As I write this, I’m remembering dining under the stars, in the light of a crescent moon, says Anna Hughes, a recent visitor in Delhi. “This was our experience the evening we visited Sevilla restaurant at the Claridges hotel for supper during the current Spanish food promotion. To quote the hotel’s executive chef, Neeraj Tyagi, ‘The Spanish don’t just eat food, they love food,’ and certainly it was a wonderful experience.”
Left: Tapas selection with a jug of Sangria
Excellent Spanish wine was served alongside thoughtfully-prepared dishes, an evening that captured the essence of informal Spanish dining and bonhomie. All of this and more was served up by knowledgeable, affable restaurant staff and made for a memorable evening.
The restaurant has 72 covers on several levels, all set within a garden ambience. The degustation menu showcased a variety of Spanish tapas, the usual name for a variety of small dishes, some eaten as snacks, others as precursors to dinners with the intention to open the appetite, and the restaurant had an excellent selection.
The menu was full of surprises, especially the “Navarese bon-bon box”, consisting of fois gras balls rolled in bitter cocoa powder with different flavours such as citrus fruit, poppy and sesame seeds, and caramalised coconut. We also enjoyed “gambitas”, mouth-watering prawns served in garlic and brandy sauce; tender asparagus stalks and a dish of beef carpaccio, as well as that typical Mediterranean speciality – although perhaps not for everyone – grilled octopus, tasty on a bed of sliced potatoes.
Served together with a light, fruity refreshing white wine, a 2009 Torres Vina Sol (100% Parellada, native grape of the Penedès region in Spain) it all made for a well-rounded culinary experience, a delight even to our well-travelled and often discerning palates.
We had room for just one main course, the John Dory fish. We decided that next time, after a selection of different tapas, we will try the lobster paella, one of Spain’s best known dishes, and wash it down with a jug of sun-kissed sangria, a classic mix of red wine, fruit juice and fruit slices.
The meal was completed with a cheese platter, all the better for tasting with a glass of 2008 Torres Sangre del Toro, a deep-coloured, well-balanced and velvety red wine with juicy, ripe tannins. Certainly a food-friendly and easily enjoyed wine that we felt would have been better served just a little chilled.
Our meal ended with a stuffed pear poached in a red wine sauce and a Crème Catalan evoking memories of time spent in the historic city of Seville, of golden Spanish sunsets, light catching on the drops of water from a nearby ornamental fountain, here and there a flower in a young girl’s hair and the strains of melody from a Spanish guitar.
Left: Outdoor seating at Sevilla
A Sommelier India Top 20 Restaurant in 2010, Sevilla is open only for dinner, 7.30pm – 12.30 am. For table reservations, call 98713 84038 or 3955 5082. The Spanish food promotion runs from 4-13 March 2011.