Carte Blanche, Pondicherry

Pondicherry is well known for it's French influence. Hence, it would only be customary for one to visit one of the many French restaurants in the area. We paid a visit to Carte Blanche, a French restaurant located in Hotel de L'Orient along Rue Romain Rolland in the French quarter.

This quaint little upscale restaurant offers French and Indian dishes in a very French setting. The candle-lit courtyard provides the setting for the ultimate romantic dinner. The only thing missing was the music of the accordion, but even without - the ambiance was simply one of a kind.

For appetizers, I ordered a Chilled Cream of Apple and Almond Soup. Similar to gazpacho (in terms of the temperature), the cream in the soup brought the sweetness of the apples and flavors of the almonds together, and the chill brought the dish some novelty.

I ordered myself the forbidden meat here in India, a Beef Steak with Garlic Butter and Roasted Baby Potatoes, priced at Rs300 (RM20). I also made the mistake of ordering the steak well-done. Stupid, I know, but nevertheless the garlic butter brought about the natural flavors of the meat, which was also quite tender.

My grand-aunt ordered the Chicken Roulade with Mushroom Sauce and Sauteed Vegetables worth Rs250 (RM16). The chicken was slightly overcooked, though it was wonderfully flavored with thyme, and accompanied the chunky mushroom sauce very well. The vegetables were crisp, and naturally sweet.

My grandparents, not as willing to try a different cuisine, ordered the Kadai Chicken worth Rs250 (RM16). This north Indian curry was not as spicy as the kind in the south, though you could taste the flavors of saffron and coriander throughout, and there was an abundance of tender chicken pieces.

We also ordered a dish of Pondicherry's renowned Creole cuisine - a fusion of Indian and French food. The White Chicken Curry worth Rs250 (RM16)was truly unique. The curry sauce, made with almond paste and cream, was truly comfort food. The creaminess of the curry and the spiciness, showed the cuisine's marriage of Tamil dynamism and French restraint perfectly.

My grandparents ate their Kadai Chicken with some Chappatis which were priced at Rs20 (RM1.50) for 2 pieces. We were also served complementary Bread with Home-made Butter. The butter was amazingly delicious, and I could not get enough. It compensated the stale bread pieces, which I'm assuming are old baguette pieces.

Finally, for dessert we all shared an Earl-Grey flavored Creme Brulee worth Rs120 (RM8). The texture of the dish was amazingly creamy, and the flavor of the tea permeated the custard. The only down-side was that there was not much caramelized sugar on top, which I sort of like, nonetheless - no complaints here.

In conclusion, Carte Blanche was truly an amazing experience. The setting itself, was to die for. The food was pretty good too, and the staff were amazingly friendly and interacted a lot with my grandpa, whom I could tell was loving the experience. Definitely a 'must-visit' on your itinerary here.

Presentation: 7/10

Ambiance: 9/10

Service: 8/10

Overall Taste: 7/10

General Impression: 8/10




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