They don't just make great chocolate, cheese (and watches), the Swiss can cook up an awesome meal or two. Dhiman Chattopadhyay tries out the soups, mains, fondues and champagne-induced desserts at the ongoing Swiss food festival in Bandra's Out of the Blue restaurant
Have you ever sat out under the stars huddling a little in the cold and shared a large pot of fondue with your family, laughing to hide your embarrassment every time the bread or fruit fell into the bowl the Swiss call ‘caquelon’? If you have, here’s a chance to relive the romance. And if you haven’t, you don’t have to plan a trip to the Swiss Alps. Head to Bandra instead where Out Of The Blue is hosting a Swiss food fest that’s on till the end of the month.
Potatoes Emmenthal and Baked Cheese fondue soup at Out Of The Blue, Bandra
But why are we so excited about another food festival? Here’s why. It’s a chilly (by Mumbai standards) weeknight when we walk in to the restaurant in the ‘food district’ of Union Park off Carter Road. And there’s hardly a table free. We manage a table and quickly ask for the festival menu so that we can find out why everyone around us is fooling around with that funny looking fork.
Chef Juliano recommends we start with the Potatoes and Emmenthal Baked Cheese Fondue Soup (Rs 275). Soon a curiously shaped ceramic container (with a small candle burning underneath) arrives. The soup is covered with the baked cheese (Emmenthal) — a Swiss ‘Dum’ soup, we are jokingly told. It’s warm and heavy on the cheese. It’s different and innovative though not something we would give five stars to.
Champagne cream with luxemburgerli macaroons
The next item on the menu does earn that distinction though. The Zurich Trip Cheese Fondue (Rs 610) is a gigantic bowl of melted Fontina, Emmenthal and Cheddar with White Wine and Scallions. We dig in our forks into the crusty breads and the assorted steamed vegetables on the side and dip in. Bliss. If you love your cheese, this fondue is heaven.
The only flip side: it’s really heavy and unless you plan to stick around for a two-hour-long meal interspersed with longish walks, go easy on this one. But we have no time to breathe as our Grilled salmon napped with Gremolata sauce (made with lemon zest, garlic and parsley), served with onion rings and baby potatoes with mixed greens (Rs 425) has arrived. This tastes as good as it sounds. The lemon zest really spices up the salmon and we love the onion rings too.
The Mixed Meat Grill Sizzler (Rs 500) is no great shakes in comparison with the individual taste of the meats getting drowned in the sauces. We are quite full, but how can one end a Swiss meal without Swiss chocolate. Enter the Black and White fondue (Rs 650) a delightfully sinful pot of melted dark and white Lindt chocolate accompanied on the side by cake slices, and a fruit platter. The forks are busy, really busy this time, and thankfully not too many of those cakes escape the fork and fall into the fondue.
But the piece de resistance (sounds rather French though) has to be the Champagne cream with Luxemburgerli Macaroons (Rs 375) a wide bottomed cocktail glass filled with champagne-infused cream with three macaroons floating in it. If there was no other item being served here, we would return to the festival just for this dessert. Of course it’s not all fish, meat and champagne. There is a lot on offer for vegetarians too such as the Charred Cooked Cottage Cheese with Creamy Jalapeno Sauce (Rs 350), Stuffed Cabbage with Cottage Cheese and Fresh Herbs served with Sun-dried Tomato Sauce (Rs 395) or the Aargu-style Fungi and Spinach Quiche (Rs 245). The pricing is also eminently affordable and a really filling meal for two would still cost well under Rs 2000.