As coolness creeps back into Delhi’s evening air, and the spiking of Covid cases seemingly abates, more and more of Delhi’s denizens are venturing out in the evening, not in large, boisterous gatherings but sparer, more spread out collectives.
At least that was our experience at Ophelia on a midweek evening, with the upscale drinking and dining destination having recently re-opened its doors, having been shut longer than it had previously operated.
With a Turkish and Mediterranean menu and décor of fittingly Byzantine grandeur, the restaurant and late night habitué of the Capital’s swish set has seen changes, with the seating having been spread out and limited to the government-mandated half capacity.
We began our meal with the Non-Vegetarian Mezze Platter, keeping in tone with the place, as well as a couple of silky cocktails, smoky with gin and herbaceous relishes.
The platter includes Chicken and Cheese Adana as well as the Lamb version of the same Turkish Kebab, Parsley and Garlic Fish, and Chicken Shish, served with Hummus, Muhammara, and other dips, along with toasty Pita bread. The Turkish Kebabs are gentler than their more robust, spicier Indian cousins of seekhs and reshmi tikkas, but no less in taste, texture and quality.
Having browsed and sluiced rather like Ottoman sultans thus far, for our mains, we strike up a dalliance farther West, with the Braised Lamb with Saffron Mash and the Pan Grilled John Dory with Multigrain Risotto and Sundried Tomatoes in a Parmesan Sauce.
The fish swims up first, as well-seasoned as it is seared, with its accompanying risotto making us feel better about our earlier indulgence.
The braised lamb, suffused with jus, is definitely more intense, its umami leavened by the mild mash suffused with delicate strands of saffron.
Our final decadence is dessert, a more contemporary offering than any of our previous dishes: to with: a Baklava Ice Cream Sundae, which boasts ice-cream enfolded by the crisp, dry fruit treacle sweet texture of the middle-eastern treat.
With food and drinks like these, and the festive season in full swing now, it’s no wonder more people are stepping out.soft ice-cream enfolded by the crisp, dry fruit treacle sweet texture of the middle-eastern treat. With food and drinks like these, and the festive season in full swing now, it’s no wonder more people are stepping out.
Meal for two: Rs 4,000 (with alcohol and taxes)
Address: Ophelia, The Ashok, 50-B, Diplomatic Enclave, Chanakyapuri