Nestled in Delhi's Mehrauli district that overlooks stunning views of the Qutub Minar is the French-inspired restaurant Qla at The Kila. Run by the duo Ranjan and Shharyu Chopra, the former is a graduate of IIT-Kanpur, COO of Team Computers, an angel investor, and founder of Qla, Zorba, Tatva Hills at Uttarakhand and Avatara Resort in Goa, and a musician. Sharryu, on the other hand, has a penchant for the finer things in life and an unapologetic love for design, creativity and artistic expression through decor at Zorba, cutlery and crockery curation and personal involvement with the chefs at Zorba, Qla, Avatara and Tatva. However, the couple shares a common love for food, animals and farming. After travelling across the world tasting a plethora of cuisine and indulging in a variety of fine dining experiences, Mr and Mrs Chopra decided to open a restaurant that focuses on a culinary journey.
The restaurant's name has an interesting back story as the founder Shharyu Chopra spent weeks ideating over a name, Qla, that sounds French and coincides with the complex Kila's magnanimity. While the name doesn't have a meaning the ethos of the tech giant and travel and hospitality businesses including Qla, Zorba, Tatva Spa Resort at Uttarakhand and Avatara Resort in Goa, is a common love to make a customer happy and provide quality service from end-to-end.
Carrying forward the same ideology, the warm and hospitable duo hosted (and joined) us for a special sit-down 7-course chef's tasting menu yesterday afternoon. A trip back to Qla has never failed to meet my gastronomic expectations, and such was the meal yesterday. The restaurant organised a first-of-its-kind sit-down chef's tasting menu and the menu offered a range of delicacies from vegetarian to non-vegetarian. Focusing on masterful cooking techniques, high-quality produce and impeccable flavour, the menu highlighted the beauty of fine dining and artful dishes by Chef Dipender Tiwari.
Each course is expertly crafted with fresh ingredients and creative flavour combinations to bring out the best of European cuisines in town. We will be highlighting regional specialities, as well as creative twists on classic dishes that you won't want to miss. From savory entrées to sweet and creative desserts, the menu has something for everyone.
Upon entering the bright sun illuminated the outdoor courtyard while the indoor dining space has a special long table specially laid out for the meal. I was greeted by the warm and hospitable team and instantly asked about my dietary preferences for the meal and the beverage.
The meal started out with delicious bite size, Amuse Bouche along with my staple Bellini which was neither too sweet nor too dry, rather perfectly balanced. To beat the summer heat the specially curated chef's tasting menu has a watermelon rosette, whipped feta tart that was refreshing, an asparagus rillettes that was like a spring roll filled with creamy asparagus, charcoal chimichurri sole and horseradish aioli spiced smoked duck, carrot pure, caraway biscuit.
To cleanse the palate and kick start the 7-course meal, we were served a passion fruit sorbet that worked as a palate cleanser, but the artistry with which it was served left me spellbound. A harmonious coming together of nature with food, and vibrant colours added life to the dish.
For the first course, I opted for the vegetarian option which was a savour spin on ice cream. The traditional waffle cone was replaced with a seaweed cone and was filled with avocado, cornichons, togarashi. The lightly battered seaweed cone is filled with a creamy mixture offering a mix of creaminess and crunch. For non-vegetarians, there was a Tuna tartare, yuzu mayo, seaweed cone - sushi garde tuna, marinated with yuzu and caper filled in the lightly battered seaweed cone with yuzu aioli on top.
The next course was a cold soup, either with a veg option of candy tomatoes, berries with a citrus coconut broth or crabmeat beautifully complemented with green apple cucumber broth. I opted for the latter and was in for a delight. Fresh meat was paired with a cooling broth full of flavour, a citrusy punch and a texture to die for.
Crabmeat, green apple cucumber broth, apple gel
Moving on to my love for beetroot paired with cheese, I indulged in the salt-baked beets with raspberry served along with burrata cheese. It was sweet it was sour, it has a nice glaze and a variety of beets from red to orange ones. A perfect combination the pungent beetroot flavour was balanced with the creaminess of the burrata making it healthy, wholesome and YUM! However, the Atlantic salmon, pink peppercorn, tobiko is ideal for those who enjoy cured salmon.
Have an undying love for aubergine or fish? Then Course Four will leave you confused. Choose from the
Aubergine mille-feuille, sundried tomato, hazelnut that has thinly sliced aubergine stuffed with sundried tomato paste and parmesan cheese, served with a broth of parmesan and grated hazelnut or pick the Bekti, broccoli, chermoula, black garlic gel, red pepper stew sauce. A perfectly cooked piece of fish with crispy skin was served with a rich red pepper sauce, avocado butter and charred broccoli. But the highlight for me was the black garlic gel which was sweet, and almost like umami.
Channelling my love for both corn-fed chicken and pumpkin I tried the pumpkin, with a glaze of orange and miso, sauce of orange and mustard accompanied with mascarpone and pumpkin seeds and the
roasted chicken breast with salt-baked celeriac and chicken jus flavoured with truffle. While the chicken was well-cooked and not dry or chewy, I personally was a sucker for the pumpkin dish. It was divine... the moist texture of the pumpkin had a charred outer coat and glaze in a sumptuous sauce, but when paired with the mascarpone it was a melt-in-your-mouth dish.
The last savoury course was a delight to the eyes if you picked the vegetarian iteration the green pea tart, with green pea & mint puree topped with confit vegetables, served with coriander sauce, herb infused olive oil. And for red meat lovers, the New Zealand lamb pan-fried served with aubergine puree, zucchini roll, charred onion and mint chermoula was just what you needed to finish the meal. A blush pink piece of lamb lion was served with a smooth and creamy puree, only to leave you wanting more and more.
Finally was my favourite course of every meal.... DESERT! Yes, I love anything sweet and went with my instinct to try both – Chocolate Peach and Coconut panna cotta, passion fruit. If you're in the mood for something rich and indulgent the Chocolate Peach won't fail to impress. It's a dark chocolate ganache with a crunchy biscuit base, topped with poached peach slices. But if the heat is getting to you dive into the silky smooth coconut panna cotta served with fresh passion fruit sauce that is cold and refreshing.
To complete the experience pair the dishes with a range of cocktails and mocktails. Cocktail options include PLUM TREASURE TROVE, Fermented plum wine, gin, orange blossom, rose tonic; ORANGE BASIL MARTINI- Vodka, fresh orange, fresh basil leaves; VULGAR JOHN - Vodka, oak wood smoked pineapple, fresh fennel; THE DAMSEL- Gin, sweet vermouth, cranberry, thyme, sparkling water. For something non-alcoholic try KEEP IT SIMPLE - Fresh orange juice, basil leaves, cinnamon, fresh cucumber slices, simple; THE COASTAL - Kokum, mint, lemon, roasted cumin topped with sparkling water; KAFFIR LEMON DRIVE- Orange juice, lime juice, kaffir lime leaves, soda.
A big shout out to Chef Dipender Tiwari who churned out a meal so fine. However, the meal was enlivened as we got a chance to interact with the warm and hospitable hosts Ranjan and Shharyu Chopra.
* The restaurant offers Chef's tasting menus for all diners. It can be tweaked to suit your dietary preferences and needs to be booked at least 24 hours in advance.
4-A Seven Style Mile,
Kalka Das Marg,
Next to Qutab Minar,
Mehrauli, New Delhi, Delhi 110030
+91 85270 98766