Thursday, September 3, 2009

BM Review: C'est La Vie

C'est La Vie is the French bistro-esque restaurant of the Seven Hotel on the outer ring road. I'd been there last Friday to review it for the Bangalore Mirror. The review can be read here. Once again, I couldn't take pictures, so I'll have to use the ones taken by the photographer from the Bangalore Mirror, Ranjana, for this post. And thanks to her for the great shots!

The watered down version is here.

We started off with a velouté de champignons (mushroom soup) which was perfect in texture and taste.

A cold dish called gateau de taboulé aux aubergines et tomates confites, which was couscous with sliced of brinjal, tomatoes and capsicum was served, the capsicum adding a mild sweetness to the dish.

Velouté de champignons (top), and a melon sorbet

Another starter we had, typical of the Nice region, was the salad Niçoise, which was a combination of long-grained rice, tuna, sliced eggs, beans, tomatoes, shallots and potatoes.

Steak c'est la vie (left), and salad Niçoise

And finally, a quiche lorraine au poulet, or a chicken quiche.

For the main course, we had a filet de poisson grille (grilled fish),

a poulet Basquaise, which was tagliatelle pasta with chicken in a tomato broth,

Poulet Basquaise

a hachis parmentier au canard, which was a couple of layers of mashed potatoes with slices of duck meat in between, topped with a layer of cheese and then baked,

Hachis Parmentier au canard

steak c'est la vie, which was a moist and juicy cut of the tenderloin (or sirloin, not sure), and a brochette d'agneau, which was basically skewered lamb - like a kabab, only this had cubes of lamb meat, not minced meat.

Quiche lorraine au poulet (top left), Gateau de taboulé (top right), Filet de grille (bottom left), Brochette d'agneau (bottom right), Apple pie (middle)

Apparently, cheese is always eaten after the main course and before dessert. This is because the cheese has a pH value that makes it basic in nature, and this helps neutralise the acidity in the mouth that develops after the main course. We had a platter of Brie, Morbier, and Comté.

Brie, Morbier and Comté

We then had an apple pie (no picture), which was simply amazing, and easily the best I've had anywhere. Along with that, we wanted to have the chocolate pie which we were told was the best, but they didn't seem to have that, so we settled for a chocolate muffin-like thingy.

Chocolate muffin (or cupcake, whatever)

Lastly, a trio of sorbets - mango, melon, and red wine!

Red wine sorbet

Food: Excellent
$$$: Slightly expensive - it would work out to around 500-600 per head (although our bill came a little more - we had a glass of wine as well, so it came to Rs. 3511)
Service: Decent
Verdict: If you like Italian food (I'm not talking pastas, I'm talking about the taste), you would like French cuisine, and C'est La Vie certainly does justice.
Extra Info: While driving from Marathahalli towards K R Puram, the hotel comes on the left side.

All photographs used in this post were taken by and are the property of Ranjana of The Bangalore Mirror.

C'est La Vie, The Seven Hotel, 39/5, Outer Ring Road, Doddanekkundi, Between Marathahalli and KR Puram, Bangalore. Phone: 42627777

The full review is here:

Most Indians would stay away from French cuisine citing 'lack of taste'. They can’t be more wrong. I'd never experienced French cuisine before (unless you call food eaten on Air France 17 years ago 'French cuisine'), and so I visited C'est la vie, the French bistro-type restaurant part of the Seven Hotel, with an open mind and no preconceived notions about French food. The restaurant's manager, Vincent Structure, came to Bangalore 5 months ago from France to nurture this smart, well lit, well spaced bistro-esque restaurant, with pleasant decor - little black slates on the tables showing the menu of the day (like in a bistro), paintings and names of prominent streets of Paris placed the walls. I hoped to get a taste of real French food, and decide first hand if there was any truth in the oft repeated excuses.

My guests for the evening were Vrata Venet, executive director at Raj Hamsa Ultralights, an ultralight aircraft manufacturing firm, his wife Nirmala, and their friend Veronique Sauzay, a French national staying in Bangalore for the last 3 years. Vrata is also a paragliding instructor, and is the brother of actress Kalki Koechlin (of Dev D fame). He pointed out that at French households and restaurants, the fork is set facing down, as was the case here. This is because when Catherine of Medici, an Italian, got married to France's King Henry II in the 16th century, she brought along the fork to France (hitherto unknown in France). However, the fork bore the symbol of the Medici family, an 'M', and the King's mother did not like it staring back at her, and so she turned the fork and made it face down, and the practice continued ever since.

We started off with velouté de champignons, a mushroom soup, which was perfect in texture and seasoning. Along with the soup, we ordered a quiche lorraine au poulet (chicken quiche), salad Niçoise (consisting of tuna, eggs, beans, potatoes, tomatoes and shallots), and a gateau de taboulé aux aubergines et tomates confites (cold couscous with brinjals and tomatoes). The chicken quiche was great, and unlike any other quiche I've had before, with a cake-like texture. The taboulé was a perfect blend of cold couscous and brinjals, with thin slices of yellow and red capsicum adding a mild sweetness to the dish. The etymology of aubergine was deconstructed by Vrata: from Sanskrit vatin-ganah to al-badinjan (Arabic - Arabs took brinjal from India), to albergínia (Spanish - introduced by the Moors), eventually, aubergine in France.

For our main course, we had a steak c'est la vie (beef), a hachis parmentier au canard (duck), a filet de poisson grille (fish), a brochette d'agneau (lamb), and a poulet Basquaise (chicken). Although we tried a variety of meats, we weren't disappointed with any of them. The steak was a beautiful cut from the tenderloin (or sirloin), and was nice and juicy. The hachis parmentier is a classic baked dish with two layers of mashed potatoes with sliced duck meat in between (traditionally minced beef), topped with a layer of cheese (similar to the English shepherd's pie). Named after Antoine-Augustine Parmentier, a vocal promoter of potato as a food source, all its components blended in harmoniously. The simplicity of the grilled fillet of fish was a lesson to all who think that thick, rich gravies are the only ways with fish and other meats. The lamb in the brochette (skewers of lamb) was nicely flavoured, and the poulet Basquaise had tagliatelle with wonderfully juicy chicken in a tomato broth.

Being gastronomic artists, the French eat cheese after the main course to balance the pH levels in the mouth (the basic nature of cheese neutralises the acidic nature of the food), and so that's exactly what we did. A trio of Brie, Morbier, and Comté was eaten before we switched onto the more delectable desserts of sorbets (mango, melon and red wine), chocolate muffin, and apple pie. According to Veronique, the apple pie was better than any she's had in France, while the sorbets were good. A rating of above 4 (out of 5) is certainly on the cards here.

The French have a proverb "Il faut manger pour vivre, et non vivre pour manger", meaning eat to live, don't live to eat. But with such culinary delights, it's hard to fathom which Frenchman came up with that - maybe it was an Englishman!

1 comment:

Zannah said...

Man this place needs to market themselves a bit more. Love love love.