Successful restaurants constantly re-invent themselves and Sevilla at the Claridges Hotel in New Delhi is no exception, writes Rahoul B Singh. Dining alfresco on a November evening in an otherwise hot city is bound to be a pleasant experience. What’s more, the new menu crafted by the restaurant’s executive chef Ravi Saxena has helped put the hotel back on the city’s culinary map.
Open only in the evenings, the restaurant serves cuisine from around the Mediterranean. So, as one might expect, Spanish, French and Italian dishes rub shoulders with their south Mediterranean Moroccan counterparts. Tiny cast iron skillets are used to serve individual portions from the Tapas Bar and Open Kitchen which make for a great prelude to the two fixed menus on offer. (We decided against ordering à la carte).
The smaller and lower priced Explorer menu features old favourites such as mixed meat Paella and Coq au Vin and might seem a bit conservative for those with adventurous palates. However, unless it is haute cuisine you are after, every restaurant ‘authentically caters’ to the taste of its regular clients. With its new menu, Sevilla professes to represent a fusion of ideas from the Mediterranean with an emphasis on clarity of flavour and respect for both ingredients and tradition.
Chef Ravi did admit that conjuring up innovative vegetarian dishes could sometimes be a challenge and felt that when confronted with such a dilemma it was best to stick within the culinary limits of the cuisine without being too adventurous – so for vegetarians the jury is still out. That said, for seafood aficionados I would recommend the Grilled Coral Trout, flown in directly from the Andamans. The Jumbo Scampi from the a la carte menu (Rs 1600) and Australian Lamb Rack (Rs 1550) are also recommended.
Both the set menus, the more elaborate Connoisseur’s (Rs 5000 plus taxes per person) and the Explorer’s menu (Rs 3500) come suitably paired with a selection of fine wines from Spain with each course. The portions, if anything, were too generous to truly enjoy the variety. However, to order by the dish, the a la cart menu is always an option.
Situated in the heart of the city, Sevilla is attractively laid out on split levels. The wine list is conservative compared to its wide ranging menu, but it is a restaurant definitely worth visiting in good weather. Which is now!