Bangalore’s first French restaurant opened sans fanfare but is seeing steady traffic for all that. Epicure Jacques Dominitz has been in the city for a while with two eateries, La Rotisserie and Crepes Bar, out in Whitefield. His eponymous restaurant, Jacques La Brasserie, in the heart of the city serves up a variety of Gallic fare.
The interiors are admittedly a tad humdrum, a meld of teak brown and dull yellows, with the usual b/w photographs of Parisian sights on the walls. Not everyone gets to see it but the kitchen holds an amazing rotisserie, capable of grilling 60 birds at one go.
The menu is wide-ranging: salads and starters featuring croquettes and ravioli, club and baguette sandwiches, pastas and gratins, a selection of omelettes, quiches, platters of vegetarian and non-vegetarian fare served alongside a selection of cheese, the rotisserie with chicken and beef dishes, main courses with ratatouille and zucchini, risottos, fillets and more.
There are crepes galore on offer, (all assigned chic, femme names!) both sweet and savoury, and desserts with all the expected delights like crème brulee, fruit crumbles, mousse and tartes. On a more personal note, the many spelling errors in the menu had me wincing. Fine dining = better spelled list of dishes; that’s a basic equation.
We had Alexandra crepes with a hearty filling of veggies, cheese, mushroom and cream, followed by a beef fillet en croute, fish (basa) in a creamy sauce with some delicately flavoured potato mash alongside, and a divine tarte tin for dessert, the soft sugar-poached apples a perfect foil to the dollops of whipped cream . The food was accompanied by a glass of fresh white wine, not imported from France but happily local.
This gastronomical workout was accompanied by Jacques’ baritone, intoning on good food, French food (he would have it that both the terms are conjoined), Indian food (which he finds over-seasoned and way too spicy), French wine (he pooh-poohs wines from anywhere else), organically grown vegetables, cheeses, and the like.
The food is good but not spectacular. One wonders if Bangalore will take to French food without requesting accompaniments like chilli sauce, the pepper mill or plain tomato sauce. Helas, Jacques will no doubt exclaim, but Indians will be Indians. Time will tell, one supposes….
Jacques La Brasserie