Tuna Nicoise, Tomato Pearls, Olive Foam

A slice of tuna belly sits on the plate with a thick parsley chimichurri crust on top, briefly seared to leave the center of it glowing pink, with slices of boiled eggs, beans, olives and greens on one side, and tomato pearls on the other. A deconstructed salad niçoise, with a little twist to ensure that the diner’s curiosity is raised to the point where he wants to explore more. The tuna is from the Mediterranean, and the sear on it is mild. I miss the kick from the Dijon, replaced by the mild burst of tang from the tomato pearls. 

bread basket at the park

We are at The Park, Kolkata, previewing the Taste of France at The Bridge, where Chef Sharad Dewan, in association with the Good France Project, an initiative launched by the legendary Alain Ducasse, has curated a menu which is an experience of France, with a local twist. On 19th March, 2015, 1300 chefs will be preparing a special dinner (From 8 pm onwards in Kolkata) around the world, and be a part of this project. The cold starter sets the mood for the next offering, and I munch on a grissini stick while waiting for the next course.

Coagulated Peking Duck Mince Mille Feuille

The Coagulated Peking Duck Mince Mille-Feuille is impressive, with the dish carefully covered with a glass dome to ensure that the dish remains hot and the smell which hits the nose after taking off the glass top is what makes this dish much more interesting than alternate layers of crunchy wonton wrapper layered with Peking duck shreds (not mince, mind you). Of course, I look for a bit of crisp duck skin, but sadly do not find any. But the spicy hit from the little dots of chilli oil is addictive, as is the sweetness of the Hoisin-laden duck.

I am, of course, struck by the little bit of drama that comes with each dish – and of course, the next course – the Curry Leaf Scallops, Squid Ink Linguine, Lobster Bisque, Poppadum Crush and Mustard Cress is an interesting one, to say the very least. The idea is to pour the hot bisque into the bowl where the scallops and linguine rests.

Curry Leaf Scallops, Lobster Bisque, Squid Ink Linguine, Poppadum Crush, Mustard Cress

A visual treat is always a good thing, and I pour in the bisque, which makes sure that the scallops and linguine cooks slightly, along with the mustard cress. I dig in immediately – the bisque is, however, not very bisque-like. It rather reminds me more of a spicy seafood broth, with a considerable amount of spices in which dollops of lobster was simmered. The scallops were buttery soft, and the squid ink linguine pleasantly al dente, but I personally felt that a milder broth would have benefited the dish more.

I was, also, looking forward to the other main course – Organic Red Rice Bowl, Basil Caviar, Perfumed Leek Alumettes, Gremolata Dust. The gremolata dust was mostly lost in the spicy filling of the red rice bowl, but I could taste a bit of the herbs in my mouth in the aftermath of it. The thin slice of dried pineapple added a sweet tang to the dish.

Moving from the mains to the cheese course, the Chef had incorporated a Gruyère Cheese Soufflé with a pear and grape salsa, and carrot and celeriac air. The soufflé was beautiful – with molten, creamy cheese within, and the pear and grape salsa was the perfect foil for it. The carrot and celeriac air did not add much to the dish, but well, who really cares as long as the cheese stays melted?

Gruyère Soufflé, Pear and Grape Salsa, Carrot and Celeriac Air 

For dessert, we were served Monsoon in Chocolate Soil, Grit, Mud, War and Cold, Fallen Branches – the textural difference is what attracted me to this dish the most – the two kinds of soil, the dark, rich smear of ganache in between, the crisp chocolate stick on top – everything added to the visual appeal of the dish, and I scraped my plate clean.

Monsoon in Chocolate Soil 

This special menu at The Bridge will be INR 3500/- (plus tax) for a meal, and INR 5000/- (plus tax) for a meal with matching wine pairing. This is indeed a unique event, and should not be missed.

Disclaimer: Poorna Banerjee was invited to The Bridge to sample the menu by the management of The Park Hotels. 

Written by Poorna Banerjee

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