Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Six-Course Dinner at California Boulevard, Gurgaon

It's not too often that we go out to eat. So when we do, we hope that it will be darn special and completely worth our money and time. Needless to say our expectations are quite high. It was in context of this that you should read this blog post, and judge the restaurant accordingly.
It was a weekday and we had set out for Gurgaon (from Noida) to have dinner at the newly opened California Boulevard, near IFFCO Chowk. The drive was exceptionally smooth with our smart driver deciding to drive through the Chanakya Puri Area rather than taking the crowded DND and Ashram Route. Therefore, our evening had already started on a pleasant note,

A very courteous welcome awaited us at the doorstep of the restaurant, and we immediately felt at home. "Boulevard" is a French word that means a street or a road and true enough the decor of the restaurant did bring to mind the quite streets of the suburbs of California especially quieter places such as Fremont and San Jose. The ambiance was cozy and soft music added to the mood. But we had heard great things about the food the serve at California Boulevard's Rajouri Garden branch and couldn't wait to start tucking in.     

And we surely did that. Within 5 minutes of our arrival, Himanshu, the efficient young man who was serving us, brought over our mocktails and the "Nibblers". From mocktails we had ordered a Spicy Guava and a Ginger Honey Smoothie. Even though I had ordered the smoothie, I kept on eyeing the spicy guava greedily. It was definitely the better of the two. My husband, Vijay, also tried another mocktail called California Punch and it could have been avoided. He had to order another Spicy Guava to get over it.

The nibblers that we ordered were Dilli ki Chaat and Prawn Crackers. Dilli ki Chaat had crispy spinach leaves at the base with curd, saunth, dhaniya chutney, and masala sprinkled on the top. It was delicious. The prawn crackers were like papads and were nice as well. But Dilli ki chaat was a clear winner in this round.

Next, we moved on to the starters and soups. Yes, nibblers weren't starters. They were starters to the starters, and in that sense were "meta-starters". Tee hee! Anyways, let's get back to the awesome subject that is the food.

So getting to the starters, we ordered Kaffir Lime Chicken Tikka and Crispy Cups. Kaffir Lime gave a unique flavour to the Chicken Tikka, which was quite nice, and crispy cups were okay too. We ordered one hot and one cold soup. I ordered a chilled blueberry soup and a chicken Penang Curry Laksa. I love blueberry so there was no question of not liking my soup. And the Laksa had a coconutty flavour, which Vijay loves, so he was pretty happy too.
We were now done with 4 out of 6 courses, and were already feeling quite full. However, there was no question of leaving without trying the mains and, of course, the dessert. So we ploughed on.

In the mains, we ordered New Zealand Mustard Lamb Chops and Seafood Thermidor. Perhaps because we were already feeling full, I was feeling more nit-picky. So I dared to suggest that the lamb was a bit chewy. Vijay didn't agree though. He thought it was perfect. The Seafood Thermidor was a lobster shell full of morsels of prawns, lobsters, and squid. It was nice.
By now we felt like kicking off our shoes and stretching out on the floor to take a nap, but we decided that the restaurant management may not appreciate such antics and ordered our final course - the dessert. And it was TCB Kulfi Gazzak. The dish contained two inverted chocolate cup which were full of frozen kesar ice cream sprinkled with crushed Gazzak. And then in full Rajnikanth style, Himanshu fished out a blowtorch and torched the chocolate cups. This melted the ice cream a bit and made the dish easier to eat.



We said our good byes to Himanshu and to the Executive Chef Karen. And then with bulging stomachs, we reluctantly started back for Noida. If I look back today, it was a most memorable dinner and one that felt like a good use of our time. Now I am motivated to also try lunch at California Boulevard, Rajouri Garden. I will share my experience whenever I go there.
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