too kindly to French restaurants, as much as it has opened its arms to the
Italian ones (or what passes for Italian, in many cases). Almost every
new restaurant goes for the Italian tag, or a more generic ‘European’ (case in
point Cheval and The Sassy Spoon). I wonder if it’s the perception that French
food uses a lot of butter. But if you’d go behind the scenes and take a look at
the amount of cream and cheese that goes into making some of the
not-so-authentic Italian dishes in Mumbai, I guarantee that you’ll never eat it
But I digress. This post is about Chez Moi – a two year old French restaurant in Bandra, Mumbai – that seems
to have broken the French curse. And I’m talking about stand-alone French restaurants here. I’m not taking into account the French
restaurants in five star hotels, such as The Zodiac Grill at the Taj or Pondicherry
Cafe at Sofitel, nor cafes such as Suzette or Marie Antoinette. Admittedly,
Chez Moi does have a long list of Italian dishes on its menu, but it’s the
French cuisine that is the star. And later this week, the restaurant opens another
branch in Oshiwara, Andheri – near Woodside Inn.
I got a chance to review its menu at the
Bandra Reclamation branch, which is located in the Candies lane (everyone knows
where that is!) The menu itself is quirkily bound within the pages of magazines
and is equally divided between French and Italian dishes. The decor is “rustic
French cafe”, charming and with plenty of light streaming in. The service is
very attentive, without being intrusive.
My friend S (who is vegetarian) and I decided
to start with the Tapenade Platter – an assortment of six bruschetta topped with different tapenades; a traditional fig
and olive one, another one with chopped artichoke and capers and
the last one in the platter was basil pesto with tomatoes and cheese.
The fig and olive tapenade is authentically Provencal, the artichoke one was
deliciously creamy and the pesto was, well pesto. Nothing special… I also
tried half a portion of the Skewered Prawns, served on a stick
and marinated with Chez Moi’s secret sauce. The prawns were cooked well and
tasted quite nice.
For the mains, I ordered half portions of two
dishes – Lamb Chops with Green Pepper Sauce and Coriander Buerre Blanc with Fish.
The half portions are quite generous and I wonder how anyone can finish a full
portion of the mains! The lamb chops were cooked perfectly and came with mashed
potatoes and mixed sautéed veggies. The lamb practically melted in the mouth
and the accompanying gravy boat contained a flavourful sauce that went well
with the meat. The classic buerre blanc sauce was also executed well – a piquant
lemon butter sauce, flavoured with herbs and coriander. I just wish that
restaurants these days offer fish other than the Vietnamese Basa. Whatever
happened to eating local produce?!
S ordered the Cottage Cheese Steak in Paprika
Sauce and gave it a thumbs-up. The cottage cheese steak was marinated with
herbs and served with sautéed veggies and a tangy tomato rice.
The desserts menu at Chez Moi is surprisingly
limited – just Warm Apple Crumble with Vanilla ice cream and Chocolate
Pound Cake in Raspberry reduction. And both of them were unavailable
the day we went; some issue with the supplier, apparently. Instead of dessert,
I had an Affogato – a strong espresso with a scoop of vanilla ice
cream. This alleviated my disappointment to an extent but I do hope that this
dearth of dessert is addressed in the new restaurant.
Overall, the quality of food really impressed
me. All the dishes were well presented and most of them hit the mark. The
pricing is quite pocket-friendly and I trust Chez Moi will continue with that. We’ve
had one too many ‘fine dine’ restaurants cropping up, serving over-priced food.
Looking forward to the launch of Chez Moi in Andheri soon. I’ll keep you
posted. Also, if you fancy making your own Fig and Olive Tapenade, take a
look at the recipe I had posted earlier. Until later, bon appétit!
Disclosure: I was invited by Chez Moi to experience their offerings.