European Food events

Le Jardin - A Preview of the Food Lover's Gourmet City Menu

Friday, March 14, 2014Me! In words

Once a year, we have some great restaurant showcases that take place in the city. In the short time that it has been around, The Food Lover's Gourmet City is one that is keenly awaited. This year, like before, it brings together 20 of the best restaurants in the city from March 13th - March 31st. The menu in every restaurant is designed to showcase the chef's signature dishes and let you partake of them at a price normally not possible. What is even better is that every restaurant has a vegetarian and a non-vegetarian menu, ensuring that no one feels left out. 

Take your pick for Indian, Italian, Mediterranean, Pan-Asian and more. Choose to go for lunch or dinner. Opt for a 2 course or 3 course meal. Such is the range of choice - a variety that is not mind-boggling, but is comprehensive. All of the 20 restaurants have their special menus served on prior reservation. 

To kick off Food Lover's Gourmet City Week, we had a bloggers preview meal at Le Jardin, at the Oberoi. The brand is a stalwart in the hospitality industry and one whose service has remained a class above no matter which other entity has set foot into the fray. The old world charm of the restaurant, the green blanket you look on to as you dine, the subtle yet efficient service all come together to make dining here an experience. 

Since this was a preview meal, some servings were in taster portions - such as the starters. It helped us sample more than a few dishes off the menu. 

Home-made ginger ale at the back and orange juice up front

A little bread basket while we chatted

From the European starters, we had the beetroot carpaccio. Highlights of this appetizer was the candied walnuts - a bite into the sweet crunchiness of sugar and walnut, with a slice of beetroot and a hint of orange is brilliant. Or perhaps another combination of the edible flower, the goat cheese and the beetroot. Many ways to sample a single dish.

Beetroot carpaccio

A non-vegetarian version was the beef carpaccio - so many tiny elements elegantly come together on this plate - the beef, horseradish, capers and mayo and the argula. After caressing your visual senses this is a dish that will prepare your taste buds for whole new level of pampering.

Beef carpaccio

Though meant to be a strictly non-alcoholic afternoon, considering we were all headed back to work, two cocktails did find their way to the table. The Genie in Bottle was jar was filled with a heady concoction based in kaffir lime, galangal, spices and a touch of lemon with vodka, while the other had an infusion of Earl Grey tea with an orange base and gin. Kaffir lime flies right of the charts in terms of brilliance, and only for me, was the tea infusion one just as good. 

A sampler of the vegetarian Indian starters - The Lacchedar Malai Tikka gently layered with sweet tamarind and mint chutney and the Bharwan Tandoori Aloo with a stuffing of paneer and dry fruits. The clay oven it was placed in, gave it this rustic look and taste too am guessing. 

The sampler for the non-vegetarians had the Kasundi (mustard) and coriander marinated chicken, a prawn that had a touch of orange to it (which we hear is among Chef Amit's favorite ingredients) and a Kerala style beef pepper fry served on mini uttappams. The beef totally stands out for its peppery touch and is something you must have if beef is your thing. 

Though this picture does absolutely no justice to the brilliance of the clear amber, this chicken consomme is the reassuring hug you need at the end of really long days. The flavor of the broth remains with you for the duration of the meal

The Chilled Gazpacho, completely encircled with ice and served with a pesto bread. 

Your choice of main course will be accompanied with the appropriate Indian breads and rice. A blogger friend opted for the prawn balchao which truly tasted like a dish airlifted from the homes of a Goan family residing by the beach for generations. The Goan vinegar used was spot on - the levels of tangy and spicy perfectly balanced and the sannas, just like my mom makes. 

Two others asked for the Barbary Duck Confit - served with puy lentils, sauteed potatoes and a berry jus. They honestly expressed more with their faces and gestures than their words each time they took a bite. What I got from all the gestures and faces were - "soft", "tender", "brilliant lentils" "purrrrrr"

This is the vegetarian platter of one of the dishes - right now I am leaning towards it being the Mangalore vegetable gassi. The other option was the Bharwan Gucchi

I had the Pan-seared tenderloin done medium. This was served on creamed polenta, a red wine jus and roasted vegetables. I was too busy enjoying my meal to take a photo to show you the perfect pink of the meat on the inside. When you have a meat longing as big as the one I had when I head to the Oberoi, this is the perfect dish.

The Mushroom risotto was something I wanted to try and so a very very small bowl was asked for. I could count on the fingers of one hand, the number of restaurants that can get a risotto so flavorful and so "non-boring" for want a of better word. I could happily sit down with a glass of wine and a pan of this risotto and be a happy kitten. 

Dessert was food art to say the least. A celebration of berries, this is titled Textures of Berries and had a Raspberry and chilli sorbet, macaron, strawberries on a chocolate bed, chocolate and berry mousse. We spent more time gazing at the plate than we took to polish it off. A doff of the hat to the chef behind it. 

As mentioned above, Le Jardin is one of the 20 restaurants participating in Food Lover's Gourmet City on from March 13th-31st. All meals are against reservations only. The Gourmet City Week culminates into the Chef's for Charity event

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