The visiting chef at this restaurant has created an extraordinary combination of seafood and chicken, which along with the authentic Spanish cuisine, is very popular
When you have a visiting chef from Spain’s Catalonia region at a posh address serving delicious Spanish cuisine, you can expect a culinary bonanza. And that exactly happened when I visited Sevilla, a Mediterranean restaurant at The Claridges Hotel in central Delhi.
On a rainy evening, I am seated in a private dining room at Sevilla. The visiting chef, hopping on and off between the kitchen and my table, was none other than Chef Jordi Gimeno.
Chef Gimeno travels across countries with his unique idea of Gasztrip — Spanish and Catalan Food Festivals — that he organises to give the guests a personalised experience of the exotic spread from the Mediterranean regions. Since 2012, he has held food promotions in countries like India, Tunisia, Hungary, Oman, Bahrain, Malaysia, Kenya, Uganda and Morocco. The highlight of the festival is on-site food preparation, leading to an exclusive Chef’s Table, allowing interaction between guests and the chef.
As I settle down, the platter before me has croquettes of the day — ham croquettes and croquettes with coconut and mushrooms, which truly were melt-in-the-mouth. Chef Jordi explains, “I like a sea and mountain combination in my menu as I come from Barcelona (the Catalonia region), which is wedged between the sea and mountains hence, I like mixing meat and seafood that is unique and popular there.”
He promises to show us an example of the same and disappears leaving us to dig into a lineup of tapas: Potato Bravas; roasted vegetable with Romesco dip and Manchego cheese; Tuna with avocado; Spanish omelette with ham, mushrooms and cream of peas; and his star dish octopus with potato and paprika.
After a hearty round of tapas, we were treated to delicious Gazpacho soup which had crispy croutons nicely flavoured in garlic.
In the mains, the chef went overboard. He had all his favourites: paella with meat and seafood; Spaghetti paella with fish and aioli; and Chicken and Prawn in Catalan sauce. “This dish of chicken and prawn explains my concept,” he said with a smile, holding the dish close to his heart literally.
“The meat and seafood combo is rare,” he added. For chicken to be juicy and prawns well-cooked, it is tricky considering that prawns take only a few seconds to cook, whereas chicken takes much longer. His art of cooking exemplified his concept.
Cold Cannelloni stuffed with vegetables had finely cut zucchini , tossed in pommery mustard and served with romesco dip. Escabeche of vegetable was special with sautéed vegetables and roasted paprika, marinated in sherry vinegar served with Manchego cheese.
The highlight was blue cheese and pears with Salmorejo, which had pears poached in saffron liquor, served with crumbled blue cheese and Spanish cheese.
Being an egg lover, I flipped for his preparation of Eggs Estrellados — open-faced omelette with onion, potato and mushroom.
Fideua with vegetables and Apple Aioili, which is vermiceli cooked with vegetable stock, tomato sauce and saffron, was also served. The Apple Aioli was not so exciting.
Who can resist paella? Even after being full with the tapas, we hogged on to the paella preparation of risotto rice cooked with vegetable stock, tomato sauce and saffron, and served with fresh lemon. As the non-veg option, he proudly served paella sea and mountain with meat and seafood — a combination of rice and seafood in a rich sauce with generous spices.
No Spanish meal can be better rounded off than with a generous helping of piping hot crispy churros. As we dipped them in chocolate sauce, we wished Jordi to come back soon for another delightful culinary fare.
Address: APJ Abdul Kalam Road