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Critic's Review

Updated about 8hrs ago

  • Food
  • 80% Complete (success)
  • Service
  • 70% Complete (success)
  • Decor
  • 80% Complete (success)

A well-appointed restaurant with touches of genius in the French and Italian menu

A young Indian chef with international experience, a show kitchen with a Moltini range (the Lamborghini of kitchen equipment that costs around the same as the car) and contemporary style.

Atmospherics
Off the lobby of Pullman Hotel, with a wine room at one end, the rather uncomfortable water tumblers make a colour statement on the table: splotches of scarlet in an otherwise sober restaurant. Oh, and the Moltini is red too.

Food Talk
Seared scallop and king prawn, pistachio puree and Noilly Prat fumet (Rs 1,100) is a class apart. Be warned that the king prawn is just the essence of the sauce. It is a bit of a cruel trick, because the cleaned shell of the prawn is the garnish in the bowl! However, for the delicate flavour of the sauce that is as light as air, the rather pricey dish is worth it. As is salted grape and foie gras parfait with pickled chanterelles and orange jelly (Rs 975). The plate is ainted' with a black olive pesto for colour, and that, more than the chanterelles that don't, in my opinion, take to being pickled, is the flavour enhancer. Usually, foie gras is paired with a very sweet ingredient. In this case, thinly sliced grapes are salted for a more savoury appeal.

Macerated green asparagus and ruby grapefruit salad, smoked curd (Rs 800) is a great choice for vegetarians. The mildly astringent asparagus combines well with the acidic grapefruit and the smoked curd is a masterful touch. Asparagus seems to be a favourite ingredient in the kitchen: green asparagus risotto and macadamia nut crumble (Rs 800/1,150 depending on whether you are having a starter or a main course) is a rich, creamy textured risotto with a hint of crunch in the nut crumble. Even the other great risotto, the wild porcini risotto with sherry mousse and black truffle oil (Rs 800/1,150) is an opulent dish of intensely umami flavours, perfect especially for vegetarians. Manjari chocolate cremeux with raspberry jelly and white chocolate milk (Rs 725) isn't a dessert. It's an indulgence.

Plus and minus
The one disappointment was the twice cooked beef rib eye with onion soubise (Rs 2,950) that was too tough and well-cooked in spite of ordering it rare. In general, don't expect dumbed down food. Here, ingredients are treated with the utmost respect.

Must Try
Cherry tomato risotto with Ligurian olives; warm chestnut fettuccine with girolles, black trumpet and truffle veloute; best end of lamb with walnut biscuit and quinoa with root vegetables.

Updated yesterday

  • Food
  • 70% Complete (success)
  • Service
  • 70% Complete (success)
  • Decor
  • 60% Complete (success)

A mid-range Japanese adda in the heart of Connaught Place

Atmospherics:

The Middle Circle of Connaught Place seems ready to be developed the same way that Khan Market’s middle lane has been. One can only hope that the Middle Circle becomes clean, easy to navigate at night and respectable to visit. Fuji seems to be the venture between an Indian partner and a Japanese partner. At the moment, the only Japanese staff member is the hostess who assists Japanese guests. And the restaurant, at any given time, has far more Japanese guests than Indian ones, though you’ll usually find an Indian host entertaining Japanese business guests. Not surprising therefore, that the menu caters overwhelming to Japanese preferences: ramen noodles and yakitori as well as the most elemental Japanese meal-in-a-bowl consisting of rice with a meat or fish topping. The teppanyaki and sushi offerings seem to be for Delhiites.

Table Talk:

No Japanese meal is complete without a couple of cold starters, and Hiyayakko (Rs 250) pleases the palate with its seemingly simple, uncomplicated flavour: a cube of bean curd topped with finely shredded bonito flakes. More adventurous are the starters that contain natto – the fermented bean curd that form sticky strands rather like okra that has been imperfectly cooked. Ika natto (Rs 400) combines neatly cut pieces of squid with natto and a dash of Japanese mustard. You need to moisten it with just enough soy at the table. This and maguro natto (Rs 450) or salmon cubes and natto are the finest starters on the menu. The finest dish at the table was salmon yakimono (grilled) that cost Rs 680 for two pieces.

Plus and minus:

The mainly Nepalese staff are efficient, pleasant and eager to please. They are completely up to speed with the menu and can suggest intelligently. On the minus side is the sushi and chawanmushi. The sushi uses fish from Japan, but the rice is another matter altogether. It is not sticky enough, which means that every last sushi will disintegrate as you lift it from the platter. The chawanmushi is, admittedly, an egg custard that indicates the cook’s expertise. This one was not firm enough and broke into liquid upon the first spoon. The bits of crabstick and shitake that constitute the filling were notable by their absence.

Must Try: Ramen noodles (either shoyu (soy) or miso); chicken katsu (fried chicken atop rice); yasai okonomiyaki

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