Restaurant Review: Le Cirque Signature, The Gastronomic ‘Circus’ Comes To Town

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This one comes with a whole lot of baggage and hype surrounding it. And rightly so! After an ultra-successful foray onto the New Delhi culinary scene, the Le Cirque bandwagon comes calling on our shores here in Mumbai at The Leela with its signature theatrics pat in place. Le Cirque which simply means ‘the circus’ has a delicious little New York back story which is important in understanding the ethos of the brand.

Le Cirque Signature 2

As the first Le Cirque Signature restaurant, this ‘temple’ to fine Franco-Italian dining sure had me praying at its altar as I indulged the hedonist in me with a five course meal. A meal put together by the celebrated young Florentine chef, Chef Matteo Boglione. This former nomadic chef with the racing teams of companies such as Ferrari, Peugeot and Alfa Romeo, has been much acclaimed by the revered critics of New York City. His guests over the years have included Leonardo Di Caprio, Sarah Jessica Parker, Woody Allen, David Bowie, and Gwyneth Paltrow among other glamazons.

But before I dive into the depths of the food here, a little about the setting of this drama is in order. Refined, elegant, sophisticated, yet with measured doses of the whimsical are the best adjectives to describe the eight floor-perched Le Cirque Signature’s mood. From real hide-covered bar stools to the ‘bubble’ chandeliers, thick grey silk curtains and elegant yet quirky clown-motif on the Villeroy & Boch crockery, the setting reeks of elegance with a playful sense of humour.

Le Cirque Caesar Salad by Diane De Lucia
Le Cirque Caesar Salad by Diane De Lucia

And that very sentiment is referenced in the food as well. A tiny morsel of A’hi Tuna engulfed in a cloud of smoke, covered with a glass cloche takes the form of our amuse bouche as our glasses are topped with honeyed chardonnay. Utterly divine and criminally more-ish with the subtlety of the firm tuna marrying the hickory wood smoke in a joyous union. Next up was the pre-appetiser of Pan Seared Foie Gras coupled with Caramalised Peach and Perigordon Sauce, all sitting pretty on a Cinnamon Brioche. The richness of the foie was expertly foiled by the fresh sweetness of the peach and the pillow-y texture of the brioche. A true multi-sensory extravaganza if there ever was one!

Classic Paupiette of Black Bass Le Cirque copy
Classic Paupiette of Black Bass Le Cirque copy

For appetisers I chose to have the Black Olive Papardelle with a meat-y Lamb Ragout, Artichoke Cream and shaved deep fried Artichoke Flakes embellishing it, giving the otherwise simple, perfectly al dente pasta dish a punch like no other. A tiny piece of the slivered almonds-crusted Dover Sole Almandine drizzled with a buttery Meuniere Sauce stood in for my main course that almost had me begging in an Oliver Twist-esque fashion for some more. But I resisted the urge and subdued the glutton in me with hope. And hope presented itself in two unique guises. Firstly, in the form of the Fried Calamari rings with a Tartare Sauce and a Spicy Tomato Relish which wasn’t anything spectacular and rather ‘fish-n-chips shop’ common. This was followed by a superbly creative Pecorino Cheese Crème Brulee (complete with a caramalised hard top!) served with a Red Onion Marmalade and a Balsamic Reduction. A perfect specimen to highlight Chef Boglione inventive genius.

Also amply displaying that streak of innovation was the bizarre sounding Mille Foglie that was a symphony of thinly sliced eggplant disks fried to a crisp and bolstered with cloudy bursts of White Chocolate Mousse and splashed very Jackson Pollock-like with Dark Chocolate lashings. What a true blue marvel of a dessert, leaving the lightest taste of eggplant on your palate that has already begun to revel in the unctuousness of the mousse.

With an extensive menu bursting to its seams with other such culinary oddities, Le Cirque Signature is the kind of place that needs repeated visits to do full justice to.

And, as I am all for justice, I’ll be back!

WHERE? Level eight The Leela, Mumbai, Andheri-Kurla Road, near Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Andheri. Call, 022-66911212
HOW MUCH? Rs 9,000 for two without alcohol
WHEN? 7.00pm onwards (only open for dinner)
WHAT’S HOT? The finest of fine dining awaits you here along with impeccable service.
WHAT’S NOT? Falling prey to the cliché of fine dining restaruants across the globe, the portion sizes here are very small and you almost need another meal when you’re done (?) here.
SHOULD YOU GO THERE? Hell yes!

Post By Raul Dias (102 Posts)

Lists travel, food and luxury as the tantalizing trifecta that defines him. When he’s not travelling, eating or getting pampered at a spa, you'll find him assaulting his notebook's keyboard with a feral vengeance, churning out what he hopes are intelligent, informative and entertaining stories.

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Raul Dias

Raul Dias
Lists travel, food and luxury as the tantalizing trifecta that defines him. When he’s not travelling, eating or getting pampered at a spa, you'll find him assaulting his notebook's keyboard with a feral vengeance, churning out what he hopes are intelligent, informative and entertaining stories.