The capital’s unrivalled street food scene is now being toppled by a plush fine dining culture that serves up everything from South American to classic Italian and trussed-up desi knockouts. We list the city’s hottest fine dining establishments (here are Mumbai’s best) for some of the most exemplary gourmet meals.
The Radisson Blu has contributed handsomely to Faridabad’s makeover from sleepy suburb to an upcoming cosmopolitan district where hipsters spend long afternoons over dim sum and burritos. The hotel’s all-day diner Broadway sets the bar high, with a lively ambience that draws in Delhi’s pampered foodies. The open show kitchen keeps things exciting and entertaining round the clock, under the watchful eye of Chef Avanish Jain and his culinary team.
The chic and contemporary menu travels across Europe, bringing flavourful offerings from Italy and Spain, as well as sumptuous classics from France. The Vol Au Vents are a delightful medley of exotic vegetables spiced up with chilli pineapple salsa and a zing of sour cream. A platter of plump Quesadillas stuffed with chicken and fresh mozzarella is always a crowd pleaser. For mains, ask for the mother of all comfort foods, Mushroom Risotto with Parmesan Cream — perfectly cooked with short-grained Arborio rice. The Lasagne is another hot choice for a larger table. For a light yet hearty main, go for the Herb Grilled Spring Chicken served with creamy mash, sautéed vegetables and rosemary jus. An elegant option — especially if you have to impress a date — is the Pan Seared Salmon, smothered with lush herb butter. The sugar-free Panna Cotta, a softly set coconut milk pudding, takes you to the cobbled streets of Naples, before landing back in Faridabad with a satiated smile on your face.
SUMMER HOUSE CAFE
In the bunch of cool new kids at Hauz Khas Village, Summer House Cafe is cooler than thou, transporting a distinctly vintage Bombay vibe to Delhi’s hipster haven. With its high ceiling, wooden rafters and vintage tiled flooring, this cavernous lounge is all sunshine and happiness. A lovely rooftop space — with low sofa-like seats, high wooden chairs and wooden benches — fringes the minibus-shaped bar which is the focal point on live music nights and when the in-house DJ is getting the packed house up on its feet.
Catch up on the latest goss with your pals over the zingy Jalapeno Cheese Fingers and Stuffed BBQ Soya Tikka. If you’re a vegetarian and game for a whopper of a main course, order the Crusted Cottage Cheese Steak with Chunky Tomato Sauce. Fresh from a wood fired oven, the Cherry and Sundried Tomato, Bocconcini and Basil Pizza is an excellent choice from the varied pizza menu. Round it off with a creamy and moist Tiramisu for a (Italian) job well done!
The signature Indian restaurant at Vivanta by Taj Surajkund brings the authentic, power-packed flavours of a roadside dhaba to a sophisticated fine dining space. Right from the quirky truck with quotable Punjabi quotes parked at the front to the rustic décor — charpoys, lanterns, brass utensils, ubiquitous parandas and chunnis — the ambience is all heart and homey. The theme extends to the authenticity of a Punjabi kitchen, with spiced mattha shots as a welcome drink while you pop a couple of golgappas to tingle your taste buds.
The Bharwan Malai Broccoli is a delicious fusion starter, but opt for the Jalandhari Paneer Tikka and Amritsari Pomfret if you’re looking for the real deal. The quintessential Delhi/Punjabi foodie can’t imagine a meal without juicy moist chicken — a craving that the Tandoori Kukkad satisfies immensely. The mains are varied and include unusual veggies like bitter gourd, but the Khumb Hara Pyaaz is a great choice if you want to experiment without going overboard. For seafood lovers, the Patiala Shahi Machhi is a royal treat. Another pan-Indian, all-time hit is the Baingan Bharta Masaledar, which will have you grinning in desi ecstasy.
For the country’s unofficial whisky capital, this one’s taken a long time coming! After successfully running Antares in Goa and NCR’s The Wine Company, entrepreneur Ashish Dev Kapur opened this boozy fine dining space with a swish South American theme — and an enviable collection of whiskies — bang in the middle of the new-age One Horizon Center in Gurugram.
A breezy al fresco space decorated by Parisian-style canopies leads to one of the longest bars the National Capital Region: a 50 foot long artistic behemoth offering 140 varieties of whisky, with up to 2,500 bottles on display (including many of our favourite Johnnie Walker blends). The bar steals the spotlight in the 250-seater interior with minimalist black and white interiors. The impressive whisky menu is curated according to flavour profile, but the food isn’t any less spectacular. Try the Chimichurri Mushroom Skewers for an au courant taste of Peru. The Couscous Stuffed Spicy Eggplant and Caprese on a Bread provide light touches before launching into their Chicken in Sambal Olek and Cliantro Roots; a dish that is primed to leave your palate delighted. The Garlic Chilli Shrimps in White Wine is a boozy celebration of baby prawns, while the Korean Spiced Lamp Chops provide a more Asian punch. For a classy and contemporary version of a regional desi dish, try the Kolkata-style Kasundi Tenderloin Skewers. For dessert, the Berry Bubble Specialty offers a smooth symphony of berry ice-cream and berry compote, unless you prefer their spirited Whisky and Burnt Caramel Tiramisu.
There’s no such thing as too many Italian restaurants and Delhi’s foodies know this, which is why they’re willing to brave traffic to hotfoot it to Bella Cucina at Le Meridien in Gurugram. Literally meaning ‘Beautiful Kitchen,’ the gorgeous restaurant serves cuisine from the central and northern regions of Italy. A stunning, custom-made vintage Molteni stove dominates the open kitchen, while you repose in the cream and sandstone interiors with accents of leather and Travertine marble.
The food retains the freshness of the produce with starters as devastatingly simple as Tomato and Mozzarella served smoked in a mason jar with rocket lettuce and pine nut pesto. The Wild Mushroom Arancini is a house favourite which you absolutely must try, before moving on to the ultimate comfort food — Fried Chicken filled with goat cheese and served with a jalapeno dip. Other classics with clever twists are the Pan Fried Quinca Gnocchi and Burnt Garlic and Spinach Risotto. Their Espresso Coffee Mousse and Pineapple Semifreddo will leave you molto, molto felice!
Image Credits: carlsonhotels.com; liveinstyle.com; vivanta.tajhotels.com; amateaudio.com (2); lemeridiengurgaondelhincr.com