Review: Hiatus, Clarion Collection – Qutab Hotel, New Delhi

Every person has a different reason for wanting to try out a new restaurant. Some people go for the love of food, some just to be seen, where as I have a fascination with wanting to go for the ambience and to have an interesting experience hence food usually ends up taking a back seat for me. Fortunately with Hiatus I did not have to worry in either regard, for the ambience, décor and food surpassed all expectations.

Hiatus,Clarion Collection,

Hiatus,Clarion Collection,

The restaurant has been divided into different areas, each boasting of a different experience and different cuisine. Starting from the H-Bar an urban bar which serves an innovative range of cocktails along with the most high end range of international spirits. I was given my fix of alcohol delight with a CLOVE TINI-A fusion version of cocktail enhanced with special in house clove syrup merged with fresh orange juice and ANISE TINI- An out of the mind love of “THE HIATUS” blended with anise and mango and Basil flavour.

Hiatus,Clarion Collection,

Hiatus,Clarion Collection,

The other areas in the restaurant are THE PATIO, the open-air patio, which is a nice intimate area where you can sit during the winter evenings and enjoy a lovely barbeque, or also come during the day for a nice brunch. Or you can DINE IN CELLAR- Where you get a tailor made menu as well as a selection of wine. And finally a special area for Chefs guests which is where I was invited the CHEF & YOU – a unique fine dining experience in the kitchen that is personalized to suit the palate of each diner that visits the venue.

Hiatus,Clarion Collection,

We began our gastronomic journey with the Amuse Bouche and then moved on to the salad, Roasted Beetroot Stack with Feta Cream- Slow Oven cooked beetroot Carpaccio stack filled with feta & oregano cream, I did not even know you could have something like a Beetroot Carpaccio let alone that it would taste so good. Tomato & Jasmine Tea soup was the next thing on the menu, it’s a balanced mix flavor of tomato soup, and jasmine tea topped up with Black truffle oil served with Garlic Crostini. Chef Special Mezze platter which includes Sundried tomato and Basil Hummus, Eggplant Salsa, Indian Style Tzatziki, Italian Salad, Greek infused Falafel served with sumac dusted Kulcha, again this dish was an amazing fusion of Mediterranean and Indian style, without it seeming forced. Air bread with Indian Style Mini Cottage Cheese Steak is something I would recommend to all vegetarians, modern technique of cooking used for making air bread filled with Cheese fondue and topped with pickle marinated mini cottage cheese steak with tomato caviar & olive dust. Spanish Style Chicken Tikka, Paprika Infused succulent chicken chunks cooked on grill and Served with Mango Salsa, blinis, basil chutney was the first non-veg dish served, so lets just say I absolutely devoured the dish and the mango salsa was the best form of Mango I have eaten in a whileOrange and Kafir lime Sorbet- the in house sorbet worked as a palate freshener between the courses. Wild Mushroom Ragout with Fettuccini Black Fungus, Porcini, Oyster cooked in tomato cream sauce in an Italian style and served with fettuccini. Calabrese Penne Chorizo, black olives, sundried tomato, parmesan oil in a tomato sauce and tossed with penne Mains Spinach & chickpea Dumplings with Pine nut & Fresh Rose Petal Gravy Served with Exotic Mushroom & gruyere Kulcha. Bacon Wrapped chicken with paprika infused Makhani gravy was another fusion dish where the Makhni gravy added just the right amount of excitement to the palate. Honey Glazed Indian Vegetables served with Saffron and mix Vegetable Pilaf was the last of the mains, by now I had reached a point where I had to forcibly stop eating cause my stomach had begun to rebel while my mouth was still salivating. Finally we ended the meal with the desserts: Italian Classic Tiramisu. Chocolate Spoon, Rum and Coffee Caviars. Chef Special Napoleon. Chocolate hazelnut napoleon with cardamom sorbet.

Cocktail, Hiatus,Clarion Collection, Tomato jasmine tea soup, Hiatus,

All in all it was one of the finest Fine Dining experiences I have had in a long time. So if you are looking to go for an intimate meal this Valentines day or have a nice outdoor Party this Spring, you know where you should go.

Address: Clarion Collection – Qutab Hotel
Shaheed Jeet Singh Marg, New Delhi
Phone:  Tel: +91 41078789
Price: Meal for two Rs 2,500  (plus taxes) minus alcohol

Review: FIO Country Kitchen and Bar

Since I moved to Mumbai in 2009 there has been a list of restaurants which opened in Delhi that I have been wanting to visit. So now that I am in Delhi for a while I have started reviewing these places. The first being FIO where honing his creative expertise in the business of hospitality, restaurateur, Vineet Wadhwa,rekindles the magic of five senses.

Situated at ‘Garden of Five Senses’FIO pays an ode to the countryside-kitchens of Italy & India. Serene and calm FIO takes you away from the noise and fast life of the city into a quiet retreat. Lush landscape with subtle lighting, this charming place boasts of an eclectic outdoor area and chic indoor restaurant and bar. As I have always said I love outdoor eating spaces, I think it was mainly because I missed those in Mumbai but more than anything because of the country charm and romance associated with them. Hence, these places are perfect for a nice lazy brunch or even a romantic meal for two in the evening. In both aspects FIO does not disappoint.
FIO looks like a farm-house or someones holiday home which has been converted into the restaurant. Though I am sure that is not the case the look and feel is that of a country house. The outdoor has variety of seating areas including a covered porch. The furniture here is eclectic, the seating has a mix of wrought iron and cane furniture as well as wooden benches. These with bright coloured cushions and green plants really remind one of a nice garden by a country house by a lush country side. The porch has more upholstered seating like sofas and chairs. There is a bar outdoor as well which is perfect for when someone wants to host a brunch or dinner at the venue.
The indoor has a more contemporary look, with bright red sofas and straight like chairs and tables. It has large bay windows over looking the garden outdoor. The gardens that besides adding to the beauty is also where the herbs for food are grown. Yup! FIO grows its own potted herbs which is used in the food that we eat, organic cooking at its best!

Personifying its name, FIO blends the finest from the Italian & Indian kitchen. The Italian selection features Grilled New Zealand Lamb Chops, Grilled Lobsters brushed with Japanese Mustard, pan seared Bassa, Norwegian salmon all meats sourced from different parts of the world. For the ones loving Thin crust Pizzas from the woodfired oven – Layered with Gorgonzola, Mozzarella Fontina, Parma and the in-house smoked chicken with a mound of Rucola.The Indian kitchen is boastful of its kebabs – Tandoor Tigers, Munnar Chettinad Murg, Raan, Bhatti Murg and Khasta Paneer all chargrilled to perfection, served extra hot on thin metal chaude dishes and a house salad!

 FIO has a well stocked bar with wines from over 10 different countries. The cocktails were quite refreshing and delicious the highlight was a sugar-free Mojito for one of my dinner companions who is Diabetic. While we were waiting for our appetizers to arrive we were presented with a bread basket of delicious home-made bread and sauces to go along. We ate the whole basket which was a mistake but the bread was delicious and I have a soft corner for bread. From here we moved on to the ANTIPASTI (APPETIZERS) where we had the POLLO PADELLA DI MOSTARDE which is Grilled chicken diced, peppers and mustard chilli, CROSTINI DI FUNGI which is toasted garlic bread, mushrooms, mozzarella, SALMONE AFFUMICATO DI CASA which is home cured Salmon with cranberry drizzle. The unanimous decision regarding the best appetizer was POLLO PADELLA DI MOSTARDE, the chicken was succulent and well cooked while the sauce was rich. Though I am a huge Salmon fan and it was delicious I feel it paled in comparison to the other dishes as the sauces of those were just really rich. So I would recommend the Salmon but with a salad or another cold dish. For mains we had PENNE CON POLLO E’FUNGHI which is a penne with chicken, mushrooms, white wine and cream but I requested a pink sauce as I prefer that,though this is a simple dish I always like to taste this in any restaurant I go to review. I believe true art lies in conquering simplicity. As you can guess I was quite satisfied and it was yummy! But the main highlight of the meal was BASSA CON ZENZERO E’ MELE which was our other main and was out of the world totally recommend. This is Vietnamese Bassa pan seared with honey and ginger sauce and served with mashed potatoes and sautéed greens. Even though I was stuffed I finished each morsel on my plate and plan to go back to FIO just to eat it again! The finale was the TIRAMISU MILANESE, since I am not a coffee person at all I normally avoid Tiramisu but this was delicious. I actually had more than a customary single bite!

The food and ambience were both outstanding. Like I mentioned earlier it is perfect for a lovely brunch as well as a romantic meal for two. With the given space it is also great to host a party. The place is big enough to mark off a section for you depending on the amount of guests and theme. I am definitely going back there this time to try out the Indian cuisine, who knows I might even plan my Birthday party there.
FIO –Country Kitchen & Bar,Gate no. 1, The Garden of Five Senses Said-Ul-Ajaib, Mehrauli, Delhi. Tel: 011-29536309. Price: Rs 2,000 for a meal for 2 (minus alcohol)

150 gm chicken leg dices
20 gm pommeri mustard
½ tsp chilli flakes
½ tsp thyme leaf
½ tsp chopped garlic
1 tsp parsley chopped
1 tbs olive oil
½ tsp black pepper crusted
Salt to taste

Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan add chopped garlic cooked till brown add chicken cooked for 2 minute add mustard, thyme, chilli flakes, black pepper and salt to taste cooked for 5 minutes.Serve hot garnish with parsley.

180 gm Bassa fish fillet
100 ml Balsamic vinegar
20 ml honey
20 gm ginger
2 nos lemon leaf finely chopped
50 gm mashed potato
20 gm red capsicum sliced
20 gm yellow capsicum sliced
30 gm zucchini jardinière cut
30 yellow zucchini jardinière cut
10 gm garlic finely chopped
½ tsp chilli flakes
½ tsp black pepper crusted
20 ml Cooking cream
Olive oil
Salt to taste

Marinade Bassa with salt, black pepper, parsley and olive oil set aside.
For mashed  potato, heat oil in a pan add garlic cooked till golden brown add mashed potato, cooking cream, chilli flakes, salt and black pepper mix it well.
For zinzaro sauce, take a pan heat balsamic vinegar add chopped ginger and lemon leaf reduced to half add honey cook for one minute.
Take a pan heat oil add red capsicum, yellow capsicum, zucchini and yellow zucchini add salt and pepper cooked for one minute.
In  a non stick pan  heat oil add marinade Bassa cooked until it  turns golden brown then turn the fillet again cooked it nicely so that same colour comes second side. When Bassa is cooked serve with mashed potato, sautéed vegetable and zinzero sauce.

3 nos Lasagne sheet
100 gm asparagus
20 gm onion chopped
20 gm garlic chopped
½ tsp fresh thyme leaf
½ tsp fresh parsley chopped
50 ml cooking cream
2 tbs tomato sauce
50 gm parmesan cheese (grated)
30 gm mozzarella cheese
2 tbs olive oil
20 gm black olive
20 gm green olive
15 gm cherry tomato

Preheat oven to 180 degree C
Trim asparagus. Cut stalks into 1/2-inch pieces.
Heat oil in a pan add chopped onion and garlic cooked till brown.
Add asparagus, thyme and cooking cream cook till asparagus is half-cooked. Remove from the heat and add 20 gm grated parmesan cheese and set aside.
Take a large pot of boiling salted water and cook lasagne sheet for 6 to 8 minutes or until almost tender. Drain and cool in cold water. Remove and arrange in single layer on damp tea towel.
In a baking dish spread tomato sauce and arrange lasagne sheet spread quarter of asparagus sauce and one-quarter of mozzarella cheese, repeat the process 3 times. Top with final layer of lasagne sheet and asparagus sauce. Sprinkle parmesan cheese black and green olive and cherry tomatoes over top and Baked in oven for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown and bubbly, garnish with asparagus tips over top