A taste of France

A platter of pastries, baguette, cookies and more, Salon de Thé by L’Opera serves some authentic French savouries

Imagine devouring a breakfast plate laden with buttery croissants and ham sandwiches, and a steaming cup of tea in green environs. This and more finds its way on your table at the Salon de Thé by Chor Bizarre run by L’Opera at Bikaner House. Among the more flavourful and classy places in town, this salon has some yum pastries and macarons.

The elegantly done interiors in soothing pastels transport you to Europe. But even the outdoors  are alluring here. I always imagine myself with a good book, a plate full of cookies, signature French breads, coffee and some chosen pastries. It’s quite easy to spend a day here if you are not counting your calories and would like to try the French delicacies slowly. It’s truly an opera of flavours.

The chain is the brainchild of Laurent Samandari. There are now many outlets in Delhi-NCR, including Khan Market, Epicuria, PVR Director’s Cut at Vasant Kunj, Green Park and more. The journey began in 2008 with the offering of just a few baguettes and macarons. “The savouries were served for breakfast at the Embassy of France. But now, there’s catering and home deliveries on special occasions. The production centre runs 24×7 as freshness and quality are of prime importance,” says chairman Kazem Samandari. And in just one decade, the variety has extended to almost 150 savouries.

With probably the cleanest premises in Noida, L’Opera uses the best machines and experts to make the products. Walking through the three floors with the aroma of fresh butter and chocolates tingling my nose, I am amazed at the shine on every floor. Even the store is spick and span. The equipment has been largely imported from Europe and 11 vehicles begin their journey in the wee hours daily so that there are fresh trays at the outlets. The staff has been trained to perfection. “Many French chefs including the famous Jean Louis Clement trained the staff. And he is invited regularly as and when a new delicacy or change in menu is planned.”

Among the eternal favourites in the market are the Mille Feuille with strawberries and chocolate eclairs. There are additions and subtractions from time to time depending upon  the festivals and seasons. No, I did not try that entire list. But the baguette, being the signature bread, is a must have. The best way is to eat it as it comes out, absolutely fresh. “In France, People eat it on the way to office”, I am told.

Over and above  the others, I recommend Lemon Tart, Mille Feuille, L’Opera Classic Chocolate, Baguette Sandwich Ham and Eggless Mushroom Quiche. Soft, melt-in-the-mouth, I had to stop calculating the calories, because sometimes you need to just pamper the taste buds. This is a place to go with a big group as you can then try a lot more.

I quite enjoyed the platters with cherry tomatoes, green salads and olive oil dip. The vegetarians too would enjoy it here as there are eggless options too. The vegetable Feuilleté is a tasty seasoned puff pastry with fresh vegetables. The Mushroom Feuilleté is complemented with onion, garlic, mixed herbs and peas. Chicken Leek Feuilleté has a subtle blend of garlic, cream and herbs. The amazing appetisers include beetroot, green peas and pumpkin soup.

A more filling meal can include the Croque Monsieur and Croque Madame sandwiches. A mix of pork, ham, milk bread, melted cheese inside and on top and a fried egg sits on the top. This is sure to keep you full for many hours. There are pastas and classic lasagna too.

Even though my stomach is bursting, temptation raises its hood again as I see the jars of fresh jams, cinnamon roll and French hearts. But there’s always high tea and another day.

Meal for two: Rs. 1,100 onwards

Address: Bikaner House, Pandara Road, Near India Gate, New Delhi

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