It felt like being inside a ‘Masterchef’ kitchen headed by their own Gordon Ramsay. However, there were no tantrums; no swearing; no threatening the washer-upper with a knife. With all that stainless steel, the kitchen of the Food Consulate in Velachery, also resembled an operating theatre, and indeed the level of concentration was quite similar to performing a brain surgery. Chef Eric Maurel spoke quietly to each of the chefs, which seemed like respectful telepathy between him and the team, before guiding them out the door and displaying a beautiful array of desserts and freshly-baked goodies at Boganvila, the city’s newest French patisserie and café, promoted by Mohammed Ali of Chennai Food Guide.
The menu at the cozy café with white and brown interiors has been specially curated by chef Maurel who has over two decades of experience working as an executive pastry chef with some of the best F&B brands such as Imperial, Mariott and ITC, across Europe, America, Middle East, Australia and Asia. However, putting the menu together hasn’t been easy. “Factors like availability of ingredients and weather play a big role when it comes to designing such a menu. Lot of desserts are delicate and the humidity might spoil them. However, I’ve tried to bring to the table traditional French desserts that I’m told is a bit difficult to find here,” said chef Maruel.
Chef Eric Maurel
As we were talking, a cheerful young waiter served us a beautiful looking pastry. I’m told he’s a student. That’s what makes the café stand out - it will see culinary students from Food Consulate running the show - from baking to running the counters - to give them an opportunity to interact with customers and make them industry ready. Meanwhile, I cut through the pastry called Graffiti that was decorated with crispy chocolate biscuit, to unveil a pink dacquoise base with dark chocolate and vanilla Bavarian centre with raspberry jelly. It was just divine and the cream was nothing like I had tasted before. “Almost 70 per cent of the ingredients I use are imported. Also, I use only Belgian chocolate and dairy cream,” added chef Maruel. A student added that most places in the city use vegetable cream, which explained the difference in texture.
We also tried a classic opera cake. The pastry had layers of Jaconde biscuit (light almond sponge cake) soaked in coffee syrup, rich coffee butter cream and topped with chocolate glaze. Being a coffee lover, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. A must try I’d say. The chef also insisted that we try an éclair. Crisp on the outside and soft and beautifully textured in the inside, the éclair filled with a cloud of whipped cream, coffee and drizzled with chocolate ganache, was a delectable indulgence, and like the name suggests (éclair translates to flash of lightning), I finished it in no time. While we thought we’d call it a day, we couldn’t help but give in to the seductive sight of freshly baked lemon tart.
Crunchy and sticky, sweet and tangy, the lemon tart was perfect. The café also has a selection of breads such as baguettes, focaccia, fougasse and French couronne, and macaroons and muffins. So, go ahead and indulge in some truly authentic French fare. Bon appétit!
Restaurant: Boganvila Patisserie & Cafe
Address: Food Consulate, No. 6, Radhamohan Street (near Phoenix MarketCity exit), Velachery Bypass Road, Velachery
Phone: 89992 66662, 99626 23999
Must have: Graffiti, opera and lemon tart