Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Chef Matteo Fontana’s New Winter Menu Unveiled at Le Cirque

The Leela Palace New Delhi has played host to some of the world’s most celebrated chefs in the last one year. When world-renowned chefs including Daniel Humm, Alain Passard, Gary Mehigan and Wilfried Bergerhausen visited India, some on their maiden visit, they held exclusive chef’s tables at Le Cirque, the swanky French/Italian restaurant at this opulent hotel. While celebrity chefs always travel with their core team, the in-house team of the host restaurant is expected to pitch in almost as much as (if not more) for these high-class events.

Chef Matteo Fontana

So, for all the exciting happenings at the restaurant over the past one year, the newly appointed chef de cuisine of Le Cirque, Chef Matteo Fontana, stayed behind the scenes and lent immeasurable support with his team. He has recently completed one year in India and has been elevated to Corporate Chef for Le Cirque India. We got the pleasure of meeting him as he unveiled his winter menu for Le Cirque Delhi.

Amuse Bouche
Green pea panna cotta with pomegranate, cornetto with avocado mousse,
tuna and caviar, Pâte à Choux with chicken liver pâte and blue cheese.

Chef Matteo believes in preserving the original flavours of the ingredients. The current menu celebrates some of the freshest and finest produce of the season from Italy and France. An array of beautifully plated dishes included heady truffles, creamy burrata from Puglia, French quail and the most flavourful umami-rich broth in the form of soup.

Top: Creamy Burrata with Fig Carpaccio and Balsamic glazed figs.
Bottom: Wild mushroom consommé with raviolini and fresh truffle.

During the course of his career, Chef Matteo has worked with chefs of international repute. These noteworthy exposures helped hone the depth of knowledge of his own culture and a passion to curate dishes that are a reflection of both authenticity and ever evolving contemporary aspects of Italian cuisine. He thus pays tribute to his grandmother with an eggplant parmigiana, but gives it the Le Cirque finesse by adding to it a tomato sauce emulsion and fried basil. Other delights for strict vegetarians include a beetroot tortelli filled with buffalo mozzarella and a lip smacking pumpkin and smoked scamorza barley risotto. Besides the barley that lends the perfect consistency to this risotto, the highlight is the texture of the pumpkin. Unlike a squishy puree like pumpkin that one finds in most places, this one has a bite and even a light crunch to it. Finally the real crunch comes from Amaretto crumble. A real beauty!

Left: Squid Ink Spaghetti
Right: Beetroot Tortelli.

The squid ink spaghetti is quite a classic at Le Cirque. It is now served with a lobster bisque, mint and zucchini velloute, and topped with fine scallop carpaccio. This is followed with a boneless French quail stuffed with mushrooms and truffle. The whole quail that you see in the picture below is indeed the smallest baby quail I have ever had. But don't let the size fool you. This is one filling dish and is accompanied by a sous vided quail’s leg and bite sized truffle Acacia honey popper. 

Top: Boneless French quail
Bottom: Raspberry Jelly Cannolo with Amalfi's Lemon Parfait.

The meal is rounded off with a dessert that matches up to all the fine fare that precedes it. Another Italian classic, the cannolo is presented in jelly form and filled with Amalfi’s lemon parfait and the accompanying elements like lemon meringue and raspberry sorbet balance the flavours and make it look beautiful too.

The Private Dining Room

Fine food is best enjoyed with exemplary service and a beautiful ambience. The private dining room that can comfortably seat 12 people has a show kitchen on one side where you can see the master chefs in action, and on the other there are beautiful glass windows that go all the way up to the ceiling, giving eyefuls of Delhi's diplomatic area. In fact, Le Cirque has three such PDRs should you want some exclusive space to enjoy an intimate meal with select people.

Le Cirque, Level 10 at The Leela Palace New Delhi.
Timings: 7pm to 11:30pm


  1. Went here for a great all-you-can-eat buffet and they held nothing back. The food, service and mostly the staff at New York venues were truly amazing. I was starving and am one of those voracious "sampling" type eaters who has to try everything in a buffet, and I couldn't make it!

  2. Thanks for reading my review! You must try Le Cirque Delhi too whenever you visit India.

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