and in-house guests. Our culinary experience began with freshly baked breads from the patisserie which I generously dabbed with garlic butter. And then chef sent out a procession of dishes. 'Tomato and Clementine Soup' released a bouquet of flavours and textures, blended with cherry tomato, oranges, orange juice, tomato puree, salt, pepper and olive oil. It was beyond sumptuous! Up next was 'Goat Cheese, Roasted Beets and Mesclun Salad'. Packed with lettuce, caramelized orange, roasted walnut, goat cheese, maple vinaigrette, olive oil, salt, pepper, the summer salad was real refreshing.
Once we moved on to heartier dishes I was amply rewarded — the 'Three Tomato Risotto', simple enough that it let the fillings shine i.e. risotto rice, sun-dried tomatoes, tomato puree, confit cherry tomatoes, ricotta crumble, walnut crumble, olive oil, butter and parmesan, was melt-in-the-mouth creamy and elicited involuntary murmurs of 'amore' with each forkful. Time flew with much conversation and camaraderie, and soon chef sent out the last dish. The 'French Style Roasted Chicken Joints' was tender and full-flavoured with grilled asparagus, confit potatoes and red wine jus transforming the Cajun spiced marinated chicken into a showpiece entree; the layered flavours and textures demonstrated the chefs' mastery of the art. Sigh! Stuffed, with barely room for dessert, I changed my mind when the sinfully sumptuous 'Baked Philadelphia Cheese Cake' was placed on the table. How could I resist?
Before I end this review, I must state that everything here is 'genuino'; you get the real deal at Citrus Cafe which is sure to reel me back time and again! Reminiscing over the meal… I now perceive why it's the preferred venue for discerning diners in Noida and Greater Noida who have grown accustomed to personal attention, quality service and excellent cuisine on which the restaurant has built its reputation. The maxim "build it and they will come" applies here. Moreover, what I found remarkable is emphasis on quality and detail right from the design aesthetic and maintaining culinary tradition to presentation of the dishes. What most people should know is that they can escape here to indulge in a slow elaborate meal. I use the word "escape" because that's what you do to get away from the commonplace. Thank You, Chefs Gaurav Mullick and Amit Notiyal!
— JASMEEN DUGAL
Citrus Cafe, Sandal Suites, Sector 135, Noida