Pune's first French restaurant Trois boasts of stellar Parisian fare

“Troy?” a guy on a bike quizzes his girlfriend, sitting pillion. “No, it’s trois. That’s three in French,” she retorts, “Come on,” she urges him as he lingers, “It’s going to be all little, pretty French food. You won’t like it.” With its decidedly French name, Trois is positioning itself in the premium league; even though its menu doesn’t restrict itself to French cuisine and encompasses Middle Eastern mezze and Italian pasta as well.

(Left) Pork Belly,r. Pics/ Sachin Thakare

Ensconced in a bungalow around a leafy green Kalyani Nagar alcove, Trois’ seating spans three levels: the open kitchen and bistro-style base, the sophisticated diner at level two and the gorgeous open terrace with trees brushing our tables. On a clear night, we chose level trois. Elegant European wooden café furniture seems to be getting popular in Pune’s up-scale eateries. Tea-lights added to the mood.

Chocolate cake 

The menu was simple. The bar list boasted of expensive wines. Appetisers ranged from mezze platters to potted mussles. Mains included the French Coq Au Vin to Penne Pesto. And then, there are the no-fuss desserts, which stick to the basics. The portions were small but rich and of high quality.

We started out with a Pork Belly (Rs 585). Two chubby discs of fat and a third one of muscle sitting on a little oblong platter. For us, pork belly is synonymous with melt-in-your-mouth sin. This was 50 percent there. The very French Three Cheese Souffle (Rs 215) came straight out of the oven on our table. Wisps of vapour from the fragile soufflé warmed the night air. But our soufflé was falling fast. Luckily, we were able to dig in and scoop out its airy, fluffy, cheesy heart. The lightly browning edges lent it a smoky flavour and a gentle crisp.

Trois Kitchen & Wine Bar. Pics/ Sachin Thakare

For the mains, we decided to opt for a big meal. We chose a Duck Confit (Rs 550). The leg of tender duck was spooned over with a sweet cherry jus. On the side were a few veggies and a French dauphinoise: thick slices of potatoes loaded like a cake, layered with garlic and cream and topped with an egg and baked. Perfect.

Our partner’s option for a vegetarian main combined the French and Indian. The Goat Cheese with Puffs (Rs 450) was a cake of lightly salty goat cheese cooked en papillon (wrapped in a butter paper and baked). On the side were assorted sauted veggies (a couple of florets of broccoli, spears of asparagus, beets, carrots and corn). And the fusion came from cumin puffs or khari biscuits. You can gently break each puff into two (for ease of eating) and layer sparingly with goat cheese

After such an impressive selection of dishes it was time for a befitting dessert. The Eight Layered Chocolate Cake (`250) arrived with panache and with a little glass of hot cocoa syrup in tow. As we poured the steaming hot syrup onto the cake we watched the topmost layer of crisp chocolate break. We continued spooning for an aphrodisiac conclusion. Our only childlike grouse: we couldn’t count the eight layers. We figured out five but three were inconspicuous.

Trois is only as steep as other diners in its league. Come for the ambience and choose a few off-the-hook or French dishes to create an experience out of your meal.

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