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Bringing the simple yet suave delights of a Parisian bistro to town

3rd Aug 2013

Le Bistro du Parc

A 57, 58, 59 Moolchand Market, Defence Colony Time: 12 pm to 1 am

Ph: 011-46780080

Meal for two: Rs.1700 plus taxes (without alcohol)

Le Bistro du Parc

For someone who has never been to Paris, my knowledge of bistros is fuelled by the images of Le Grand Colbert in the Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton starrer Something's Gotta Give, or the sights conjured while reading Bonjour Tristesse . Let me admit here that I am an unabashed Francophile. So when it comes to anything French, strong biases take over. Let me also admit that I am a little crazy about food and cooking. Hence when it came to review a newly opened French bistro in town, I sort of exploded; the flipside being expectations began towering higher than La Tour Eiffel.

Located in the park occupying one end of the Moolchand market, the bistro is simply called Le Bistro du Parc, the minimalist approach also expressed by the chic, neatly arranged decor, exhibiting an optimal utilisation of space. The bistro has a second floor which will be soon opened to diners. We were greeted by our lovely obliging host Naina de bois Juzan, who is also the partner and patronne of the bistro. Bistros originally evolved from the basement kitchens of Parisian apartments, serving moderately priced simple homestyle French food — cassoulets and stews. Juzan informed us that while conceptualising the space, she strictly adhered to the architectural outlooks of Parisian bistros and plans on opening up the front patio during winters.

The bistro is yet to receive their liquor license, which was the only shortcoming as the delectable fare we were served afterwards is best paired with wine. The bistro's summer menu is carefully and deftly planned, using only local produce, tweaking a few bistro classics to suit the clime and availability of products. There are no printed menus that will come to your table, instead theya re written in chalk on blackboards, adding to the bistro experience; one board also displays the plats du jour, quite literally the pick of the day.Image 2nd

For starters we tried the absolutely comforting salade celadon (courgettes, cucumber, green apple, green peas, grapes and pistachios tossed in mint oil, served on a green pea puree), followed by an innovative take on the classic pastry-based mille feuille, made instead with fresh goat cheese layered with confit peppers, and served with a virgin almond sauce. The fricassee de calamars a l'ail (fresh squids pan fried with fresh sliced garlic, black olives, cherry tomatoes and baby potatoes served with a red chilly coulis) was done to perfection, with the calamari optimally cooked. The simple yet elegant French toast made with brioche and served alongside roasted sweet peppers was the mains which set the course. The braised lamb shoulder with dry fruits was richly infused with butter yet surprisingly light and flavourful. The pan-seared sirloin, served Carpaccio style with a side of sauce tartar was my favourite, with the steak cooked saignant.

Coming to desert, Juzan's grandmother's recipe inspired mousse au chocolat (rich dark chocolate mousse with strawberry coulis) was orgasmic. The citron tart that we tasted on the other hand was quite passé, probably because it was left to sit a while before serving. At the end of the meal, my 'great expectations' were suitably satiated and I believe that I am going to become a régulière.

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