Eating At Fine Dining Restaurant Le Cirque Delhi

Le Cirque is a famous international chain of fine dining restaurants operating around the world since 2000. Depending on where you visit they offer a menu either tailored to the French or Italian cuisine. Sometimes, both. Their restaurants are based in New York, Las Vegas, Dubai, New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. As I was staying at the Leela Palace in New Delhi, one evening I got to dine at Le Cirque.

Having already tried restaurants within the hotel such as Jamavar and The Qube I wanted to try some European cuisine. At around 9:00 pm I got the elevator all the way up to the to the 10th floor. Upon exiting the lift I was greeted by a waiter with a lovely smile to welcome my partner and me into their restaurant. As we were already staying in the Leela we did not require a reservation. 

We were escorted to a table and chairs in the main room. Carefully attended too and had my chair pulled, pushed and the napkin folded over me before even ordering anything.

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Several waiters came gave us water. Then advised us on the different menu’s available. One was a tasting menu which was the equivalent to $87 per person. As I was recovering from a bout of ‘Delhi Belly’ and regaining my appetite back I chose to eat off the A la carte menu. Same with my partner.

So, I decided to order their homemade soup of the day which was mushroom soup, 21 hours Sous-Vided Pork Belly with Hazlenut Crusted Pork Tenderloin and truffle fries. Whereas my partner also ordered the homemade soup of the day and Sous Vided pacific lobster with light garlic butter and vegetables. Alongside that, a bottle of red wine was ordered and mineral water. One thing, in particular, was that the waiters were quite persistent on us having the tasting menu. 

Even though, I explained several times I was not feeling that well they could not seem to grasp that I did not want the most expensive meal and heaviest meal on the menu. Similarly, they also tried to upsell wine and ask if I wanted more than one side of truffle fries. I became frustrated as their business needs/incentives were becoming clear. It should not have mattered about the food I ordered and surely an excellent service should have been provided. My decisions also shouldn’t have been questioned.

Proceeding With the order

After the order was made, I looked around the restaurant. I was amazed by the interior. As it was on the 10th floor it had some phenomenal views outside and lovely interior. Due to me visiting in June it was around 41°c so I immediately chose to sit in the consistent temperature of the well air-conditioned indoors. However, I could imagine it would have been beautiful to sit outside during the cooler months.

What I struck by was the interior! First, my favourite part was the open kitchen. No matter where you sat in the restaurant you could see the whole head chef and his team cooking in the kitchen. It was like watching a live performance, it was incredibly alluring. In fact, sometimes my partner would become frustrated as my attention kept getting drifting to the happenings in the kitchen!

Wherever I travel I love to see the kitchen, I believe where you dine you can tell a lot about the food standard and hygiene by the quality of a kitchen. This kitchen did not disappoint and you could tell it was maintained to a professional standard. Similarly, what fascinated me was how the head chef and other chefs worked in unison under stress making artisan dishes for each hotel guest or customer of the restaurant.

To me, when you visit a fine dining restaurant I always get the perception that chefs are horrible to staff. Due to the pressure, they are put under and consistent stand they have to maintain. This was completely written off at Le Cirque New Delhi. During my dining experience, there was no single time I witnessed any tension between chefs or staff.

Food

Before we were served our started with were given a small bread platter with intricately carved butter into a flower. Also a complimentary dish from the chef to taste. Those were both tasty and good to initially line our stomachs. Plus who does not love a good bread basket?

Our first dish came quite promptly within the first 10-15 minutes of us ordering. The mushroom soup had melted in my mouth and it was a delicious taste. However, it was not the best mushroom soup I had tasted. It was just a standard soup. In my opinion, it was not worth the $12 for the starter. Having already had mushroom soup a few times from other restaurants in the hotel it tasted similar.

I understand when you attend fine dining places that there is a particularly high price to go alongside the quality of food and service. However, the mushroom soup was very simple and there was nothing that screamed to me to say it was worth the $12. I immediately estimated how much profit they made from the soup alone.

Mains

Next, our mains came and I’ll start with my belly pork. Pork belly is a favourite dish of mine and I frequently have in the U.K. at fine restaurants as well as at home. I wouldn’t consider myself an expert in knowing what makes a good pork belly, however, I know fairly enough to a good taste.

My Belly Pork

When it came to eating, the belly pork tasted extremely soft and rubbery. There was no crispiness or taste. There were drabs of vanilla, apple pearls and red cabbage alongside the belly pork. Which was really tasty and an interesting pair. However, because these were small it didn’t distract me from the lack of dissatisfaction I had from the belly pork. 

The lobster my partner ordered was incredibly small. It wasn’t a full lobster just parts without its shell in a sauce. Alongside some little vegetables to pair it with. Whilst it was nice to taste it was also not worth $50 either.

Lobster at Le Cirque
Lobster

Finishing the Meal

After finishing, we asked for the bill as it looked like we were the last ones in the restaurant. Upon getting the bill, I was shocked. Now, when we’d ordered the food I was aware the bill would be somewhat expensive. Hence, otherwise why we wouldn’t have dined at a fine dining restaurant. However, what shocked us both was the price of water. It was between $20-$30 because it was imported from Italy!

Now, that is what we felt disgusted. Not at one single point were we informed about this being imported from elsewhere. To us, water is water. There’s no taste it’s not like a wine where the location matters. We could have brought bottled water from the room. I thought it was shocking.

Overall, the whole bill at Le Cirque New Delhi came to nearly $500 for the two of us. In my opinion, it was not worth that price. Yes, it was a fine dining restaurant and yes it was in New Delhi’s best hotel. However, the service and quality of food lacked the price. Even though, the interior was stunning and the atmosphere was pleasant I’d certainly not rush back to any Le Cirque New Delhi any time soon. Especially when the cost of the meal, was equivalent to a nights stay at The Leela Palace New Delhi itself.

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