Lamb Chops at La Cucina, Hyatt Regency, Kolkata 
La Cucina, Hyatt Regency is one of the cosiest places in town, and when J told me about the fact that it is participating in the Good France project along with 1300 other chefs, across five continents, I quietly anticipated a memorable meal. I entered on time to find the place packed with people, and when I asked, J blithely told me that they were all to participate in the event, and were pretty happy about the six-course curated meal. 
Wines at Hyatt
I was slightly late, but well, after seating, our server provided us with the meal menu and wine list. After a quick glance at the list of drinks available, I chose the Cardinal Prosecco Extra Dry, because I have a natural inclination towards bubbles and tang, and it goes nicely with fish (in my head at least). 
Cardinal Prosecco

A basket of warm bread was placed before us, and a little slice of herb butter begged to be slathered all over the round roll I picked up. I split it open, used my knife with vehement precision, and watched the butter melt. Basil and a touch of mint combined with the crunch of the crust, and the soft bread within was comforting. I decided to be demure and suppressed the need to reach for another roll, a move that I regretted as soon as they disappeared within moments.

bread basket

I had chosen the non-vegetarian fare, so the duck liver “au torchon”, with pickled cherry started off, a perfect bite of creamy duck liver pâté over a thin slice of crunchy toast, topped with a tiny amount of pickled sour cherry. The pâté was creamy and decadent, with a faint metallic aftermath, making me long for a bowlful of the same, and a few slices of crunchy toast. 

Duck Liver “Au Torchon” with pickled cherry.

The Yellowfin Tuna was seared briefly on the outside, retaining the coveted pink flesh within, with a coat of dill and parsley, and served with a fine brunoise of tomatoes. There was a little half of a quail egg which I savored between bites of the fish, the pink flesh melting on my tongue.

Yellowfin Tuna. Herb-seared. Chilli Tomato Salsa. Boiled egg.

After the tuna, I was not expecting much out of the Kolkata Bekti, but it surprised me by being fork tender. It held itself well against the delicate red pepper sabayon, and the leek ‘fondue’ (Which wasn’t as much a fondue as a creamy bed) added a touch of sweetness which showcased the perfectly grilled fish, which flaked at the first touch of my fork. A quick drizzle of lemon, and my world was a happy, joyful place.

Kolkata Bekti. Leek Fondue. Red Pepper Sabayon.

At this point, my stomach was starting to protest, but at that point, the Agneau Chops came in, with a side of perfectly executed Potato Dauphinoise, thin layers of potato and cream, with a gloriously charred top. The lamb was tender, juicy, and cooked for just the right amount of time, and the pairing was set off perfectly by the red wine jus which helped bring everything together. How I wished for added stomach space!

Agneau Chops. Tian of Ratatouille. Pommes Dauphinoise. Pinot Noir Jus.

Before moving to the desserts, the cheese course was served to us. Brie remains one of my favorite cheeses of all time, and when it is drizzled with Truffle honey, and served with fresh strawberries (instead of macerated, as mentioned in the menu), it makes the transition from the entree to the dessert so easy. There were thin, crunchy slivers of toast, which shattered into tiny shards as soon as I bit into it, and the creamy, salty brie, and the sweet truffle honey was a heady combination.

Brie de Meaux. White Truffle Honey. Telichhery Pepper. Macerated Strawberries.

The chef had promised a chocolate cake as dessert, and it came, with a side of beetroot ice cream set on a macaron, a ring of praline, and caramelized walnuts on one side of the plate. On the other side was a disc of chocolate which was somewhere similar to a mousse au chocolat. Although I was looking forward to the cake (I love cake!), the first bite of the rich, decadent chocolate, that was a delight for a hapless chocolate lover (me!) made me guard my plate carefully, and later, was directly responsible for my urge to make truly horrid jokes (which the other members of the table were tortured with). I did find the beetroot chip to be a bit superfluous, but nothing was more satisfying than shattering the ring of praline with a sharp rap of my spoon.

Chocolate Cake. Beetroot Ice Cream. Beetroot Chips. Caramelized Walnuts.

Priced at INR 2500/- per person (plus tax), this six-course meal was designed to tantalize the palate and add a French note to the evening. A set of wines from around the world was served at retail price.

Disclaimer: Poorna Banerjee dined at La Cucina at the kind invitation of the management. 

Written by Poorna Banerjee

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