A day before we visited the European restaurant, we got an email from Bhalchandra B Kumbharkar, the maitre d’ at Cesky. He sent us the menu set by Italian masterchef Christian Cillia, asking us whether we were satisfied with the chef’s selection (were we vegetarian? Were we willing to eat veal?). Extremely particular about serving up fresh ingredients, the chef wanted to be well prepared — no last minute changes would be entertained.
The menu promised a mix of French and Italian cuisine. The seven-course meal (Rs 3,500 plus taxes), was clearly not designed to flatter spice-friendly Indian palates. The chef was taking the traditional route, and we were only too thrilled to try his food. After all, how many other restaurants in the city offer foie gras or veal cheeks? Cesky, at Meluha the Fern, promised to be all about indulgence.
Our appetiser was a refreshing Beetroot Sorbet With Candied Orange Peel and a Goat Cheese Mousse. The sharp saltiness of the cheese was a beautiful contrast to the sweetness of the beetroot. The dollop of caviar served on the side added the little touch of luxury we were hoping to receive. The Veloute Of Borlotti Beans au Cassoulet (think of this as a bean soup) was too bland for our liking; perhaps it was meant to cut out the sharp goat’s cheese taste, preparing our palate for the next course.
The foie gras, served with Maraschino Cherries, was next. The round serving of duck liver just melted in our mouths. The Pan Fried King Scallops with Squid Ink Risotto and Tomato Tartare was the hero of our meal — neither the delicious risotto nor the delicately flavoured tartare overpowered the seafood. Course five — the veal cheeks topped with parma ham — was an indulgence most meat lovers would have enjoyed.
The last two courses were both desserts. The pear sorbet served with chocolate pain d’epices (a hard spicy chocolate base) and Gorgonzola mousse had a delicate sweetness, which we loved. But the Banana Mousse with Peanut Butter Crunch was far too sweet.
Chef Cilia is an artist — each one of the plates was beautifully decorated and disturbing the food seemed sacrilegious. We hope he never decides to Indianise his food, but we do hope to see more green veggies on the menu next time; the veal for instance could have been accompanied by some beans or a light salad.
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