From Delhi to Quebec City, a jet-setter’s guide to dining in five capitals of cuisine.
Delhi: Indian food redefined
In the matter of a few years, the Indian palate has seemingly matured eons. Delhiites are now tucking into sushi and risotto as their new comfort foods. The arrivals of big names such as the new Megu and Le Cirque outposts at The Leela Palace New Delhi have also been game changers in Delhi’s hospitality field. But in truth, the cross-pollination of haute cuisine and experimentation with contemporary Indian speaks to this increasingly cosmopolitan capital’s own coming of age. — Tanvi Chheda THREESIXTYONE, 443 Udyog Vihar, Phase V, Gurgaon, 011-91-124-245-1234, oberoihotels.com/oberoi-gurgaon
Housed within the futuristic, glass-clad Oberoi Gurgaon on the outskirts of Delhi, this culinary theater highlights Asian cooking from teppanyaki to Indian tandoor. Though dishes pay plenty of attention to detail — sushi comes with perfectly cooked, seasoned, and rolled rice — you will be fixated on your seat: a floating teakwood deck atop a 36,000-square-foot reflection pool. An audacious move in a primarily business district, the water feels like the architectural equivalent of loosening your necktie. INDIAN ACCENT, 77 Friends Colony West, 011-91-11-4323-5151, indianaccent.com
Modern Indian cuisine is still largely unchartered territory, but with pioneering chef Manish Mehrotra at the helm, this hidden gem, tucked away in a quiet bungalow, astonishes and amazes, course after course. Try dishes such as tandoori bacon prawns with wasabi malai cream and baked paneer pinwheel with Indian coriander pesto, and finish with Mehrotra’s desserts, including alphonso aamras with homemade coconut jaggery ice cream. SPICE WATER TRAIL, M-24 Greater Kailash Part 1, M Block Market, 011-91-11-3089-4731, spicewatertrail.com
A bold new stroke in bringing coastal cuisine to high-society Delhiites, this revelatory restaurant takes you on a culinary odyssey through regions including Karnataka, Kerala, Andrha Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu. And there’s more than just idlis and coconut chutney to be had. The extensive menu features Kerala crab curry made with chili and coconut milk; pumpkin ellisseri, a chunky pumpkin gravy; tamarind rice, a southern staple; and payasam, a dessert made from rice, milk, and plenty of cardamom. SMOKE HOUSE ROOM, Crescent at the Qutub, Lado Sarai, 011-91-11-2952-3737, smokehouseroom.com
With the opening of this entirely white and curvaceous restaurant and bar, molecular gastronomy has arrived in India. Expect quite the scene given its sibling next door, nightclub Shroom, but don’t be discouraged either. Restaurateur Riyaaz Amiani and business partner Siddharth Mathur are serious foodies who sealed the deal to move forward with Smoke House Room after a pilgrimage to southern Spain, the land of liquid nitrogen. Don’t miss the restaurant’s watermelon caprioska, which features an impossibly thin slice of watermelon wrapped around the inner rim of the glass.