In a nutshell:
An amazing place for dining out on special occasions with some of the finest European food, great hosts & an incredible setting.
Address & other details: The orient express
Meal for 2: Rs. 11000 (for four course dinner)
Cuisine type : Vegetarian & nonvegetarian
Disclaimer: All restaurants / eateries reviewed by YUMMRAJ were visited by YUMMRAJ himself & he has paid for the full Bill & tips also. http://www.yummraj.com does not have even one featured / sponsored reviews. YUMMRAJ believes in going to a restaurant in anonymity, as a normal guest, experience everything & give a honest account of the same to you.
Short Description – In case u r in a Hurry:
Many years back when our exposure to the real European cuisine was limited, we had been to this restaurant & we fell in love with it. Over the years of regular eatouts in India & abroad, our exposure to this cuisine has increased manifold. So when we were planning our Anniversary Dinner, we thought ‘Why not try this place out again’? & let me tell u, it was a really wise decision. We loved it even more now than what we had preserved in our minds for so many years.
The setting of this restaurant is very curious – inside a train compartment!!!! Yes, u read it right – a train compartment. The name ‘Orient Express’ comes from a Train that used to travel across Europe West – East. It was a long-distance passenger train service that ran from 1883 to 2009. Although the original Orient Express was simply a normal international railway service, the name has become synonymous with intrigue and luxury travel. The two city names most prominently associated with the Orient Express are Paris and Istanbul, the original endpoints of the timetabled service.
The interiors are also done accordingly. There are ‘bunkers’ to keep goods, the semi circular roof & coupes made within.
The Gentleman in charge of our table was an excellent host. He had a good combination of professionalism & genuine personal warmth. He suggested dishes & made the reasons of his suggestions very clear. He patiently answered to all our queries including the likes of ‘which country did u import blood oranges from’? In short, he made a positive contribution to us enjoying the evening.
The Chef walked in on two occasions to talk to the guests.
Food was awesome & the evening memorable.
Detailed Description – In case u have the time to njoy reading:
The concept of food here is a 4 course meal. There are approx. 8 – 10 options in each section & u will have to choose 1 out of that. We chose different dishes in every section & tasted from each other’s. So, we ended up having 8 dishes instead of 4. This 4 does not include loads of stuff served on the house.
On the House:
Soon after the order was placed, we were served assorted breads – unbelievably lightweight & super cute bite size mini breads. Baby croissant looked the best among all of them & tasted wow. It was crispy to the core & had optimum salt in it. The baby croissant gets a 4.5/5.
We kept munching on the breads with ‘made inhouse’ chicken liver pate. It was served in a tiny metal container with a shiny beautiful lid. The pate was strong in flavour, thick in texture & mindblowing in taste. We wiped off the container as if there was no pate in it ever. I wud give this as high as 5/5.
We were also given a hung curd based dip that was good but not as stunning as the pate. I wud give this a 4.25/5.
We were served a vegetarian amuse bouche made out of Agnolotti pasta. This turned out to be so good that I was wondering – If vegetarian food is so good, how will the nonvegetarian options be? The flavours of good Olive oil & bell pepper were most pronounced. I wud rate this a 4.5/5.
For the uninitiated, An amuse-bouche is a single, bite-sized starter. Difference from appetizers is that amuse bouche is not ordered from a menu by patrons, but served for free according to the chef’s selection. The idea is to prepare the guest for the meal and also to offer a glimpse into the chef’s approach to the art of cuisine. The term is French, literally translated to “mouth amuser”.
Agnolotti is a kind of ravioli (typical of the Piedmont region of Italy), made with small pieces of flattened pasta dough, folded over usually with a roast beef meat and vegetable stuffing.
We chose non alcoholic drinks from multiple options – Orange juice & Ginger & a mixed Citrus fruit drink. Both were OK/ not bad at all/ Good but nowhere close to the standards of food at The Orient Express. I wud give these a 4/5.
Hors d’oeuvre (Appetizer):
The first item in this section was Cornish crab meat, confit of seabass with coral dressing. The crabmeat was made into a coleslaw (Kind of) consistency & it was superb. The flavours of the crab & the sweetish meat were fully enjoyable.
The seabass was soft, layery, juicy & just perfect in texture & just too good to taste.
I wud rate this dish a 4.5/5.
Second item in the section was Presse of Goose liver, Caramelized macademia & fig glaze. The goose liver was again soft & smooth in texture, had a subtle but firm taste to it. The crunchy caramelized macademia nuts were fun to much on & provided a different dimension to the large chunk of goose liver. The dish was super good but the ‘wow’ factor was less as compared to some of the others. I wud rate this a 4.25/5.
Entree (a course between the appetizer & main course):
The first item was Grilled Canadian scallops, black trumpets pickling with chicken essence. For the uninitiated, black trumpet is a dark coloured, almost black mushroom that looks rather unattractive, but has a very good flavour.
The scallops had suboptimal salt!!! Unexpected at the Orient Express & hence that was a bit of a shock. The texture was not buttery & melt in the mouth. It was soft but penultimate. The taste (inspite of less salt) was in the right direction & wud have been excellent if seasoning were perfect. I wud give this a 3/5. The black trumpet pickling was very enjoyable. I wud give that a 4/5. Overall the rating for this dish adds up to 3.5/5.
The Pan seared foie gras, preserved ginger, English brioche & warm duck breast was one of the best dishes of the evening. It was heavenly. A piece of the foie gras into the mouth & eyes wud shut, smiles wud erupt, fingers wud move as if tapping to a symphony & so on…………Soft, super juicy, just perfect bit of everything. Anything short of 5/5 wud b a deep injustice I wud say.
Post the entree we were served Symphonie de Sorbet as a palate cleanser. This was made from Blood orange. It had a perfect balance of sweet, sour & flavour & did its job of cleaning the tongue better than anything else. Loved it & wud give it a 4.5/5.
For the uninitiated, blood orange is a variety of orange blood-colored flesh. The fruit is smaller than an average orange; its skin is usually pitted. The distinctive dark flesh color is due to the presence of anthocyanins, a family of pigments common to many flowers and fruit, but uncommon in citrus fruits. The flesh develops its characteristic maroon color when the fruit develops with low temperatures during the night.
Plat Principal (Main Course):
The first item that we had was Steamed john dory in basil & Kalamata olive nage with slow cooked vegetables. The gentleman waiting on us said that this will b subtle & not everyone liked it’. We insisted on having this coz John Dory is one of my favourite fishes.
Thankfully we super loved it & this became the third best dish for the evening.
My introduction to John Dory was pretty funny though. We were at a Corporate Lunch with my boss & his boss. I had seen the menu card options & flipped by a dish that had ‘John Dory’ among many other words. My boss said ‘u fishy boy, r u having John Dory’? I said ‘Oh is it a fish, I thought that the Chef’s name is John Dory (like say John Chappel) & this dish is a specialty created by him’!!!!!! Laughter followed…………..
The fish was layery, soft & super juicy, the way John Dory is expected to be. Being Subtle, the ‘fish’ itself cud be enjoyed a lot. This was served on a bed of crisp asparagus & served with few more veggies. Excellent. I wud rate this a 4.5/5.
The second dish in this section was suggested by the gentleman waiting on us – Roasted barbary duck breast with fig relish & venetian crispy polenta. He had warned us that it wud b a bit sweet. We said we were fine till the sweetness level of ‘peking duck’ & he said ‘it wud be less’.
The polenta was fun to munch on. The relish was sweet & grainy – thus giving an attitude to the taste.
The duck pieces were soft, perfectly done & awesome to taste. I wud rate this at 4.75/5 & the second best dish of the evening.
The first item that we tasted was Apple crumble soufflé, Cinnamon ice cream & Calvados granita. This was a dish with surprises. The soufflé had a ‘layery, crispy outside soft within’ top & inside it was creamy to the extent enjoyable.
For the uninitiated, Granita is a semi-frozen dessert made from sugar, water and various flavorings. The flavouring in this case was liqueur. Looked like we were putting plain crushed ice into mouth & once within, it wud burst into taste & flavour.
Cinnamon ice cream was quite a revelation.
Once again, this gets a 4.5/5.
Last item on the menu was port poached prunes crème brulee. This was different in texture from the usual crème brulee & very enjoyable. The super thin top was excellent as well. Loved this. The prunes surely made their presence felt. Repeating but that is how it is – again a 4.5/5.
Overall rating for food & drinks add up to 4.5/5 (simple average of all scores).
A Pleasant surprise – Gift from The Orient Express: While we called for a reservation, we were asked if we had a special occasion. We said it was our anniversary. We were pleasantly surprised when we were presented with a beautiful bunch of red Roses by the Chef himself, a wonderful chocolate cake that we got home & a framed photograph of ours (they had clicked us with our consent). An evening to remember for sure – with some outstanding food, great hosts , a wonderful ambience & of course the surprise.