There is a famous French quote “mangez bien riez souvent aimez beaucoup” which means Eat well, laugh often, love a lot and that is how they live well I suppose in France! Okay, my knowledge of the language is limited to the basic course I took a few years back, however; it is needless to say my knowledge about French food is much beyond. Yes, I never claim to be a learned and neither I am but I enjoy whatever I got in form of food (and wine for that matter) and I always try to enrich myself with the dose of goodness and that applies to the recent French food experience as well at the French Food Festival by Novotel Kolkata.
Elaborated French food, not to mention amazingly tasty and perfectly matching with my Indian appetite. Indeed my evening was set a few days back at Square. Novotel, Kolkata has recently been celebrated the French Food Festival to celebrate the French National Day in Kolkata. They are having the spread available for a week at Square starting from 14 July, 17. I was invited there at Novotel, Kolkata on 15th July for the wine and dine. Novotel, being part of the extended Accor Hotels, which is a French Multinational hotel chain, celebrates the French Festivals with zeal. The Executive Sous Chef, Neelabh Sahay, shared several details during the meal I was enjoying with my blogger friends.
Four wise ladies (read intelligent ones who cherish their wine), course after course splendid French food, and the evening was exactly what one can expect from the French Food Festival. Now, coming to the meal, there are times, when we got confused what to discuss about and what to not. This is, however, true from both positive and negative aspects though. For me, it was such a day when I was mesmerized with each and every item served. I am quite regular at Novotel, Kolkata and to be very frank the French spread so far my best experience over there.
We were told to choose from the specially curated menu of French Food Festival, and naturally, we decided to order, almost one each alternatively to sample everything! I decided for “Magret Fume A La Camomille accompagne De Figue Et De” (read duck breast smoked with chamomile and served with fig Bourbon Chutney and Valencia Orange). What a beautiful dish it was, well justified I must say, especially the soft and juicy duck!
I then tasted a spoonful of Shrimp cocktail from Isha. However, what surprised me a lot was the appetizer Dolon was having. I never am a fan of Chicken Liver, but to my surprise, I ended on having it. The Chicken Liver Pate with Port wine Pearls and Farmer style Malba was one of the best items served that day. they call it (Terrine De Foie, Avec Perles De Portp Et Accompagne D’une Jardiniere A La Mode Melba, in French. The buttery Liver pate, mixed with the Port wine was a level altogether different.
We were thinking to skip the Soup but thanks to Chef who was adamant serving the simple Soupe A L’oignon or the French Onion Soup, we tasted something divine. The Soup was flavored with the caramelized onion and served with self-dipped brown bread was a meal itself. I wish I can have the comforting soup that on a lonely winter evening while watching “love me if you dare” with him! Well, I will do that for sure.
For main, I was sure from the start that I need something feeling yet comforting. I restricted myself to the Pan-seared River Sole with “jambalaya” style Red Rice Risotto with Saffron and steamed Asparagus. The French name is Sole de Riviere Safranee A La Cocotte Risotto De Riz Jambalaya Etuvee D’asperges. Nicely cooked River Sole, soft butter, infused with flavors and a homely Risotto and this woman was happy like hell. However, I tried a little portion from the friend who was having the Char Grilled Beef Tenderloin. I then tried the Sage roast corn fed Chicken as well. Okay after, those even, I was happy with my portion of the fish with the sparkling wine.
When we were almost full and satisfied with the food, the desserts came to play with our emotion! The chocolate Spearming Mouse with Cashewnut nougatine and sour cherries was good. The Pear Tart-Tatin with Mascarpone cream and berry coulis was equally amazing. However, we never knew that there was something else to make us astonished with the flavors. We had the Baked Alaska then! The Old School dessert, better to say the amalgamation of cake, Ice cream and meringue flambeed with alcohol. For me, it was the ultimate torture and I was thoroughly tortured!
Traditionally a French meal should end with the Cheese and Coffee but we were so done with the food and wine we decided to skip! Now my friend, let me come back to the reality, as the dream is over. The Food as you have read, one of my best French food experience so far. It was perfect to my Indian appetite. I must mention the portion size here. It was good to see more than decent portions served and especially if I compare that with my last years’ experience of the Gout De France there. All for good, and much much better than what I had last year.