White Alba Truffles at Le Cirque, The Leela Palace, New Delhi #EyesForDining
The October-November Truffles festival in Italy usually means that luxury hotels all over the world are likely to receive a larger-than-usual shipment of the precious White Alba Truffles. I love how the flavor of these tubers ( sometimes categorized as mushrooms ) can be combined with food we eat regularly, to create a warm cocoon of comfort – something one only gets to feel when partaking in this bounty. So when my friend on the client side, Rajat Kalia, invite Bharat and I for a meal at the opulent Leela Palace, we agreed to show up the same night for dinner. ( The truffles don’t survive too long on the special menu as the hotel runs out after a deluge of requests from patrons. )
Both Bharat are I are no strangers to Le Cirque – we’ve been invited to sample their refreshed menu and we’ve celebrated one of our anniversaries over a dinner date as well – and it serves the perfect cuisine to go well with the truffles.
The temperature in Delhi is as perfect as it can be to get a feel of the “warm cocoon of comfort” I mentioned above. It was a busy Friday evening for the restaurant and even more so for the hotel. A sea of men in white flowing capes alongwith their security detail, had taken over the property.
There was a massive gingerbread house in the lobby too – big enough to let guests stand inside and get a bite of the sweets stacked indoors. Bharat got a couple of photos there.
We sat down at our table in one of the well-lit corners of the restaurant ( by now, thankfully, everyone seems to be on the same page when a blogger / influencer requests for “good lighting” ). Ravi, who served us throughout the evening, highly recommended we drink a Pinot Noir as it would be a nice accompaniment to the truffle-infused dinner. But Bharat doesn’t drink – except a sip or two to taste what he’s missing – and I am more of a Cabernet Sauvignon drinker. And I found the same wine on the menu that I’m currently sipping on at home – Miguel Torres’ San Medin 2014. It’s a lovely dark red and I probably drank a whole bottle over the course of the evening. ( Luckily neither of us was driving and we had great chauffeur service both ways, courtesy the hotel. )
We started with an amuse-bouche, which was great ( pumpkin and some sour cream ). Both Bharat and I had requested for this smoked potato mousse with the white Alba truffles. This also has a poached egg, so the “warm comfort cocoon” spot was hit and how. This was the highlight of the meal for me and even for Bharat. We could not stop talking about beautiful in its simplicity this had been – and I totally wanted a second serving of the same. But Chef Diego, who has been at the restraurant for two years now – he joined just after Mickey Bhoite moved on – had more special things coming our way.
We were then served a delightful risotto – which was super heavy and I was kind of done but still greedy. Bharat got himself a nice sea bass and I had asked for the NZ lamb. Both were great, as expected. But nothing beats the smoked potato mousse. If you happen to be at the hotel, definitely go up to Le Cirque and get one of these while their stock of White Alba Truffles lasts. Highly recommended.
We closed dinner with the rosemary and truffle infused creme brulee, which was too much of rosemary IMO – but we still polished off the whole thing. Creme brulees are like that in my book – can’t do no wrong – and definitely not at Le Cirque.
We spent some time with Chef Diego, asking him what magic he’s spun with the smoked potato mousse and shared how he does it.
Then it was time to visit the loo before heading back home, which is when we ( I mean “I” ) decided to get some photos around the flower arrangements and the mirrors. The hotel’s interiors are beautiful.
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