It was a bright, cheery Sunday, and I was in Delhi. Pawan had a review arranged for me, and it was a perfect opportunity to enjoy the flavours and sights of that yummy food in Delhi. The rendezvous was Espresso Grill, a newly opened restaurant in Connaught Place area. Self and Anjali, now my permanent partner in the culinary crime, found the place without much ado.
Espresso Grill is located in the DLF multi-level parking complex, near Hanuman Mandir, on the main road to Bangla Sahib Gurudwara. There is no other restaurant located within half a kilometre radius of Espresso Grill, which makes it a bit bothersome to approach. There are no flashy signs or garish façades, but with repair work going on in the adjacent establishments, it kind of dulls the scene.
Once inside, we found ourselves in a typical deli-style setting, with a mural wall running all the way to the back on the left, and merchandise standing on wall mounted racks on the right and an open kitchen at the back. You can buy things like breads, various types of sauces & dressings, coffee mugs, bakery items and cookbooks. The interiors are comfortable and relaxed, but the style of service is a bit more formal than it should be.
Espresso Grill’s menu is a revelation. Simple & straight, it contains all forms of a meal, yet not overflowing with flashy names of dishes or countless pages. It is essentially a mix of the oriental choices and western classics. The portions ordered were half the normal serving, since Anjali is not too much of an eater, and poor me, had to go through almost fifteen dishes, as you would know by the end of this.
We started with Bruschetta with Cherry Tomato and Garlic Confit, Basil and Shaved Parmesan (215). The bread was fresh and light; the toppings gelled really well with each other. The Pan Asian Barbeque Pork Spare Ribs (425) came with a spicy Kimchi. The pork was superbly cooked- tender and yet retaining the bite! The barbeque sauce though a bit too sweet, did not override the flavor of the meat. They, however, the Kimchi needs looking after- finely diced cabbage doused with sweet chili sauce, which was not to my liking. Then was the star of the show- the Gordon Ramsay Signature Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Wild Mushroom Crostini (285). The soup was just the right consistency, the flavour of the cauliflower combined beautifully with those of the truffle oil and mushrooms. With something like cauliflower, it’s very easy to go wrong, but this was spot-on! The Tartare of Smoked Salmon, Sour Cream and Chives, served with Smoked Oyster Benedict (550) was good too, the Salmon blending well with sour cream and chives- recommended as a good start to your meal.
For drinks, we were suggested Espresso Martini- Coffee blended with Vanilla flavoured Vodka, topped with Coffee Foam (345). This was an interesting drink, though I’m a teetotaler, I found it to be nice on the palate.
The main course consisted of a Forest Mushroom Risotto, Truffle Oil and Porcini Cream (425) which was avoidable- the rice felt a bit undercooked. Otherwise, the texture of the cream was just right; nicely holding the dish and well balanced flavours. Next was Honey & Soy Glazed Salmon, Crispy Rice Galette and a relish of cucumber and Radish (825). The Salmon was overcooked and the fish fell apart when held with the fork. However, the Crispy Rice Galette was simple, light and quite delicious. Per the manager, this was rice and wheat flour combined and deep fried. The Grilled Fillet Steak Au Poivre, Bourguignon Garnish of sautéed Pearl Onions, Paris Mushrooms and Bacon, served with Polenta fries (645) was no good either. The steak was overcooked and therefore hard to chew (I had asked for it to be well-done), but the toppings of the mushrooms, onions and bacon were well flavoured. The Polenta Fries were a nice change from the ubiquitous French Fries.
The impressions changed with the arrival of Chicken Cordon Bleu, served with Green Pea and Mint Mousseline (525) – Chicken Breast stuffed with cheese & Ham, crusted and deep fried. The chicken was a tad dry, but the cheese and ham made up for it. Went well with the Green Pea and Mint Mousseline, which was another interesting accompaniment. Next were Grilled Pork Chops with Dijon Mustard, Potato Puree and a Red Cabbage Slaw (745). I always say- give me my pork, and take the rest of the world away! The meat was perfectly cooked and fluently balanced with the mustard and potato puree. Then came Stuffed Chicken Steak, Mushroom and Cheese Bouquetiere with Garlic Mashed Potato and Four Peppercorn Sauce (525). Somehow, I have a personal liking for Chicken, Mushrooms and Cheese, and this dish took care of that. Well cooked chicken, combined with creamy mashed potatoes, went beautifully with the cheese within and sauce outside.
Desserts included the Classic New York Cheesecake slice, served with a Warm Apple and Cinnamon Compote (245). The subtle and light flavours of the cheesecake were quite impressive; the Compote had the distinctive flavours of apple and cinnamon. Then was Warm House Made Baklava, served with Vanilla Ice Cream (225). The menu said it had Rose Petals as well, but not on my plate. The ice-cream was served in an edible chocolate cup. The Baklava was a bit sweeter than I like, though the combination of hot and cold was nice. The last dish to hit the table was Pavlova with Tiramisu Cream and Brandy Soaked Dried Fruits (295), which was nothing much to write home about.
Some pluses about the place- Espresso Grill uses the freshest ingredients, and nowhere during the meal could I detect any corners being cut. The servers (ours was Barinder- a Sikh gent) are well-informed and courteous, which adds to the experience. Even with the open kitchen at the back, it doesn’t become too noisy. The food presentations were one of the best I’ve seen.
Espresso Grill opened in October this year, so can be given the benefit of doubt. They do have a huge potential, and with the right tweaks and little twists to the menu, they can emerge as one of THE places to be. Considering their present location, they would have to do something out of the ordinary to make people ignore all CP restaurants and walk up to them. Should you go? Well, yes!
Ratings out of 5
Food: 3.5 | Ambience: 4.0 | Service: 4.5 | Overall: 4.0
Meal for Two: Rs 1500| Alcohol: Yes | Credit Card: Yes | Timing: 11 AM to 11PM
Address: 14, Capitol Point, Ground Floor, DLF Multilevel Parking, Baba Kharak Singh Marg, Connaught Place, New Delhi | Phone: 011-23363133, +91 7838599496
– Amit Uppal