I have been told about the new Cafe Noir till I got that frozen dessert, I'm-sick-to-death-of-hearing-about-it look on my face.With one thing or the other the visit has never really happened. Always meant to. Sometime.
However this afternoon, my friend Archana who had waxed eloquent about the place , shifted our lunch date to Cafe Noir as it was an easier traffic stretch for us than Caperberry.
Up the escalators I went and then wandered through to the Piazza looking for it. After much twirling I realized it was the first restaurant on your right once you got out of the escalators. Yes, I am the kind of person who needs a Google map to get from my office to downstairs.
Its pale gray and black decor, classy wrought iron chairs , tres chic French simplicity - adds up nicely. Love the board and logo , and the menu card. Someone has spent time on design.
A pleasant waiter came to take our order. He looked kind and patient. All my waiters must be both , and if they are long suffering as well , so much the better . Yep , I tend to ask a l-o-t of questions. The types that send a few scurrying off to the kitchen and possibly the the Chef saying " I want my Mummmeee".
Seeing the ' I want to know all' love light glint in my eye, in response to the large menu, , my friend quickly urged , 'Have the margarita. It was fabulous the last time I was here'.
' Okay , the Kiwi one it is,' I said ( Rs 85) while she tried the Green Apple Fizz Froz.( all their drinks are non alcoholic , naturellement). Both drinks came in looking aggressively green but were utterly palatable. Cool and sharp . Particularly well chosen because the April sun also chose to get aggressively bright at this time.
All around me I could see primarily foreigners which was surprising . Maybe the whole casual mid week bistro feel to it was attractive.
We lingered on the ( physically Large) Menu with choices of sandwiches - baguettes, panini and club sandwiches . The menu had an excellent choice of salads and snacky food and a great choice of frappes and coolers. We skipped the soups, and decided to share the Parisian salad (Rs 145) . An attractively presented salad with crisp lettuce, cucumber , tomatoes , spiked with sliced black olives, boiled eqq quarters, a curled slice of ham ,and topped with grated Cheddar, it came with its own separate bowl of olive dressing and a portion of crusty bread. Excellent flavour, nicely melded together and dominated by a dark olive top note . Yummy start . The leaves could have been crisper - but I must grant that it was a hot summer day !
We both decided on a club sandwich one with Atlantic Salmon (the Orsay) and one with ham (Moulin Rouge). Both were Rs 180. It was served with a small portion of green salad and crisp, fresh french fries. Thoughtfully, the tomato ketchup sachets that accompanied the servings had their corners neatly cut so you could pour out the sauce without getting into an argument between your teeth and the plastic sachet. Small touch but nice.
I would rate the club sandwich as average. Fresh ingredients , but too dry .The bread was grilled and then became hard and hurt my palate when I bit into it. The corners were not buttered or mayonnaise-d enough, so the only fun eating bit was the middle. But altogether good , I would say . However, I would try the panini, quiche or baguette the next time for sure .
'Dessert?' queried the attentive waiter, after looking sympathetically at our stuffed faces .We sighed deeply , and knowing that we should not pass up the heaven sent opportunity to try out the famed dessert menu, heaved ourselves out of our chairs and ambled towards the dessert counter.
Big mistake. There are over twenty varieties , beautifully presented desserts - exotic, delicious and undoubtedly calorific- spread out like a calorie-counters private vision of hell. I even took a picture on my mobile to remind me in my bread and water days. The nice lady at the dessert counter also looked sympathetic. My feeling is that she has seen such furtive and anxious faces many a time before but like a liquor peddler dispensing killer hooch, she still has a job to do . .After whispering sweet nothings to several delectable choices (some of whom actually coo-ed back ) , we decided that we would split one , and proceeded to book one that seemed innocuous enough - Choco Exotique (Rs 125).
It looked like a blob of cocoa dusted brown mud on a white, circular, crusty cake base . And so it was , but the hidden sweet stewed mango and pineapple chunks inside this concoction, coupled with the smooth chocolate mousse and the soft crunch of the cake base was incredible. Very very nice.
The bill was about 950 for the two of us ( incl of VAT and SC of 14%). A good meal all in all, nice ambiance , with the beautiful UB City Piazza, decor, informed and courteous service. Nice global feel to the place . Great place for a casual, light lunch or a early evening coffee & brownie with a buddy .
I think I will definitely be back . But someone promise to keep me away from that hellish dessert display counter .