It is undeniable that Le Cirque and the Maccioni family are icons in the New York restaurant business and as soon as I knew that they opened a location in Delhi, I had that place in mind. I was recently in the Indian capital and we tried to book a table at this renowned Italian restaurant on a Sunday night. Unfortunately, it was full, a party of 70 hungry Italians having booked the place. Fortunately, thanks to Mauro Maccioni, one of the sons of Sirio Maccioni, the patriarch of the family, who I met a couple of times at Circo (Mauro, not Sirio - maybe one day!), I was able to get a reservation, my friends not believing that it happened.
There, we met with the Chef, Matteo Fontana, who has been feeding diners since last December after an incursion at Le Cirque Abu Dhabi, serving one of the most memorable menus I had. The restaurant is located on the 10th floor of The Leela Palace, in the Diplomatic Enclave of New Delhi, organized in three different areas overlooking the city: the bar at the entrance, the main dining room with its opened kitchen and a private dining room with only few tables. This is in the latter room that we got seated.
At Le Cirque, they have an extensive list of wines from around the world and I chose a Chianti, Brolio Barone Ricasoli 2014, an Italian wine with cherry notes.
They started off by bringing us some delicious focaccia bread that I simply could not stop eating...
Then, was an amuse that has a beautiful presentation: on one side was a very refreshing Italian gazpacho (chilled tomato soup) and on the other side, presented like a macaroon was their Tuscan liver paté, sandwiched in a brioche that was topped with a slice of black truffle. I could have eaten an entire plate of this delicious paté that was perfectly made. In fact, they offer it as an appetizer if you are tempted.
Talking about appetizers, I decided to try their Consommé of free range chicken, made with a sous-vide marinated chicken breast, green zucchini pearls and black truffle. Well, that's not your traditional chicken soup for sure: it was delicate and so refined, the truffle adding a bit of decadence and elegance to it.
The second dish was the ravioli stuffed with barolo braised duck leg, a homemade ravioli filled with a duck leg cooked for 4 hours in the oven. It was served with a pumpkin velouté that added a nice sweetness, rosemary morel mushroom, leek spaghetti and topped with a parsley foam. The ravioli was definitely the star of the dish: perfectly cooked with a nice bite, it had a pyramid shape that held inside a fantastic duck leg.
I also got to try one of their specialties: the lobster risotto cooked in lobster bisque: that is one of the best risotto I ever had! There was a nice amount of lobster and the fact that it was cooked in lobster bisque gave even more lobster flavor to the dish. I definitely recommend it.
Then, was the Acacia honey glazed female duck breast: I admit that this was the first time I have seen the gender of the duck I am going to eat on the menu. Chef Matteo explained that the female being smaller than the male, the breast is a bit smaller as well, hence the choice of the female duck for that dish. Pink in the center, the breast was very good, perfect with the duck jus, and with a nicely fatty skin. It was served with some roasted potatoes that were a bit crunchy, like I like them.
But in fact I only got few of these potatoes, focussing more on the black truffle fries that were superb, crispy on the outside and cooked all the way through, with that incredible scent from the shaved truffle.
It was followed by a palate cleanser, that was called "three layers of mango".
Last was dessert, compliment of the Chef. It was their dessert sampler that is something I am always looking forward to seeing on the menu, allowing indecisive diners to try multiple desserts. It was composed of the tiramisu, the napoleon, the baked Alaska and the Le Cirque creme brûlée. All of it was very good, my favorite being the baked Alaska that is out of this world.
And as if we did not eat enough, they brought us some petits fours that were, from left to right: florentine, fresh fruit tart, green apple chocolate, berry financier and raspberry truffle.
This was one of the best dinners I had: the food was succulent and the service on point. I agree when some say that it is like having a Michelin Star treatment and I hope that they will be rewarded with these stars one day as they deserve it.
Enjoy (I did)!
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Le Cirque - The Leela Palace, Diplomatic Enclave, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi