We decided to lunch out and, as we drove down Bashyakarlu Road,my mother pointed to a building and said “Oh look,what a beautiful house.” She didn’t know that was actually our destination. It was a restaurant with a charming old French door prettily framed with white bougainvillea.
As soon as you walk into The French Door, you are greeted warmly and given a small tour as well as give a brief explanation on the restaurant’s food philosophy.
Having studied at the Culinary Institute of America, Chef Shreeya Adka has created a whimsical space. The blue bicycle in front, the white lace curtains, bird cages suspended from the ceiling, ceramic jugs filled with pretty flowers are all reminiscent of a French village.
Miniature easels bear your name, bow ties on the dining chairs and the floral wallpaper matches the uniforms and the linen sourced from Karur. Even the fabric coasters have lace edging.
Though the tables are located on the first floor, the plants in barrels and the small balcony connect you with the outdoors and make you feel like you are seated at ground level. In The menu card designed to match the decor. The French Door offers a small variety of French food among other cuisines. Each time I have sampled the flavours and presentation of the food, it has made me want to go back there. Shreeya also has Indian and Italian food on the menu, as she says it’s not easy to do vegetarian French food and she wants people of all food preferences to be able to eat here. So there is pasta and some of the freshest and most delicious pesto I have eaten.
The one thing that all her dishes had in common were right balance of flavours and proper seasoning. While a small bottle of Tabasco is placed at every table, thankfully no attempt has been made to add Indian spices to the European dishes. The sous vide chicken accompanied by a creamy mashed potato is a fine example of a dish done well. The portions are substantial and leaves one feeling satisfied but not unpleasantly stuffed.
There are enough vegetarian options like Camembert cheese balls, fig and goat cheese salad, ricotta crepes and three cheese soufflé.
Thin shavings of beetroot cut like little flowers are pickled to ensure that their acidity cuts through the rich cheese on the cheese ball platter.
The generous servings of arugula, sourced from Pune and Ooty, are crisp and complement the sweet quenelles of the fig mixture and the tiny chilled rosettes of salty goat cheese. The restaurant also showcases cheeses like grana padano, which taste delicious on the stuffed mushroom.
We sampled the beef medallions, the chicken cordon bleu and the chicken and spinach quiche. They were cooked just right. The lamb mince did have one tiny bone but we were quite willing to overlook that when the rest of the meal was so good.
The desserts are few but highly recommended. The crème brulee arrives with an appetising crust of blow-torched sugar that, when tapped with a spoon, gives way to reveal the creamy custard underneath speckled with vanilla bean. It comes served in what looks like a mini iron box with cold fumes emanating from the slits below.
A dome in tempered dark chocolate filled with a chocolate hazelnut mousse, wafer and chocolate cake is decadent and displays artistry on the plate with its garnish made up of white chocolate shaped like delicate feathers.
Shreeya plans to start sourcing produce locally. She grows some at her father’s farm, but feels the need for more. At 22, she has plenty of time and it is wonderful that she has chosen Coimbatore to start her culinary journey.