Note: Chef Diya Sethi is no longer with P'tit Bar.
It's the ultimate cliche - a French bistro that makes you think of Papa Hemmingway and Paris in the 1920s, of art and literature and movable feasts. We know this and still we succumb, to the fantasy and tea-light-lit atmosphere at newly revamped P'tit bar, recently taken over by internationally trained chef Diya Sethi. That is until a beaming maître d’ hands us an iPad with a pre-loaded menu and wine list, which allows us to place our order directly with the kitchen. Tres bien! Now we need to make sure our French is up to speed.
The new menu at P’tit Bar is still evolving and is about three weeks away from completely assuming its new avatar, we learn. For now, however, there is a nice selection of sharing platters and rotating specials to supplement the regular, if slightly undersized menu.
Soup de Grâce
The cocktail collection here is diminutive (clearly, they weren't kidding when they named it The P'tit Bar) and after a bit of wrangling we settle on glasses of merlot and minuscule portions of duck paper rolls, made sassy with shredded duck leg confit, cucumber and spring onions in a delicate wrapper, topped off with sweet-sour plum sauce. Twice baked gruyere cheese soufflé doesn't do as spectacularly, creamy but bland, with a side of celery, leek and grape salad that fails to balance texture or flavour.
By the time we’re ordering mains, it has become evident that P'tit Bar isn't kind to vegetarians or for that matter, people with big appetites - fittingly French, a friend points out. They’re also out of chicken the day we visit, so we get prawns in wine and brandy sauce instead, a little chewy for our taste and sitting on a bed of rice, so dull that even the boozy garnish can't wake them up from their slumber. Roasted shanks of lamb, however, make us want to do a happy dance, fragrant with thyme and rosemary, coated in shiny-sticky pinot glaze and - finally! - portioned generously enough for two.
By now we're primed to love P'tit Bar, never mind the skinny start to our meal, hoping that dessert takes the cake, and elegant creme brûlée and seductive dark chocolate mousse that comes in a Victorian bowl do just that. They're both pitch perfect, and even as we write this, the memory of velvety chocolate coating our tongue has us plotting our return. Bon appetit!
Getting there: 57-59A, Moolchand flyover park complex, ring road, Defence Colony, call 24652579 or 46562579, Rs 5100 for a meal for two with one glass of wine each.
bpb conducts reviews anonymously and pays for its own meals.