Rara Avis - Delicieux!

Blending comfort food with fine dining very well, the French restaurant Rara Avis charmed us on all counts!

By: Soumya Jain

Posted on: July 12, 2013

Blending comfort food with fine dining very well, the French restaurant Rara Avis charmed us on all counts!

Not that French cuisine is alien to the Indian population, but it still hasn’t acquired that immense popularity which is the prerogative of Italian and Chinese cuisines here. So even though I had a taste of French cuisine before, I was a little intrigued about what to expect at the authentic French bistro styled restaurant Rara Avis.

I found that a good reputation preceded our visit to Rara Avis. Anticipating greatness from this humble place, we made our way to the Greater Kailash 2 market where the restaurant is conveniently located.

Taking up the third floor (the signage says second floor, but don’t pay heed to it) and the terrace of a multi-storied building, we climbed up the stairs, deliberately avoiding the rickety-looking lift in the building. But that’s where our discomfort ended. As soon as the door opened to Rara Avis, we instantly felt we had stepped into another world. Rara Avis turned out to be a quaint French eatery with minimalist decor. 

Deliberately kept absolutely frill free, you’ll feel settled and oddly at home once seated. With sunlight filtering in, neat wooden tables and simple cutlery, the décor belies the restaurant’s luxury quotient. Once comfortable, one of the three directors, Mr Laurent Guiraud walked over to our table with a courteous hello and helped us to pick our order. And to clarify, it’s not only us who got a special treatment. At least one of the three owners is always present at the restaurant to personally help each diner in ordering the food.

French paradise
Debating the starters, we decided to go all vegetarian. Going with Mr Guiraud recommendation, Le Chèvre et la Laitue (warm goat cheese on croutons placed on a bed of salad) turned out to be absolutely scrumptious! The warm goat cheese blended well the croutons, which though toasted, were incredibly soft enough to slice easily with a knife. Have it warm otherwise the charm will cool down! Croutes aux Morilles (warm morel mushrooms, port wine reduction) had warm morel mushroom gravy with tiny pieces of the mushroom spread over croutons. With a creamy texture, the warm gravy softened the croutons and made it easy to slice through and have it. Delicious and soul soothing, my companion loved it especially.

For the main course, we indulged ourselves extravagantly. Calling for five main course dishes to be shared between just the two of us, we were a little unsure whether we’ll be able to wipe it off. But the flavours and textures of the food made it quite easy for us!

Non-vegetarians will be spoilt for choice and taste here! Filet de Basa Sauce Vierge (Basa fish with virgin sauce) was soft and extremely easy to slice through. My companion found it easily rolled into the mouth and disappeared! The creamy, buttery sauce with a side helping of potatoes made the dish even more appealing. Non-spicy and delectable, the dish scored a perfect 10! Sauté d’Agneau comme un Tagine (lamb tagine style with couscous) was mildly spicy with balanced flavours. Though the lamb didn’t seem fresh and was a little tough to slice through, the overall taste of the dish absolutely made up for it!

Ravioles Citrouille Ricotta (pumpkin and ricotta raviolis) were absolutely melt in the mouth. The slight sweetness of pumpkin blended well with the tanginess of red sauce which they served it with. Absolutely soft, they disappeared in my mouth in a matter of seconds! Crêpe aux Epinards Gratinée (spinach crêpe with melted cheese) was also served piping hot with a tangy red sauce. The spinach crepe, again melt-in-the-mouth kind, was absolutely delicious. The slight bitterness of spinach was offset by the cheese and red sauce.

Pissaladiere – a pizza with fresh courgettes, eggplant, tomato, olive tapenade and pistou – was prepared with a very thin crust. Easy to have and shared between two people, it won’t fill you up too much to make you unable to try their other delicacies. We say that because, though the pizza was well-made, it fell a little short as compared to the rest of the food we had, which was absolutely mouth-watering. We downed all this with a Virgin Mojito and Rara Avis (a drink made like Bloody Mary but with guava juice). Both were made well and served as good accompaniments with the food.

Sweet nothings
And though we were filled to the brim, we couldn’t resist calling for desserts, for which we had built up quite high expectations! Crêpes au Chocolat ou Fruits Rouges (chocolate pancakes with ice cream) turned out to be simply divine. Bought warm with chocolate oozing out of it, the soft pancakes were our idea of a French heaven! If the chocolate gets a bit too much for you, try your hand at Café Liégois (coffee ice cream with espresso and whipped cream) which was commendable as well.

Rara Avis serves French food which easily matches international standards. And why not when Mr Guiraud abhors any kind of bastardization of the cuisine? He clearly states that though, yes, Indians like their food spicy, he will not make it so for them. “I will give you the chilli flakes and the spices you want to make it suitable for your taste, but anything that comes out of the kitchen will be authentic and unchanged,” he says. But yes, Rara Avis has inculcated the Indian culture of sharing in the way they serve food. If you want to share a dish with your companion, they’ll easily divide and serve. But the food itself will not be altered.

I, for one, completely agree to this quality control, which is most needed to maintain a luxury experience. The service by the staff is quick and courteous, and yet not too intrusive. Thus, we were only too happy to hear then that Rara Avis is opening in Goa too. Coming back impressed with their food and the personal attention by Mr Guiraud and the staff, we are sure that authentic French cuisine will find its place in the Delhi food circle soon!

Coordinates: M -27, Greater Kailash 2 (Main Market), New Delhi
Ph: +91-9811232992

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