Of late there has been a buzz that Delhi houses some excellent French cafes. So in the quest to find one of the best ones to dine at in my recent trip to the capital city, recommendations started pouring in for Le Bistro du Parc. So it was decided. And I set out for a lunch date towards Defense Colony looking for Moolchand Market.
Done up in vibrant shades of blue, white and yellow, the space evoked a cheerful feeling as I stepped in. Pretty flowers always work wonders to lift my mood. Span across two floors, I chose the rooftop which seemed just the perfect spot to soak in some winter sun, sip wine and savour home-style French food.
I was greeted by Naina de Bois-Juzan, the pretty owner, who then took me through the menu – a big blackboard which was brought to my table! Naina went on to explain each dish with irresistible descriptions and after much thought I finally ordered the Carrot and Orange Soup with Candied Ginger, and the Danish Blue Cheese with Walnut Souffle for appetisers. Other populars include Pan-fried Calamari and Homemade Pork Rilletes, maybe next time!
While I sat peacefully sipping Chardonnay and nibbling on farm fresh baby radish with rock salt, I could see Naina busy chatting up with all her guests making sure that they were best attended to. When she approached my table I asked her about the cafe, and she cheerfully went on to explain, “Le Bistro du Parc is a ‘Bistro-nomy’, a word derived from the concepts of Bistro and Gastronomy. If you look at the space, it’s like a bistro where you have small tables placed close together. There’s a constant chatter amongst the guests so it feels more like home. Our menu is listed on the blackboard along with specials of the day. But in terms of food, we have tried to provide much more. We serve authentic French food but all the produce are local, directly sourced from nearby farms. And we accordingly tweak our menu to what’s in season and what’s available.” Well, I am all for Farm to Fork ideology!
My soup was a thick, sweet and sour, creamy concoction of English carrots and oranges with a strong note of ginger that I thought worked well to balance the taste. The flavour of each of the prime ingredients distinctively stood out yet they blended well together. The souffle on the other hand was sinful, more so with the cheesy sauce on top, and I loved the chunks of walnut with each bite that not only tamed the flavour of the cheese but broke the monotony of the smooth texture. And the fresh greens served on the side went beautifully along with it.
For mains, I ordered the Pan-fried Red Snapper with Aubergine Concasse, and the Lamb Navarin with Olive and Baby Aubergine. The fish had a nice crust on the surface and was mildly seasoned, the aubergine was roasted, mashed and had chunks of gherkins that added a zing to the concasse. Together it made an interesting dish. The lamb dish on the other hand resembled a curry and had chunks of meat, zucchini, cherry tomatoes and baby brinjal brimming with the flavour of the sauce.
And finally for desserts, amongst many sinful options such as Vanilla Pannacotta, Valrhona Chocolate Mousse, Poached Pears in Mulled Wine, et al, I settled for the Creme Brulee. While I waited for my dessert, those at the table beside me went on relishing their poached pears vociferously. I overheard someone say, “the desserts are always brilliant here!” That had my expectations high and sure enough the cardamon flavoured crème brulee didn’t disappoint at all.
Le Bistro du Parc also has some interesting offers: a 2-course set lunch for 500 INR, a 3-course set lunch for 650 INR, live Jazz performance on Wednesday night, and Apero Hours (the traditional French concept of happy hours) from 6 to 8 pm.
A 57/59, Moolchand Market, Defense Colony, New Delhi; tel: 011 46780080