In a drive to remain top table in New Delhi's fast-growing fine-dining scene, in August the Taj Mahal Hotel opened its second new restaurant in as many months. This flashy Indian eatery is already attracting the city's swish set.
Ambience: Varq merges traditional Indian artifacts—such as the gold and silver foils, used to decorate sweets, from which the restaurant takes its name—with clean-lined contemporary furnishings to give the quiet dining room an elegant but comfortable feel.
Food: Chef Hemant Oberoi from Mumbai has endeavored to make Indian cuisine haute again by subjecting sometimes forgotten ingredients—like goose liver, pumpkin and scallops—to new preparations. Dishes are served in courses (not family style), so that entrees like Varqui crab (a mille-feuille of peppered crab and tandoori prawns) stand out in individual brilliance.
Desserts: Don't miss the eye-popping sweets, prepared on the spot at a counter in the dining area. The best of the bunch is a concoction of kulfi—an Indian ice cream—called Dome.
Service: The wait staff is attentive without being overbearing. Tea drinkers should take advantage of expert advice on pairing infusions with the various dishes. But ignore the hard sell on the pricey degustation menu and compose your own meal.