An expansive Italian buffet, artisanal cocktails, live music, alfresco setup and a pulsating group of people dining to their heart’s content—I witnessed all this and more on a moonlit Saturday evening, thanks to Shangri-La Eros New Delhi‘s ‘Moonlight Brunch’ at Grappa. By Priyanka Chakrabarti
Every year, with the onset of autumn, Delhi drapes itself with a layer of comforting nostalgia. The feeling of festivities and reunions blend beautifully in the crisp air of the capital city, lending a flavourful aftertaste to the environs.
On one such resplendent Saturday evening, I visit Grappa at Shangri-La Eros New Delhi to dwell in the glory of moon-kissed merriment. Grappa has been a monumental spot in Delhi’s culinary landscape for years now; known for crafting Italian-inspired artisanal cocktails served with a dose of gourmet excellence and a whole lot of whim, today, it invites patrons to its moon-kissed space for night brunches. I think to myself, what could be a better way to beckon the festive season!
I find myself a cosy table in the outdoors, right next to a live pasta counter. Executive Chef Gagandeep Singh Sawhney greets me and gives me a quick overview of the sundowner brunch. “The ‘Moonlight Brunch’ will be hosted every Saturday evening. We have a line-up of handpicked Italian delicacies, right from a huge variety of Antipasti wherein you’ll find the finest cheese, cold cuts, etcetera to Insalatas, different kinds of pasta, pizzas, grills, desserts and more.”
I get myself a delectable concoction to kick start the evening—a candy-pink hued passion fruit-infused mocktail served in a balloon glass. A couple of sips later, I head to the buffet section to curate a platter of cheese, Kalamata olives and an assortment of cold cuts. The sweet drink cuts a fine balance with the savoury bites.
Soon after, a thin-crust BBQ chicken pizza arrives at my table. The toppings are farm fresh, the Neapolitan base is just the right amount of tangy, and the crust is baked to perfection. Every slice is devoured carefully in the next five minutes.
A little while later, my senses are slightly aroused by the aroma of freshly cooked pasta; I turn around to notice a chef whipping up delectable pasta at the live counter while guests patiently queue up. Of course, I quickly join the queue to grab myself a bowl of pure scrumptiousness.
My pasta is made with love, I can tell. The chef didn’t ask me my preferences; no questions asked on the kind of pasta I would like or the ingredients that pique my interest. He somehow knows exactly what I’m craving for. Al dente pieces of fusilli are thrown into the pan sizzling with creamy white sauce; some broccolis and bell peppers join the dance of deliciousness soon; copious amounts of oregano are sprinkled (just the way I like it), and then a handful of parmesan shaves finish the meal. Was it good? What do you think?
Some other iconic dishes that are worth mentioning are the slow-roasted heirloom tomatoes with ricotta cheese, marinated eggplant with pine nuts and mint pesto, duck salad with wild rocket leaves and wild berry compote, and my favourite, the marinated grilled artichoke. The artichokes unleash a melange of earthy flavours doused in herbaceous notes. Every bite packs a crunch, and the intense earthy aftertaste lingers for a long time.
For desserts, options are galore. Considering the fact that I have a major sweet tooth, I find myself spoilt for choice at the dessert counter. After much speculation, I pick up the cannoli with cream cheese filling. The crispiness of the cannoli juxtaposes seamlessly with the light cream cheese filling. Surprisingly, it isn’t overly sweet. Finally, the rose wine panna cotta with poached berries, amaretto crème brule and the chocolate decadence seal the deal for me.
I leave with a content heart and belly only to return soon.
Where: Grappa, Shangri-La Eros Hotel, 19, Ashoka Road, Janpath, Connaught Place, New Delhi-110001
When: 8:00 pm to midnight, every Saturday
Cost: INR 3,500 ++ (per person)