Neatly tucked behind the towering Qutub Minar, Qla welcomes you in style with its vast courtyard, mellowed ambience, minimalist interiors, well-spaced-out seating, and warm smiles each time you visit. Eloquently named by the founders, Ranjan and Sharryu Chopra, as a wordplay on "kila" (former mansion) that it is located inside, Qla has been celebrating modern European cuisine in the capital for nine good years now. This season, the chic European bistro has introduced a seven-course degustation menu by chef Dipender Tiwari, which is a beautiful culinary showcase thriving on flavorful innovation.
Carefully curated, the special degustation menu focuses on gastronomical artistry and balanced seasonal flavours, where each course comes with a choice of a vegetarian and a non-vegetarian option. Your elaborate meal starts with a selection of amuse-bouches, including watermelon and whipped feta tart, asparagus rillettes with avocado lime emulsion, charcoal chimichurri sole with horseradish aioli, and spiced smoked duck sitting atop carrot puree on a caraway biscuit. Pro tip: pair them with a glass of classic bellini!
Once your palate is tantalized with a burst of flavours and later cleansed with a frozen passion fruit sorbet, the first course is served. I pick the tuna tartare marinated in yuzu mayo and caper, and filled in a tempura-battered seaweed cone. Delicious as it sounds, you can't have enough of these little savoury bites. Alternatively, you can go for the vegetarian option in which tuna is replaced with avocado and cream cheese. A cooling escape from the sweltering heat, the second course is a cold soup with seasoned crab meat in a green apple and cucumber broth. The refreshing flavours of the broth with the soft-textured crab meat and a citrus punch are unmatched. The candy tomatoes and berries in a citrus coconut broth, as an alternative, is an equally flavorful pick.
For course three, there is salted baked beets and raspberry salad with burrata or cured smoked salmon carpaccio with a pink peppercorn-vanilla sauce topped with tangy tobiko roe. I pick the latter, where a unique combination of salmon and vanilla hits just the right notes. Next up, for the fourth course, is an aubergine mille-feuille layered with sun-dried tomatoes and lots of Parmesan on a bed of Parmesan and hazelnut broth. The dish is cooked to perfection twice - pan-fried and then baked - and melts in your mouth as you relish it. The non-vegetarian option is a beautifully baked bhetki on a broccoli puree, served with a side of the braised broccoli stem, red pepper stew, and black garlic gel that is fermented in-house for over a month!
Pick roasted corn-fed chicken breast for course five and enjoy it with a side of celeriac and chicken jus flavoured with truffle oil. Celeriac adds a natural umami flavour to the dish that goes exceptionally well with the perfectly roasted chicken. Alternatively, you can go for a double-cooked pumpkin slice in miso and orange mustard sauce. Course six comes out as a delicious pan-fried lamb loin on a smoked aubergine puree and topped with a baked zucchini roll, charred onion, and mint chermoula that extra zing! The other option is a green pea tart with confit vegetables in a coriander sauce. For dessert, end your meal with a dark chocolate ganache topped with poached peach slices or a coconut panna cotta in passion fruit reduction.
*The seven-course chef's tasting menu can be tweaked to suit your dietary preferences and needs to be booked at least 24 hours in advance.
Price: Rs 4,550 plus taxes
Where: Kalka Das Marg, Next to Qutab Minar, Mehrauli, New Delhi, Delhi 110030
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. All information is provided on an as-is basis.