My first visit to Le Cirque was long overdue. And to be quite frank, it was only after I bit in to one delicious morsel after another, did I realize just how long overdue that meal really was!
Now there seems to be a lot of debate over Le Cirque's worth. The two main ones being - "Its not as good as New York" - well honestly I don't give two hoots because that meal tasted pretty damn good to me right here in Delhi.
"It's too expensive" - well yes its unarguably expensive. Is it worth it? Well thats inextricably linked to how much you hold in that wallet, how much of a priority food is to you, and what are the bloody alternatives anyway?? Now I don't hold too much in my wallet most of the time. I have always been terrible at saving - it comes, it goes. And 95% goes on food and travel and then food during the travels, or things related to food. Which should explain how much of a priority food is to me. There is nothing that can give me as much pleasure as a fabulous meal - and I am willing to travel to the ends of the earth and spend every dime I own on it. But thats my prerogative and it need not be yours, before you start muttering unsavoury rants!
Which brings me to my last point - alternatives. I wish I could hold every meal to a global standard but I can't. Why? Because despite being a thoroughly unsatisfied human-being most of the time with my meals here, I do believe comparing would only make it worse. So I keep it relative to what we have. And in comparison to what we have - Le Cirque made me very happy.
Surprisingly large, as one section opens out in to another, endlessly expanding before my eyes, with several closed doors for the possibility of private gatherings too. The space is old fashioned in its formalness, yet contemporary in its own right. Floor to ceiling windows wrap all around one end, overlooking a wonderful terrace for pre drinks and snacks, that further overlooks the capital in all its glory. A sprawling, open-kitchen done to perfection. I personally love the little nook on the right side of the open kitchen to dine at. Lavish, elegant, perfect for that special occasion or just a good meal out.
|Pick your bread|
- Scallop 'Black Tie' - Scallops w/ spinach, truffle in Puff Pastry . My mouth waters with every memory, of every luscious morsel, of this dish. Balance, balance, balance. Generous layers of scallops - I always feel I get a little shortchanged when it comes to scallops - they are either too small and or too few! I was also a bit concerned that the puff pastry may be too thick or too much - but the balance was perfect. As was the puff - buttery, light - divine. The chicken jus on the side was a wonderful condiment! I think of this dish on many a hungry night.
- Caesar Salad - Who doesn't love a great caesar? I could eat one any day of the week. A great one that is. Just look at that sunshine orange yolk, the glistening anchovies, the creamy dressing and some good old fashioned, golden croutons. However, though the deconstructed presentation is aesthetic and clever, do I really want to pay Rs.1200 to slave away on my plate? Chop up the lettuce, cut that ring of crouton in to uniform little bites, cut those anchovies, mix it all up. Won't you just do it all for me crumpet? I'm really very hungry.
- Mi-Cuit Tuna - A Tuna Tartar w/ a mango tapenade. This was absolutely divine. Sesame enticed hints of Asia to this dish. It was fresh, and full of flavour. Definitely a must.
- Bistecca 'alla Fiorentina' (for 2) - Roll out the carpet. Drum roll please. Presenting the Grilled Angus T-Bone Steak! If its steak you're heart's after, find someone to share both the sentiment and steak with, it's worth it. Comes with a side of creamed spinach, potatoes and black pepper jus. For the sake of nit picking, I would prefer a little more colour from those grill lines.
- Floating Island 'Le Cirque' - I actually put up a fight against this dessert, as my friend insisted I try it. I finally caved in and boy am I glad I did! They did some serious justice to this otherwise abused dessert. It's like those meringues had been specially sent down from the heavens above especially for ME (yes I wasn't too excited to share it after the first bite). Light fluffy, beautiful, and accompanied with the perfect crème Anglaise. Highly recommended.
- Cherry Chocolate Souffle - I am a sucker for the whole berry/cherry-chocolate combo. If it's there I insist on eating it and so I did. Was it all that and more? Well it was probably all that but not more. To be fair it kind of took the side line after that lovely Floating Island. A nice dessert none the less - I may pass it next time to try the Crème Brûlée, but I'll probably come back for my choc-cherry fix the time after that!
- Prime Tournedos w/ Foie Gras - The best thing on that plate was the foie. The rest ? Well, lets just say the menu has other things I would rather try.
- Porcini Risotto - w/ Beetroot Fondue & a Porcini Cracker. There are those who like risotto and those who don't. I am definitely all in favour of giving risotto a chance. Yes it can be heavy, some say monotonous, indulgent. But the warmth and comfort that bowl of goodness provides? When each little pearl stands out, when creaminess is achieved without even a drop of cream, with oodles of depth and flavour - perfection. Well this is where I cut your climax short. Not that it was bad. Alas, it wasn't all that either. A little too salty for my liking. And I'm still trying to figure out how and what that beetroot fondue was.
- Tableside Tiramisu - The showmanships great. The smoke, the theatrical construction, the beautiful presentation. But honestly its all just baloney at the end, if you're mouth doesn't get the same wow factor your eyes did. Starting on a simple note - it needed to be sweeter. Now I don't like cloyingly sweet dessert but this needed some sugar loving. There is a reason tiramisu is made as it is and not put together last minute on the table. For the simple reason that those beautiful lady fingers need some time to soak up that coffee, to soften up, to open themselves up. The coffee needs time to mellow out a bit, mingle with its fellow ingredients - it needs to go from wake me up to caress me down. For me this dessert was like having a bite of cake, a sip of coffee, topped with a swivel of mascarpone, rather than a a beautiful amalgamation of ingredients to make one solid dessert.
So if you are willing to splurge I certainly recommend Le Cirque, for the best fine-dining, contemporary Italian food the city has to offer. Chef Mickey Bhoite and his team are doing something wonderful and you really shouldn't deny yourself of it.
Alcohol - Yes
Outdoors - Only for drinks not meals (Though double check)
Budget - Very Expensive - Rs.12,000 (avg. 2 ppl dinner no alcohol)
T. +91 (11) 3933 1234
The Leela Palace
Chanakyapuri, Diplomatic Enclave
New Delhi 110023
Labels: Bars, Brunch, European, Favourites, Italian, Romantic