In a nutshell:
Run by two French Gentlemen & their Indian Partner, this two floor restaurant has a good ambience, serves mostly good & some very good food, offers good service & I am told, they have a good selection of wines as well.
Address & other details: Rara Avis
Meal for 2: Rs. 3000 onwards
Cuisine type: nonvegetarian & vegetarian
Short Description – in case u r in a hurry:
What struck me as soon as I entered the Restaurant was the warmth & hospitality of the hosts. The elderly Indian Gentleman welcomed us as if we had been to his house for an evening & showed us around the restaurant – the open air partially covered terrace floor with a good view & also the closed Dining Hall. Though the terrace was very attractive, we chose to sit in the Dining hall.
The Dining Hall has a nice decor – paintings on the wall, wooden furniture , very interesting light bulbs & a cake shop counter at the corner. The terrace was half covered & half open – pretty nice place to hang out.
The Gentleman mentioned above visited us twice during our Dinner to ask about the food & to check whether we were comfortable. The French Gentleman also came twice to check if all was fine & I was amazed to see that on one occasion he cleared the plates as well – quite unusual in India.
The food was good in general & one of them was wow.
Detailed description – In case u have the time to njoy reading:
We started the dinner with La Gratinee – French Onion soup. Very unlike a carnivore to order this dish but did so after hearing loads of praises about it.
The soup was dark brown in color, medium thick in texture & pretty good to taste. But what added magic to the soup was the crouton which was floating in the middle of the soup. It was crunchy & hence added an unexpected twist to the dish. In absence of a benchmark (I haven’t yet been to France) for the authentic French Onion soup, I wud compare this to other soups in general (irrespective of country) that I have had. Based this I rate this soup as good – 3/5.
Post the soup came Carpaccio de Boeuf – Thin slices of Tenderloin with Olives & Parmesan shavings. The tenderloin was mind-blowing good – melt in the mouth, robust tastes & flavour. Capers went well with them & so did the assorted leaves. I wud give this a 3.5/5.
Around this time we were served (on the house) excellent crispy & almost perfect French Fries ( French Fries r not a French origin – they r American, someone told me. Wiki had a very complicated version – American soldiers started calling these French Fries coz they ate this is Belgium during 1st World war & the fact that Belgian soldiers used to speak French.)
An in-house baked bread was very interesting as well.
Next dish we had was Terrine de Jerrome – Meat Pate. We asked which meat it was & we were told ‘rabbit meat’. I didn’t know that was sold in India. It was two solid blocks of compressed meat served cold. The taste was intense, different & very good. The gherkins added a twist to the meat & bell peppers were a welcome accompaniment. Liked this as well. I wud give this 4/5.
Our main course started with Gambas Flambees au Cognac – Jumbo prawns in Tomato & Cognac sauce. Soft, flavourful & YUMM prawns. 3 of 4 pieces were extraordinarily Soft. The 4th one went rubbery. Direct flavours of cognac were obviously not there as an after-effect of the heat but the resultant flavors were good. I wud give this a 3.5/5.
The other main course dish was from ‘Sur le Grill’ section of the menu card. We ordered Assiette du Pecheur – Grilled Prawn, scallop, basa & squid. Since Scallops were not available, we were served Baby Octopus instead.
The prawns were very good.
The squid was not cut into rings but left full. Tasted wow.
Basa Fish was excellent – juicy, layery, soft & perfectly marinated – subtle but flavourful.
Mackarel was very well done. Loved it.
Baby octopus was too good. Non chewy, perfectly done, great to taste & thoroughly enjoyable.
I wud give this platter a 4.5/5.
For dessert we had Douceurs – Cafe Gourmand. It was Espresso / Cappuccino with 4 mini desserts. The espresso was par excellence.
The brownie was one of the best commercially available Brownies I have had recently. The fruit tart was very good & so were the other two. Loved the dessert. I wud give this 4.5/5 again.
Overall the food rating adds up to 3.8/5
We missed La Douzaine d’ Escargots – Snails in Garlic Butter. We saw in the menu but kept aside for next visit – cheese fondue both meaty version , veggie version & chocolate fondue with fruits. They had some very interesting wood fire baked thin crust pizzas on menu as well. Look forward to trying those out in our next visit.
Great place to spend an evening with family / friends.