When Southern France Comes to Central Delhi.

The biggest problem of being a food writer is the baggage you carry — of flavours, textures and taste in your palate. While on one hand it may be your biggest strength, on the other it may be a pain — you can hardly taste anything after a while. And so, off late, I have started to say no to most of the invites that come my way. I feel bad refusing (saying no doesn’t come naturally to me!) but I cannot help it.

There are some exceptions to this rule of course. Sometimes a good friend, sometimes a special occasion, and sometimes the novelty of a cuisine. Last Saturday was one such.

Butternut cream with almonds crisp and parsley oil (2).jpg

I have always been curious about the French food. I have wondered what escargots may taste like or if the ground beef that they serve as a delicacy in Paris any good. Then of course there is the awe and curiosity around the french techniques. In Paris however I was too afraid to try the real French food. We survived on noodles and pizza (best by far in the world). And so, when Claridges Delhi invited me for a preview of their special menu at Seville, I had to go. It did not matter that I had just promised myself to not step out for a meal for at least two weeks.

Sevilla, the specialty Spanish restaurant at The Claridges is known for hosting festovals like none other — their guest chefs often come with Michelin Star backgrounds and bring with them techniques, recipes, and offerings that are often unknown to the palate of Delhi.  The Mediterranean region of France is famous for its French sophistication meets warm flavour vibe and that is what  Chef Leclerc Jean-Michel brings to the city.  At Sevilla Chef Leclerc Jean-Michel is serving a special menu made in consultation with resident expert, Chef Vivek Rana and chef Bobby.

The seven course meal started with a brilliant vegetarian course: Eggplant Cannolini stuffed with eggplant caviar and Espuma and grilled asparagus with basil ice cream. A lemon flavoured chicjekeb Sous Vide followed with baby carrots and chicken jus and Lobster Raviolli in lobster bouilabaisse made for a flavourful second course. The dishes displayed the culinary techniques one only hears about (powdered asparagus, jellied asparagus and espuma).

What I loved most however was the butternut and almond soup served with house bread and Sevilla’s special olive oil. Thyme Smoked Lamb Chop served with Vegetable Ratatouille, looked just out of master chef Australia and Candied Pork Belly
served with Carrots and Spanish Polenta was tender and juicy and the vegetarian zucchini canolini nice and tart.

Ravioli of lobster with vegetable and tarragon (2)

The evening closed to some amazing chocolate mousse and a fig tart. While the mousse was smooth and rich — and not sweet at all, the fig tart was a nice play of textures. Fresh figs with a crisp tart and a smooth filling spoke of the quality of ingredients. The quality of ingredients is a given when you have chef Rana taking care of the kitchen though.

fig tart and pistachio ice cream yogurt.jpg

Venue and Timing — Sevilla, The Claridges Hotel. 1900 – 2330. Dates: 28th November’19 to 15th December’19

All Pictures Courtesy: Sevilla, Claridges Delhi.

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