Review – Le Cirque, 2015 – Le beginning of a new era

ImageWith the familiarity of the servers’ glides and the confidence in the manager’s grin, you wouldn’t so much as guess anything’s changed. But the food is testament to the fact that Le Cirque folk have a strong grasp of what the people want, when they want it. They had Bhoite when they had to make an entrance, and much as his presence, Chef Diego’s food is comforting. Don’t get us wrong, your plates will still be marked with swooshes, petite entrees accompanied by silken purees. But a bite of the food itself will be like being wrapped in a blanket.

Atmosphere
Image 1At a recently held Le Cirque luncheon, there were whispers of an excellent Caesar Salad by the new Chef. What could be so great about a Caesar Salad we thought, but one look and we knew, there would have to be a return trip. Le Cirque with all its effortless elegance and Design Spin Studio spin is where we go to have our Cinderella moment. No really, we don’t just mean that this place is up there when one talks of fancy restaurants. It’s the smallest things, like being offered a darker napkin to go with our outfit or a polite server extending his company when we’re left alone, even if for a moment.

Chef de Cuisine, Diego Martinelli
Chef de Cuisine, Diego Martinelli

Chef Diego Martinelli agrees. When a diner decides to put their money at a restaurant, it’s not just for the food. They want the whole show, the full experience. Which is not to say the new menu isn’t especially thought out. Newly appointed and very much Italian, Mickey Bhoite’s successor seems to have so quickly fallen in sync with the well-oiled Le Cirque New Delhi machinery after considerable experience across Europe, Middle East and Asia working with the likes of Bulgari Hotels & Resorts and The Fullerton Hotel.
Comfort food at its finest
Comfort food at its finest

Food & Drink
The one time we ate a truly fabulous meal in New Delhi was at this very restaurant. The only other dining experience in the city that has come close has been this one. So, here’s our food & drink and recommendations and verdict all wrapped in one, we left it up to the Chef to choose for us and one when-to-stop heads-up request later, we were served dish after delish dish, from a winning selection. Starting with a pumpkin soup amuse bouche.
Pan-seared Hokkaido Scallops
Pan-seared Hokkaido Scallops

In teeny-ish cups that reminded us of when we played house as kids, came packed a sweet pumpkin concoction with miniature ravioli, the slightly bitter almond amaretti cookies and candied ginger to further enhance the sweetness. With the last of that lingering sweetness, we bit into pan-seared Hokkaido Scallops next. The single scallop accompanied by a velvety and luminous purple potato puree, is just perfection, with slightly tangy, sun-dried tomato dust giving a nice, dark texture to its smooth skin.
Mozzarella Caprese
Mozzarella Caprese

All that said, those of you who mind the intense taste of dill, avoid. Or lose the dill, whatever. Next was Le Cirque’s take on our beloved insalata caprese with plump bocconcini, made better with six different varieties of skinless, marinated heirloom tomatoes. There were all kinds of colors in there and we joked about how there wasn’t nearly enough variety, between mouthfuls of soft cheese and tomato. And speaking of variety, we also tried a tomato drink. If you’re thinking bloody Mary, then yes, close, only more comparable to The Hulk, made with green tomatoes instead of the usual red kind and done in gin. While this one’s a must-try for the adventurous, it’s their Dirty Martini that wins hands down in the drinks department.
Sea Bass in Crispy Potato Paupiette
Sea Bass in Crispy Potato Paupiette

In pasta, it has to be the one done in butter and with shavings of black truffle. We also tried the Handmade Tortelloni, with an excellent pumpkin heart and a smattering of crispy pancetta chips, in a pool of smooth and salty Parmigiano fondue for balance. Since we don’t cook fish, we love to go out and order it and our sea bass, on a bed of tomato tartare was every bit what we expected. Our next course comprised a risotto with artichoke and was comparatively less impressive. For our final course, we had Crispy Pork Belly, which was nothing but.
Crispy Pork Belly
Crispy Pork Belly

A chic, pork party on a plate this one, it marries the traditional apple-accompaniment with a more wholesome pumpkin puree and balsamic glaze. The balsamic employing trend also makes its way into dessert and is largely why our sautéed strawberries, served with a milky gelato, were as sublime as they were. “Just sauté strawberries in butter, add some balsamic vinegar and sugar,” Chef Diego tells us. Hells yeah, we’re doing that.
Sautéed Strawberries
Sautéed Strawberries

The Leela Palace
Diplomatic Enclave, Chanakyapuri, New Moti Bagh, New Delhi, Delhi 110023
Phone:011 3933 1234

The Luxe factor is

10 Food
10 Service
10 Ambience
10
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