My review of Rara Avis is about a dream come true. Food lover and entrepreneur Rajiv Aneja hails from the corporate world but he harboured intense passion to set up his own restaurant. It was only a matter of time to connect with the right people — Jerome Cousin and Laurent Guiraud — and open Rara Avis. The duo — in alliance with Rajiv — serve up a French gastronomic experience that they describe as "food just like our grandmothers used to cook".
While the ambience is evocative of a French bistro, the terrace offers a magnificent view of a park with the cityscape beyond. Walking in, I was greeted by Rajiv and seated at a table with plush seating. The server brought my focus to the menu open on the table and we began luncheon with full-bodied Portuguese wine that complimented the basket of fresh baguette. Looking at the menu I realised I faced a challenge… so many inviting dishes… and I deliberated for a while, without reaching a decision. Finally we began with "Salade de Chevre Chaud" and "Croutes aux Morilles". The presentation was magnificent and I still harbour food fantasies when I view the photographs I took. The crouton topped with warm, melting goat cheese was creamy and delicious! And there was something gratifying about morels marinated in port wine. After taking time to indulge in it, I picked up a slice of baguette and soaked it in the remaining sauce on my plate. Hey it must have been real good — I have never felt like doing something like this before!!
The chef then sent out another signature — "Croquettes De Poulet". The minced chicken and béchamel croquettes were crisp and flavourful with each bite releasing velvety texture. Up next, "Les Escargots" had a firm chewable texture with a refreshingly unique taste in combination with garlic butter. The urge to dip another slice of baguette in the garlic butter was overwhelming but I controlled myself! Admittedly I was an escargot virgin but its a culinary treat Im sure to have on occasion. The last appetiser, "Noix De Saint Jacques A La Bretonne" or scallops in brittany sauce, made me appreciate what the French are renowned worldwide for — their sauces! Its rich, creamy base embellished the silken texture of the scallops.
Pondering my choice of entree over another flute of wine, I ordered quail. Served with greens and artistically arranged potatoes, the succulent bird was another culinary masterpiece! The chef had cooked it whole to maintain texture and flavour, and I can't say I've had better! Going at it with cutlery, the tender meat playing hide and seek with the bone literally melted in the mouth! Though I was full, there was no way I was leaving without Tiramisu — it was tres magnifique! Wrapping up luncheon three hours later with black coffee and conversation, it's easy to get caught up in the ambience created by hard-working people's dream… a dream of a French bistro with the partners taking guests on a culinary tour of their native country, and ensuring each and everyone of them enjoy the pleasure of a fine table! Do stop by Rara Avis for soup with croquettes and quiche, cheese fondue or any authentic wholesome French dish. It will be one of the finest meals you can have in Delhi. Bon appetite!
— JASMEEN DUGAL
Rara Avis, M 27, 'M' Block Market, Greater Kailash 2, New Delhi.