Why this Kala Ghoda patisserie's new menu is definitely worth a try
When I walked into Chef Sanjana Patel’s La Folie, the city-based patisserie that serves European gourmet desserts to sample Contrast (her new Autumn/Winter 2014 menu) I felt I was transported to the dessert degustation episode of Masterchef Australia Season six. Here, contestants had to create course after course of delectable desserts, which looked straight like an artwork from a picture book.
Antioxidant is an interplay between panna cotta and beetroot juice
For the uninitiated, degustation means an appreciative tasting of various foods that focuses on the gustatory system, the senses and culinary art. It involves sampling small portions of all of a chef’s signature dishes in one sitting and is accompanied by a matching wine degustation, which complements each dish. Only in this case, flavoured teas replaced the wine. Each dessert was paired with a tea that cleared the palate and enhanced the dessert’s taste.
Aztec at La Folie
As I sat down, Patel explained the thought behind this new menu. It comprises six dishes, each priced at Rs 235. She has combined warm and savoury ingredients such as plants, organic farmed vegetables, herbs, and spices with fresh and citric fruits to create contrasting tastes and textures.
Grandma’s Carrot Patch
I started off the tasting with Marigold and Lemongrass tea, paired with Grandma’s Carrot Patch. While the former was fresh, light and invigorating, the latter actually looked like a patch of a carrot garden. Comprising a carrot walnut cake, apricot compote, lemon cream and cream cheese carrot mousse, this dessert is inspired by Patel’s grandmother’s vegetable patch where she grew fresh organic vegetables.
The carrot cake was depicted in a modern yet unconventional manner. The walnut soil looked like actual soil and its crunch added rusticness to the dish. Every ingredient’s taste unfurled in each bite. Finally, I was left with the fresh, peppery-like flavour of the parsley, which complemented the creamy texture of the apricot compote, lemon cream and cream cheese carrot mousse.
Next, I took a sip of the Jasmine tea, whose floral notes prepared me for Shades of Green. Inspired by impressionist painter Oscar-Claude Monet and his painting of water lilies, this dessert played on the sublime flavours and textures of Granny Smith apple, fennel and celery plant. The celery lent a beautiful herbal flavour to the green apple and reduced its acidity. The fennel cream and the celery-green compote were the surprise elements in the dish. This dessert was a sensoral experience as I discovered a new flavour with each spoonful.
I followed this up with the Kashmiri kahwa, whose saffron-like taste uplifted me to taste Aztec, a dessert made with 68 per cent Bolivian chocolate, long pepper and blood orange with notes of floral honey. The blood orange reminded me of orange peel and lent earthiness and acidity to the dish. This was balanced by the prunes’ natural sweetness. Finally, the floral honey left a warm note on the throat. This dessert is an absolute must-have for lovers of dark chocolate, but since I prefer all things sweet, it didn’t appeal to me much.
Just when I was thinking how could I do away with the dark chocolate flavour, I was presented with Marco Polo, a French tea with a fruity note. Think of having red wine in the form of a tea, that’s Marco Polo for you. This went well with Madagascar, a gluten-free dish made with raspberry mousse, balsamic vinegar and flourless chocolate cake. Patel has enhanced the single origin cocoa bean’s flavour by using fresh raspberries compressed in balsamic vinegar reduction paired with subtle notes of Tonka spice. The interplay of the cocoa and the berries was interesting and left a warm note on my palate.
Next, it was time for a sip of the White tea Darjeeling. Its clear taste complemented the toasted, nutty flavour of Java. Made with ginger banana cake, caramelised bananas, toffee ganache and pecan crumble, it was reminiscent of biting into a banoffee pie. The banana, passion fruit and pecan nuts made for a lovely combination. If you aren’t in the mood to be adventurous and just want to play safe, this is the dessert for you.
The best was saved for the last. I’m not a great fan of beetroot and avoid it like the plague. So, when I learnt that the final dessert — The Antioxidant — was made with beetroot juice along with a rose panna cotta, champagne caviar, compote jelly of red berries and red berry juice, I wasn’t too excited. But I was so mistaken. This sugar-free, carb-free, gluten-free and eggless dessert looked like a work of art, thanks to the white panna cotta nestled against the beetroot’s burgundy red. The panna cotta’s smoothness was perfectly juxtaposed by the red berry juice’s acidity. I couldn’t just stop at one bite and ended up polishing the entire dessert off. Antioxidant was unlike anything I had ever tasted before.
If you are in the mood to experiment while satiating your sweet tooth, then La Folie’s new menu is definitely worth a try. Its desserts have an international appeal, when it comes to looks as well as taste.
At: La Folie Patisserie, Saibaba Road, Kala Ghoda