Restaurant Review | Food

Burgundy beckons: reviewing Chennai's 'Fromage'

Fromage offers cheese lovers a slew of fine delicacies to choose from, without overpowering the diners

Its cheese wheels having been the talk of the town for quite a while now, it would be refreshing to say that there’s more to Fromage than, well, le fromage — but that wouldn’t strictly be true. “More than 85 to 90% of the items in our menu have some aspect of cheese in them, be it a dip or a side or something else,” says Consultant Chef Archit Subramanian.

In contrast, Subramanian also adds, that he and his team make a deliberate attempt to understate the cheese in each dish, so as not to overwhelm the customer. They clearly know exactly what they’re doing on that count: from pasta to steak, each dish stands its own at this MRC Nagar restaurant, without turning into just another part of a themed, homogenised menu.

True to the restaurant’s name, Chef Subramanian’s team revamped their menu about a fortnight ago, adding more French dishes such as quiche and coq au vin. Though the latter, a French classic, deserves plenty of focus, we’ll have to start with the appetisers — like the civilised gluttons we are — in this piece.

If the thought of bacon-wrapped shrimp and chicken and cheese tart gets your mouth watering, you would be setting yourself up for disappointment. The one winner at the starters’ table is the deceptively simple pesto marinated cottage cheese with mesclun leaves. The fromage in this dish is not just cottage cheese, but also parmesan, one of the ingredients of the basil-based Burgundian green sauce called pesto. This marinade gives a beautiful, even flavour to what otherwise looks like a plain block of cottage cheese, so that the gentle rush of taste takes you by surprise with each bite. On the other hand, an oddly runny chicken tart and a measly serving of delicate bacon-wrapped shrimps leave you feeling largely unfulfilled. The latter, especially, is the kind of food you’d want to keep popping into your mouth, but such is the quantity served that it’s over in a blink.

In the main course, the mushroom jalapeno penne is another humble star, if you can still be humble after being tossed around in an Italian parmesan wheel. If you order this, you will probably be invited to watch as they heat the hollowed, bowl-like block of cheese with a torch, stirring cooked and readied pasta in it to ensure that it’s well coated in molten cheese. And yet, the cheese doesn’t dominate as much as the jalapeno, creating a delicious comfort-food effect.

Next up is the beef bourguignon, with a wine-based, vegetable-heavy gravy, and some tender, well-cooked beef served with a slice of baguette: delectable by any definition. Each heady bite and slurp of this casserole is rich with the taste of wine infused with flavours of various vegetables, and has a sweet tinge to it that makes all the difference.

And finally, we have the braised chicken coq au vin. Literally translating to ‘cock in wine’, what you get is a sizeable chicken leg slow-cooked in a rich wine sauce, plunged in gravy and served with a slice of garlic-toasted baguette to mop it all up. Just about enough for one, this strong, slightly acidic dish is a burst of flavours, but might not suit everyone’s taste and pales somewhat in comparison to the bourguignon.

After all that, if you aren’t left with room enough for dessert, you can give that section a miss without regret. Their classic cheesecake looks inviting but tastes as bland as mere curd on a crust, while the oreo pudding is chocolaty enough without being exceptional.

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Printable version | May 26, 2020 12:03:17 AM |

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