At the fag end of summer one begins to contemplate vacations that could have been. Such a mood overtook us as we daydreamed of summering in the riviera (hey,one can always hope). Since the rupee is currently the most bullied kid in the playground we decided to visit La Riviera at the Pullman,Gurgaon. Garbed in red,white and huge windows,with a cacophonic wooden floor,the restaurant is located in the hotels lobby.
We commence our meal with the Seared Scallop and King Prawn with Pistachio Puree in a Noilly Prat Fumet and Macerated Green Asparagus and Ruby Grape Fruit Salad with Smoked Curd. Embellished with the hollow head of a king prawn (and here we thought seafood makes you smart),the dish comprises the aforementioned prawn and scallop,seared and escalloped in liquid the colour of a good bouillabaisse. In fact,with its shellfish citizenry and frothy sauce with a hint of vermouth (Noilly Prat is the definitive white wine to season seafood with,according to legendary Brit chef Rick Stein),we suspect that the dish is a derivative of that Marseille marvel. The salad is a happily consummated marriage of steamy,evocative asparagus and sweetly sour grape fruit on a virginal bed of curd. What really makes the marriage work though is the sprinkling of macerated walnuts which add volumes in both flavour as well as texture. Menage a trois anyone?
Since this is a French restaurant,gluttony is a virtue rather than sin and so our next set of courses are an extension of the entrees,to wit,pasta and risotto. The Goats Cheese Tortellini with Pumpkin Mousse and Tomato Foam suffers from a surfeit of goats cheese which dominates the palate like a despot. We turn our attention to the Wild Mushroom Risotto. This ones a winner from first whiff,with its clarion notes of mushrooms muddled with creamy risotto. The dish smells like it was conceived in the perfumed,earthy roots of an oak tree in a forest in France and tastes like it was cooked by a French grandmother.
For our main course,we encounter the Best End of Lamb with a Texture of Root Vegetables. The best end refers to the cuts from the first eight ribs. Medium-rare,the lamb is a choice meal,full of flavour and jus. The accompanying carrots and beetroots are textured as purees and sauces,a fine representative of thereveal and conceal school of plating and presentation.
The dessert,an Ivory Crème Brulee,is rather restrained in what is a rather limited selection,given the enthusiasm for innovation and tweaking in the savoury section previous. Hopefully,thats next on the chefs check list.
Meal for Two: Rs 6,000 (including taxes,excluding alcohol)
Address: The Pullman Hotel,MG Road,Gurgaon.
Tel: 0124 4992000