bpb Review: Chateau, Adhchini

“Castle,” but in the cricketing sense.

At first sight, Chateau seems to descend from that lineage of brunch specialists best exemplified by Olive Bar & Kitchen just further down on MG Road. Its inviting Greek taverna aesthetic (white stucco walls, blue and turquoise accents, mosaic floor), and decorative objects (wrought-iron cages, upside-down planters, a wall of perched birds) lure us in, along with a group of women from the tribe of tall boots, tight jeans and big sunglasses.  

A Frite-ful Find

The location has potential: removed from the main road by a long driveway, Chateau abuts a scraggly but not unattractive grove of trees, visible through its picture windows. But from its French name (because the fries are called frites?) to its unmoored menu, alas, the restaurant lacks a coherent sense of place. 

We settle in, hoping Chateau’s ambitious menu is a sign of creative flair, but a close study of the introduction by founders Smriti and Naman—who are inspired by their trips to Europe—causes stomachs to sink. A little googling reveals they are also behind Hauz Khas Village’s now defunct The Big Burrp Theory, a waffle, burger, American and Mexican joint. Oh, wall. 

A little googling reveals they are also behind Hauz Khas Village’s now defunct The Big Burrp Theory, a waffle, burger, American and Mexican joint.

Langue de Chateau

We soon discover that Chateau belongs to that ubiquitous southern European equivalent of the “Conti khana” genre, Meh-diterranean. Flatbread offers hummus and olives (tinned black), but falls flat thanks to the addition of a lurid mayo spread, and a substitution of anaemic shredded lettuce for parsley. Spanish ham croquettes are updated jalapeño poppers, stuffed with chopped ham and green olives, served with thin yellow dipping sauce that nowhere resembles “mayo and parsley”. They are hot, crunchy, and edible; we find ourselves longing for a beer as an excuse to keep eating them. (Unfortunately, Chateau’s liquor is very much governed by Delhi rules, not Normandy.)

Mains arrive with alarming speed. Seafood paella is basically herbed white rice cooked in chicken stock, studded with a few defrosted shrimp. We must clam down on our tears. 

Pork saltimbocca turns out to be more of a saltim-dhoka, a pun fully warranted by the vibe of this place. Even if the dish were a worthwhile experiment (the Italian specialty is usually made with veal, white wine, prosciutto and sage), the escalopes of meat in the rendition we are served are beaten flat, hardly tender and bathed in sweet barbecue sauce that tastes like it came straight out of a bottle. 

Despite a seductive recommendation for baked ricotta with orange blossom cherry sauce from of one of Chateau’s enthusiastic early-bird reviewers—“Riccotta (desert) m cumin to have u again soon… [sic]”—we have zeera desire for another bite. Our meal ends with a restorative cup of coffee at nearby Rustom’s. Not every castle can be a hom(i).

Getting there: Chateau, 84 Aurobindo Marg, Adchini. Next to Govardhan restaurant. A meal for two is about Rs 2,000 (including tax). 

This story was originally published on Brown Paper Bag.

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