I barely ever review restaurants that are very close to my house. I know I will get to them eventually. My foodie bunch and me are known to travel far and wide in search of good food and our quest landed us in Khan Market last week.
The latest addition to Khan Market is this multi-cuisine restaurant – La Vie (that’s life), La Vie offers an all-day casual dining experience and is open until 11 PM. I went to La Vie late one evening and my foodie bunch and me were starving so we asked for the menu immediately. Everything on the menu looked very tempting and though it was only the soft launch menu but we all liked what we saw in there.
Khan Market has always intrigued me; we sat down to sip our cocktails at La Vie as we discussed how Khan Market came to be. It was established in 1951. We all know Abdul Ghaffar Khan, the market was named after his brother Khan Abdul Jabbar Khan. Anyone who knows Delhi would know that Khan Market has been ranked as the costliest retail location in India and I think it has to do with limited space, accessibility and central location.
This U-shaped, double-storey market complex has more than 154 shops in a very confined space, that make competition really tough for new restaurants like La Vie.
The chef’s specials are written neatly on a blackboard and there were four of us, so we ordered most of it. I started with a “Chicken Caesar Salad” with dressing on the side. I asked for my salad with dressing on the side. The lettuce leaves were crunchy, fresh and had absolutely no brown edges. I always order dressing on the side because it is easier to determine the freshness of the lettuce that way. The croutons were crunchy and so was the chicken. I once had a bag of garlic croutons from Waitrose and I haven’t been able to get over them since and whenever I am at a restaurant and we get garlic bread I always have it with my salad. I love the combo.
Next up was a generous plateful of “Wild Mushroom Soup”. The soup had a dash of thyme and a dollop of basil pesto. It came with two pieces of bread. It was wonderful and surprisingly light. We enjoyed the soup with neatly cut up pieces of “Rosemary & Garlic Bread”. The dough had been baked to perfection by the Italian-Indian Chef who resided in Italy for 29 years before moving to India to make a living in the restaurant business. I love the fragrance of rosemary, I had rosemary in a cocktail recently and I have to say it goes much better with bread than it does with a mango cocktail. The slices of bread had been seasoned ever so lightly in such a way that the outsides were flavoursome and crusty and the insides were soft and moist.
Authentic Italian pizzas are very different from what the big chains serve us. An authentic Italian pizza has two main toppings: tomatoes and Mozzarella cheese. There are three variants to an authentic Italian pizza, Marinara, Margherita and Margherita Extra. All these pizzas just have tomatoes, basil, olive oil, cheese and garlic. The concept of having toppings on pizzas is very American. However, if the toppings are done right, I think there is nothing as good a pizza which has toppings of your choice. I personally really loved the “Pepperoni” and “Pizza Milano” that La Vie served us. The pizzas were baked in a wood fired oven. It was really surprising to me that they had a wood fired oven because Khan Market has really tiny restaurants. The way La Vie has managed and organised the little space they have is incredible.
The Pepperoni pizza had plum red tomatoes, mozzarella and basic. I loved how authentic the pizza tasted with freshest of aromatic olive oil. You have got to try the pizzas at La Vie to see how it should really be done. I recently tried the pizzas at Amici and they were absolutely flavourless. La Vie’s pizzas on the other hand were quite flavourful. The pepperoni was delicious, the tomatoes were fresh and the cheese was wonderful. Pizza Milano had parma ham, bacon, bell pepper, spring onions, baby corn, cherry tomatoes and mozzarella. If I had to pick one out of the two I would not be able to make a decision because they were both really well baked pizza pies!
If you are a foodie you know there can be nothing as good as a chunky “Cordon Bleu”. A cordon bleu is meat wrapped around cheese, then breaded and pan-fried. This one was delectable, the ham, the cheese filling and green pepper sauce were cooked so beautifully that we got soft meat, rough ham and creamy cheese all in one bite. The textures went beautifully together to create a Jonah Hill of dishes on the plate in the process (before he lost all the weight obviously).
The restaurant owner Anirudh recommended the beverages to us and they went perfectly with our meal choices. The “La Vie Da” had a beautiful mocktail done with wafer thin slices of lime, oregano and jalapeños. It was a great summery drink with a kick. The “Peppery Mojito” was a cool combination of fresh lime, mint and pepper, another excellent concoction.
We ended our meal with the “Chocolate Truffle” and my favourite dessert…any guesses? Oh, I know you all know I love cheesecake! The desserts are not prepared in-house; a very talented baker in Dwarka does them. The chocolate truffle was really rich but it wasn’t the best. I have had better. The cheesecake wasn’t like the one from Whipped (that I adore) but then again it was much better than the ‘mithai’ cheesecake I had at Olive Bistro recently. The desserts need some work but I have to admire the cooking and say that this restaurant’s food is an expression of extremely good taste. I would go again for a delicious Cordon Bleu!
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