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L'OPERA

Once upon a time, a gentleman sought authentic French bread and pastries during his internship in India in 2007-08 and as time elapsed he aspired to introduce us to French cuisine, bringing top pastry chefs of France here to deliver authentic, quality products. Two years of market research—with gruelling tests within the French Embassy—L'Opera recreated the first authentic French patisserie and boulangerie in 2011. As Kazem Samandari reminisced about early days over coffee and baguette paysanne under the winter sun, I couldn't help get entranced in the beautiful ambience created by a hard-working person's dream… a dream of of taking diners on a culinary tour of France and ensuring that each of them enjoy "the pleasure of a fine table”— at prices that are affordable.

Sigh! Looking at the menu I realised we faced a challenge of choosing from the smorgasbord of light meals, Viennese pastries, savouries and macarons, and deliberated a while, finally choosing "Vol au Vent" and "Croque Monsieur"—each dish comes with salad, herbed tomato and tapenade. The former was impressive, with flaky pastry enveloping chicken and veggies, and that Béchamel sauce, which reinforced what the French excel in—exquisitely delicious sauces! The salad's greens were refreshing and the pastry melted in my mouth with each savoury bite. The Croque Monsieur—toasted house bread with ham and melted Feta—is a must-have too though I was told its fried egg variant is as delicious! Just when I thought I couldn't have another bite, I was lured by the most beautifully textured pastries—it was a work of culinary art, particularly layered crispy chocolate rectangle "Opéra" and "Lime Tart" (there was no lime essence here—it was the real thing!). And, a special mention must be given to the "Raspberry Mousse" that ended our meal on a rich, creamy note. 

 

Reminiscing back to the delightful luncheon with Kazem and Nadia, I feel the salons are doing brisk business due to the intense passion of the founder and his family who are involved in daily operations and continually introduce items that appealed to them on their several trip to France! It also has to do with service, quality and value—and there is a certain ambiance which may be attributed to elegant confidence. Is it any wonder then that L’Opéra is recipient of Hindustan Times Awards of Best Bakery 2011 in Delhi; NDTV Good Times Food Award 2011 for Best Dessert and Coffee Menu in India; Times of India Food Award 2012 for Best Confectionary in Delhi’ and their Executive Chef was awarded Gourmet Gurus Award for "Best Chef: Bakery and Confectionary" in Delhi?

— JASMEEN DUGAL

 
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L'Opera, Epicuria, New Delhi.

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