La Cuisine de Francoise at The Promenade
What is a French connection? Most of you may recall a UK-based fashion retailer while just a handful of you’ll would tell me that it has something to do with sex (Hint: Urban dictionary). It is a little confusing as to what it actually means or refers to! Could it have anything to do with the fact that your grandmother’s kin are French citizens. Even more so that some of your cousins own French passports or are French? It’s still hard to call it a French connection but then something revealed itself the past weekend. It was in the form of a stay-cation experience- something I cannot easily put behind (don’t want to either).
Last week, I was invited to stay at The Promenade- a 5 star boutique hotel located just a stone’s throw from the famous Rock Beach in White Town-Puducherry. The Promenade looks so simple yet so elegant, minimal but modish and the landscaped porch can be incredibly alluring. The property has a deluxe room—both sea-facing and non-sea-facing (who wants that) and a suite room that has an almost panoramic view of the magnificent Bay of Bengal.
The Promenade houses a 24 hour restaurant called the BlueLine which serves Indian, Oriental and Continental cuisine, a sea facing lounge bar called Risque and a rooftop restaurant that serves Pan-Asian cuisine with the town’s archaic lighthouse in the background. OK, I’ve strayed enough, , about that French connection? Puducherry, as we all know was once a French territory which is why often people have asked the same question- where do we find authentic French cuisine in the city? As a matter of fact is there such a thing as French cuisine in Puducherry?
I’ve only heard about a handful of restaurants but then again the reviews weren’t great. Well, that has changed and I’d like to talk about this place. BlueLine has launched a 7 course meal featuring delectable dishes from classic French cuisine and it is as authentic as it can get. French cuisine is often considered bland which is to mean that it is not full of spices like Indian or Middle Eastern cuisine.
French cuisine is all about complimenting the ingredients in their simplest form. Chef Sathish and team created a menu that blew us away. We were served wine (both red & white), bread and cheese platters throughout the course of the meal. Dishes like the Double Baked Three Cheese Souffle, Bouillabaisse served with Rouille Sauce and Coq au Vin were just orgasm for the taste buds. Coq au Vin was my personal favourite- meaning ‘rooster with wine’, it is a free-range chicken braised with shallots, mushrooms, and a full-bodied red wine.
For dessert, we had Chocolate Ice Cream Profiteroles which is rich dark Belgian chocolate ice cream filled in choux pastry. This was plated with a Tarte Tatin- an upside down pastry with apples caramelised in butter, sugar and coffee. I cannot find words to describe how amazing this dessert was. This was my first tryst with French cuisine and I cannot stop raving about it. Imagine, enjoying such a lovely meal with notable names in the food industry and the CEO of Hidesign- Dilip Kapur. You might wonder.. Hidesign? Well, The Promenade is a Hidesign boutique hotel and this aspect is very evident in the flamboyant interior decor this hotel showcases.
In terms of the dining experience, I believe that if you’ve to experience a cuisine for the first time, it should be from a place that serves the cuisine in its original form; no tweaking whatsoever. That brings me to the one word that Dilip used to describe my almost instantaneous love for French cuisine- “French connection”. This is what I was talking about- exactly, my point. I couldn’t have said it any better- à votre santé.