Wednesday, May 11, 2011

L'Opera - French Bakery - Delhi

Shop 5-B (keep walking beyond Good Earth)
Khan Market
4732 2889

Monday to Saturday: 8:00 am to 8:00 pm
Sunday: 9:30 am to 3:30pm

 L'Opera products were earlier available at the Frech Embassy - for Embassy staff only and at DLF Golf & Country Club - again for members only. So their Khan Market opening is a welcome development.

L'Opera has a 3000 sq. ft. production centre at Noida and the Head Chef and ingredients come in straight from France. Prices on their Menu may seem high, but since all ingredients are sourced from France and are of higher quality (the almond flour, French butter, French cream etc) its worth the indulgence.

When I visited yesterday, to my bad luck the Head Chef was off on vacation and hence I was  told that the French Macaroons would only be available after 10 days when he returned. I've been craving French Macaroons ever since Masterchef Australia aired in India (and the ones at Wengers - CP 35/- while pleasant, weren't satisfying) and I was really excited to hear about L'Operas authentic offerings. But I guess I will have to wait a few more days to satisfy this foodie craving.

We ordered some Financiers for Rs.75/- - Almond based tea cakes - which were excellent. The Matcha Green Tea and Coffee Eclairs (145/- each) were also very good. Most eclairs sold in Delhi are over stuffed with overr sweetened cream. The eclairs at L'Opera were stuffed with just the right amount of flavoured cream for moistness and had a strip of flavoured icing that had had hardened on the top which provided just the right hint of sweetness.

L'Opera offers Breads (25-350/-), Viennese Pastries (35-80/-), Macaroons (125/- each), pastries (65-200/-), cakes & tarts for 8-10 people (1000-2500/-) & some savoury items for cocktail parties ( 25-210/)

They sell out quickly, so call ahead, especially if you want a larger order.

They do offer home delivery for orders above 1000/- according to a schedule, so call 0120 - 4066 888 and check.

L'Opera is a welcome addition and stands way above the majority of generic bakeries in Delhi.

(Prices include taxes)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Parampara - Gateway Paradise - Guwahati

Gateway Paradise
0361 2666904, +91 9435548812

Parampara Paradise was universally recommended as the best place for us to try authentic Assamese food in Guwahati.

The ground floor is called Paradise which has fans but no air conditioning and the upstairs with airconditioning is called Parampara. I didn't check the menu downstairs, so I do not know if there is a difference in pricing between the 2.

Parampara Paradise offers a variety of 6 different thalis. The mega thali or the Parampara Thali at 350Rs offers unlimited servings of everything

We ordered the Assamese Vyanjan Non veg thali at Rs170/- each. Only the steamed joha rice is unlimited in this thali. But quantities are more than enough for one person. The Assamese thalis only serve rice. Rotis are not an item seperately available on the menu. But they do have an Indian thali that offers rotis/chapatis and the husband who needs rotis with his meal, requested them to add a roti to his thali which they obliged after a short discussion.

This Assamese Vyanjan Non veg thali included : unlimited steamed joha rice, (clockwise) bowls of payas - vermicilli paysam on this day, assorted palate ticklers, Masor Tenga- Rohu fish in a sour curry, chicken curry, a dry vegetable - one of the many greens specific to Assam, pitika - mashed potatoes with mustard oil, mustard seeds, fresh corriander and chillies, dal - lentils, Khar - a vegetable preparation with soda bicarbonate.

I will need to find someone who can explain to me the concept of soda bicarb being the chief ingrdient in cooking a vegeatble. The vegetable on the day we were there was knol khol - not one of my favourites, so this was the only item that remained uneaten on my plate. My husband did not like the overwhelming taste of soda bicarb, so he did not eat this either.

The palate ticklers ( we call these items thond launk in Konkani - they are strongly sour or spicy like pickles or chutneys which increase the flow of saliva and hence improve appetite and bring excitement even to a simple meal of rice and dhal or pez - rice gruel)were supposed to include Kahudi - dry mustard paste with mustard oil and tamarind juice, Kharoli - dry mustard paste with mustard oil & soda bicarb, Kharisha- grated bamboo shoot with mustard oil & red chillies and Mahor Guri - powdered gram lentils with salt, lemon juice & chillies.

We did arrive late and perhaps they ran out of some items, so what is actually in this bowl is a slice of the local lemon, green chilli, Kahudi - hiding under the chilli, Mahor guri - to the right of the Kahudi and a green chutney

All thalis are served in traditional bell metal plates and bowls.
 In the vegetarian Assamese vyanjan thali - 160/- the fish and chicken dishes are substituted with a paneer curry, soya kofta curry and mahor bor tenga.

The massive Parampara thali besides offerring unlimited servings, includes a flavored organic soft drink, pigeon or duck curry instead of chicken, fish wrapped in plaintain leaves and roasted over charcoal, and an intriguing traditional dessert of cream, Assamese puffed rice and jaggery. This item is also on the limited a la carte menu, but unfortunately wasn't available by the time we finished lunch.

I'd love to try this dessert and the roasted fish, but I need to be really hungry to be able to do justice to this thali. But given that we are moving to Guwahati, I'm sure the opportunity will present itself.

There is an Assamese non-veg thali 140/- which offers mutton instead of chicken and curd instead of payas - dessert.

If you really aren't interested in trying Assames food they do offer an Indian Thali - North Indian Vegetarian - for 140/-. This thali includes rice and chapati, dal, mixed vegetable, paneer curry, vegetable kofta, pickles, papad, Mahor Guri, salad and a choice of dessert or dahi.

The a la carte menu is very limited about 13 items which are meant to supplement a thali rather generate a meal on their own. Pigeon or duck curry is available for 180/- (I'm not sure if an order of this comes with free rice) Gooseberry soup, chicken in bamboo, fish in bamboo, plaintain flowers cooked in channa dal are some of the dishes they offer.

Fosters beer is the only alcohol served here at 150/- for a large bottle, a glass of aerated cold drink is 30/-

Service is relaxed. I wouldn't say it is slow, it just goes with the pace of life in Guwahati.The waiters each wear a traditional Assamese muffler/stole around their necks which seems a bit absurb (given the weather) yet endearing.

Prices include all extras - no VAT, Sales Tax, Service Charge extras. Hence rates seem extremely reasonable for someone like me who has been jaded into submission by the horridly high pricing +20+% taxes of Delhi

Rating : 3 / 5

Port Lounge, Guwahati

Port Lounge
Guwahati Airport

The Jet and Kingfisher Lounges are located within the Port Lounge and are a segregated part of it.

The Port Lounge only offers complimentary tea/coffee, veg/cheese sandwich, fruit cake and fruit juice to frequent flyers entitled to use the facility. For a hot bite, one has to order from the menu.

Since the airport is almost an hour away from the city and one needs to check in an hour early, we had not had the chance to eat lunch before arriving at the airport. The cheese sandwich did little to quell our hunger pangs and only seemed to encourage them.

We then ordered from the Chinese (rather than Indian) section of the menu.

Prices are definitely high compared to prices in Guwahati city, but quite reasonable compared to Delhi, especially given the size of servings.

We ordered a chicken schezwan fried rice for 240Rs, a Hong Kong Chilly Chicken dry for 220Rs and a chicken chopsuey for 230Rs.

The food tasted like Indian street food style Chinese - rice, noodle, chicken tossed in generic red and green sauces in differing quantities. But it was still very tasty. The fried rice was good but the chopsuey was lovely even with the unusual additions of mushrooms and baby corn to the sauce. My egg was fried hard instead of soft but the taste of the saice was so familiar that I forgave them this oversight without a 2nd thought.

A 5% VAT charge was added to the amounts above while totaling the bill.

Anyone can eat at the Port Lounge for the same prices.

The seating is comfortable as is the airconditioning. Lights are kept low so you can catch a nap if needed. Multiple TV's can each be tuned to a different station (which can be bugging when someone turns up the volume on any one particular TV)

I must mention that service was much faster than the only other restaurant we visited on this trip to Guwahati. So its a boon for those who want a quick bite before catching a flight. Especially since over 70% of the flights departing from Guwahati are budget versions which don't serve a hot meal on board.


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