‘Sometimes love doesn’t come to us. We have to go out hunting. It’s like pigs looking for truffles. It’s called dating.’ said Patti LuPone. I read too much in between the line and went on a date with the black truffle. The evening was exciting, sensuous and the love in small doses kept me wanting for more. Truffle is the most expensive fungus in the world and is pegged at upwards of a couple of thousand dollars for a kilo. Not that expensive means good, it is all about once taste buds. This wore a nutty and an earthy scent and was enough to get me weak in the knees. Surely for the very discerning!
Truffles are rare and I found mine at the Le Cirque Signature at the Leela, Mumbai. Le Cirque celebrates the Black Truffle. Le Cirque for many needs no introduction, for the others it is a series of restaurants which started in New York and are now placed in prestigious venues like the Bellagio Las Vegas, aboard Holland America line and more. The signature version of the Le Cirque serves some signature dishes from across their global restaurants plus it gives a freehand to experiment and cater to the local market. The Le Cirque Signature offers cuisine which is an amalgamation of French and Italian, when Provence meets Piemonte kinds.
The menu du jour for me was created by Chef Lorenzo Severini and it was paired with wines by wine specialist Jimmy Writer. I was glad to see a classic Vichyssoise as an amuse bouche, the potato and leek soup named after the town Vichy was served tepid with a truffle shave perched on top. It worked well with a glass of G H Mumm. I continued my Champagne with white asparagus and the prosperous hollandaise, of course with truffles. The hand-made Tagliatelle in a creamy mushroom ragout with truffles was an umami bomb and was enhanced with good acidity and fruit from the Pinot Grigio. My savouries ended with pommes a la Dauphinoise, another layered potato classic but this time with the Le Cirque touch, the crunch of carrots and the potatoes left al-dente just like them work beautifully and thankfully it was not as loaded with cream as the original. I preferred the Pinot Grigio over the Marlborough Pinot Noir with this.
You cannot have enough of Truffles and I didn’t mind the dessert with cappuccino foam, fresh raspberry and the earthy shave of black gold. I loved this one as it was more dessert than entremet, French! No coffee no tea just the lingering aftertaste of a very engaging date brought an end to my Saturday evening.
Le Cirque only has a handful of them from Marche and they have them on offer till it lasts….Go hunting!