In the present booming culture of multi cuisine, with many restaurants popping up every other day, and offering easy to fancy food, in a not so apparent location, is located Chateau De Pondicherry offering Franco Tamil cuisine.
I am verychoosy when it comes to dining out and only thing that drives me out is curiosity about a place or wish to find great food.
Last winter I was wishing to visit this place with
some visitors from France, as they stayed with us for a good ten days and we were looking at something interesting and yet that makes them feel at home. This place had just opened up and seemed promising some good French food. Somehow could not visit the place then, and as I drove past this place many a times in past few months , I saw the place renamed as Chateau De Pondichery…..Franco Tamil Cuisine.
Me and my girlie gang decided to visit it last weekend for a lunch.
The place looks promising at the sight of it, with welcoming yet comforting interiors. They had done up the interiors in the hue of blue inspired by peacock and gave summery touch to the place with comfortable seating and windows overlooking the green patch. While in Chennai, Pondicherry used to be our weakened getaway and this place took me back in time.
On the Rocks…at the beach
The Bar menu of the place is quite extensive and offers some great wines, making it a perfect place for long conversations , and chill out with friends. The non alcoholic section is a selection of classic mock tails with some offbeat names and the one name which got most of the attention was the cuddles on the beach, which is Pinacolada served with a twist of herbs.
Menu is impressive as the French dishes have adopted some Indian terms like French Dosai a.k.a. crepes section has great choice of sweet and savory crepes. The creamy mushroom crepe from the section was selected being too safe. tasted good but one of the most classical combination of mushroom and cheese. The others on the section look promising, though.
The menu has no entree section, instead has options like sandwiches, crepes, pasta.
Salads on the menu are promising and we got to taste two out of three on the list. Both Salad nicoise and Veg Salad Padma Lakshmi were true to flavours. Where the Salad Nicoise was refreshing and subtle and hit with the fish fans, the Veg Salad Padma Lakshmi, had great flavours from the sesame oil dressing and beans.
The small plate section has a mix of entree and small portions of curry and buns for small eaters. This section is not to be mistaken as Entree section as apart from few finger eats like Fish Masala fry. Pome frites( french fries), Most of them are curry served in little portion with buttered toasted bun on side.
We asked for mini hand sized ( mini visiri ) dosai, which can be a great option for the vegetarian friends but did not fit the menu adding any grace. Dosai just gives the comfort of a dish Delhites are well acquainted with, but I would rather not ask for a well known name on the menu, unless highly recommended by the chef.
The Masala fish fry on the other hand was great crisp crouton pieces of fish served with a spicey chili dip, crisp and a burst of flavour in each bite.
Prawn Erral Varuval, and Kozhi Molavu varuval were two similar preparations with Chettinad influence and loads of pepper yet succulent prawns and great chicken. But as a whole these were dishes enough for a person and a meal in itself, and would leave no room for anything else.
We did try cream cheese with olives and figs but I was disappointed by the not so crisp toasts on the sides. It could not lift the dish, instead it complete passé at the table.
The large plate section, had a great choice among the lemon buttered Sole meunniere, to gratinated cauliflower from the french plate to Dalcha from andhra cuisine, and the Prawn Assad in coconut milk curry. Kozhi Kary Vindail, Chicken in coconut
milk gravy made way to all the plates with ease…
The portions were good for a big eater and can be
easily shared between two if You have already relished some dishes from the menu. The Athu Kary Dalcha was a clear winner with great falvours in the curry and some
beautifully cooked mutton. I am not a big mutton fan , but did try the gravy and it was indeed great in taste and rest was very obvious when y friends asked for a repeat of the dish.
Veg Cassoulet is another winner on the menu and was well received by the vegetarian friends. A well cooked casserole of vegetables and speaking aloud french flavours. Pizza ladiere
also joined the list of greats for the vegetarians.
While some of my friends who arrived late and were still busy filling up with the mains, I was already eying the Dessert menu, and as they have a special in house pastry chef, I got more demanding. Though I had to settle with what was available, but let me make a mention, it was more than enough to keep us happy and smiling towards the end of the meal. Lemon pie was one of my favorites in teh dessert menu. After long had I tasted a lemon pie which was perfect in texture and taste. The other dessert we digged in Chocolate Naughat, carrot cinnamon cake with cream cheese frosting and the Blondies were great too. My only submission, yes I know French are known for their pattisserie, but one dish from down south could have made a happy seat on the menu may be with a twist. Also some lite summery dessert was missing on the menu….
What makes you smile while being @ Chateau
I am very happy after a long long time with a place and the choice oin its menu, where not even once my vegetarian friends had to struggle to get equallly excited with the food as any of us as meat eaters.
Infact we got greedier and were happy to pounce at their plates while waiting for any of our dishes to arrive. This is indeed a true winner point for the place.
Another smart catche in the menu is if you are in amood to, you can spend a good time scanning themenu, and you will find some great amalgamation of Tamil and french food nomenculature…Like the Ghee rice from south served with a prawn curry got christened as Riz au beurre and the Pondi style keema matar mentioned as Mouton aux Petite pois completely mistaken as a French dish on the menu unless you go through the fine prints.
I find its a great way of keeping the interest alive both of the food fanatics as well as the casual diners. It gives both the cuisines in equal space and at the same time they gel in to each other with ease.
Perhaps Chateau De Pondicherry is an example in present time a place ofto serving great food with ease and yet keep it Classy.
After long time I have liked a place for its food and feel equally. A place worth each penny, and flavours worth a mention. They could truly blend the two cuisines well like a true marriage.