There are fine dining restaurants and there is Le Cirque which is New Delhi's penultimate fine dining destination. There is something about the French restaurant that appeals to discerning diners. It has to do with thoughtful service and quality and of course the magnificent view of the cityscape. And now that Chef de Cuisine Abhay Singh Bhoite has launched a new summer menu it is no wonder that Le Cirque continues to attract the A-List set.
I was greeted by the manager and seated at a table in the bar as she brought me a flute of red wine and bread crisps that I smothered with a beetroot dip. After greeting acquaintances and being seated at our table I perused the menu and realized we faced a challenge.. too many alluring dishes to choose from! Finally we ordered the 'wild forest mushrooms' as amuse bouche. It had a firm chewable texture and a touch of homemade goodness! The chef came over to introduce himself and recommended we have the signature dishes and sent out 'Double Cooked Mozzarella' and 'Risotto Carbonara'. The mozzarella with figs and arugula.. aged balsamic vinegar and strawberry gazpacho was sinfully delicious. As was the risotto with soft egg yolk and parmesan coulis. The result was a rich velvety dish with textured layers. This was going to be a treat.. I said to myself.. as I lifted the first forkful. It was scrumptious! Up next was 'Olive Oil Poached Black Cod' with burnt eggplant pestato while my friend chose 'Lamb Cotelette in Grissini Crunch' with potato-and-roasted garlic mash and mint-and-onion chimichurri. When the cod arrived I marveled at the aroma of the fresh tomato and parsley guazzetto sauce. It made me appreciate what the French excel in: exquisitely delicious sauces. This was a perfectly satisfying seafood entrée.. one that will draw me back to the restaurant soon! The lamb cotelette was another culinary masterpiece and my friend mentioned it literally melted in the mouth with each savory bite.
Our server was on top of things and never intrusive and dinner wound up on a sweet note with 'Chocolate Cigar' and 'Floating Island'. Though we sent back the chocolate cigar the latter was tres magnifique! My last thoughts as we left Leela Palace was that it's easy to get caught up in the pleasures of a fine table and the flavorful summer menu that takes us on a culinary tour of Europe. Bon appétit.
— JASMEEN DUGAL
Le Cirque, Leela Palace, Chanakaya Puri, New Delhi 110065