Orient Express at the Taj Palace New Delhi

The Daily Meal explores Orient Express, one of the 101 Best Hotel Restaurants Around the World

Orient Express

When the fabled Orient Express steamed from Paris to Constantinople in 1883, few could have imagined the enduring legacy the legendary train would have on the travel industry, let alone on culinary traditions. 

The Orient Express at the Taj Palace pays homage to the opulent train travel its namesake afforded passengers during the Belle Époque. The Orient Express’ dining room is modeled after the dining car on that legendary train, and the bar that replicates a railway station platform..

Just as the Orient Express attracted a motley crew of world leaders, celebrities, and commoners in its heyday , the same is true of the Taj Palace’s restaurant; the dining room is filled with the well-heeled and tourists alike. Orient Express’ menu takes guests on a gastronomic journey with three- and four-course table d'hôte menus featuring cuisines from the cities the train traversed, notably Verona and Venice.

The kitchen, led by D.N. Sharma, executive chef since the restaurant opened in 1983, and David Tilly, is European, and the duo have created a collection of mix-and-match hors d’oeuvres, entrées, mains, and desserts that are a tasty tour de force. The three-course journey includes an hors d’oeuvre or entrée, main, and dessert (Rs. 3,450/US$62.17) per person and the four-course journey includes an hors d’oeuvre, entrée, main, and dessert for (Rs 4,250/US$76.58).

Hors d’oeuvres include pan-seared foie gras with slow-cooked radish, sour ginger, and warm duck dressing; roulade of Scottish smoked salmon with lake trout tartare and wild dill; and braised potato gnocchi with glazed mangetout and horseradish pickled mushrooms. Entrée choices include poached Atlantic cod topped with Sevruga caviar on lemon-flavored green peas, Normandy butter-poached prawns with runner beans and shitake mushrooms; and pistachio-stuffed quail casserole with cauliflower florets and pomegranate.

After a selection of sorbets to cleanse the palate, diners move onto main courses like steamed John Dory in basil and Kalamata olive nage with slow-cooked vegetables; penne pasta with sun-dried tomatoes, toasted pine nuts, and arugula leaves; and celery root cannelloni served with Perigord truffle dressing and parsley verjus. The gastronomic journey ends with a finale of rosemary soufflé and ice cream; apple and almond frangipane tart fine with salted butter caramel; or bourbon vanilla-infused rice pudding with mango and star anise perfume.

The equally comprehensive à la carte menu includes a caviar menu. Signature dishes include Kobe rib-eye with roasted shallots served with black pepper sauce or béarnaise (Rs 7,500/US$135.14); Canadian lobster Thermidor with parsley rice (Rs 2,195/US$39.55); roasted Chilean sea bass, confit of fennel, and black olive emulsion with iodine foam (Rs 2,195/US$39.55); and saffron and broad beans Arborio risotto with seafood bouillabaisse (Rs 1,695/US$30.54).

The Daily Meal's first annual 101 Best Hotel Restaurants Around the World was carefully curated by consulting trusted sources and through recommendations from The Daily Meal’s editors, who have traveled and dined extensively around the world.