Address: M-71, Greater Kailash 1 (GK1), New Delhi, India
Time: 12 Noon to 12 Midnight
Meals for two: Rs. 2,000
Cuisines: French, Italian
Facilities: Wine and Beer, Wallet Accepted
Chez Jerome, Greater Kailash 1 (GK1), New Delhi: DECOR
This extraordinary eatery, perched on the second floor (no lift), is Chef Jerome Cousin’s stab at running a French restaurant alone – the last time he did it, his two partners and he ran Rara Avis for a few very successful years. Rara Avis was effortlessly elegant and the food was of the bistro variety, so subconsciously I was expecting a similar eatery. That, however, is not the case. The mauve walls, fish tank and chairs give it an appearance that is decidedly at odds with the cuisine they serve. My guess is that Chef Jerome wanted to open a restaurant serving French food but decided to downplay the elegance that some of his customers used to refer to as snobbishness (his words) and so, he made a conscious decision to have linoleum floors and basic furniture. The one saving grace is the French music: the dulcet tones of Piaf and Dalida did much to allay my misgivings. Catapulting to public opinion leads one down a slippery slope.
Chez Jerome, Greater Kailash 1 (GK1), New Delhi: FOOD
I fully expected that the food would be as disappointing as the decor, but fortunately, the duck meat terrine with green peppercorn and brandy (Rs. 350) was pleasant enough. It would have been far better to have served one fat slice of terrine rather than four razor thin slices. Tiger prawn salad with pineapple (Rs. 320) was only notable for the quantity of steamed prawns. The absence of a tangy dressing and the pile of lettuce that did not appear to serve any purpose other than lending bulk may have been due to the inexperience of the cook: Chef Jerome himself was not in the kitchen. Warm morel mushrooms with port reduction (Rs. 480) was the most interesting dish of the evening. Four rounds of bread were grilled on one side until they were faintly crisp. A savory, expertly made sauce was poured over them and morels were sprinkled over the preparation. The final dish: duck confit (Rs. 650) was a slightly unexceptional preparation, which had, to be sure, tender meat, but not very much flavor and no sauce or drippings.
Chez Jerome, Greater Kailash 1 (GK1), New Delhi: PLUS AND MINUS
If the restaurant carries the name of an individual, isn’t it reasonable to hope that he will be present most of the time?