Review: We tried out the one day set menu celebrating France at The Oberoi’s Vetro, Mumbai

The Oberoi group of hotels house luxury 5-star guest rooms and residences and some of the best fine dining options in the cities they’re present, which are spread all over Asia. Restaurant Vetro is the main Italian restaurant at The Oberoi in Mumbai and after visiting there to try out their surprisingly pleasant Italian food festival a few weeks ago, we were intrigued to know they were having a French version of the same, but only for a day. We thought that if the menu were anything like the Italian one; it would be a contemporary take on French cuisine, and right enough we were! From the set menu some dishes were cooked with traditional French ingredients while others were given a French touch. Since our first visit was during lunch time, it was interesting to note how vastly different the lighting of the place changed the entire setting of the restaurant.

Vetro is one of the restaurants, out of the hundreds, that participated in the Goût de France (Good France) project that celebrates French gastronomy. This worldwide celebration of sorts took place on 19th March, which coincidently, was also the first day of Spring. Over 1400 chefs cooked up meals to celebrate the innovative French cuisine. This menu was to commemorate the project and we were lucky to be a part of the big event!

The colorful tainted glass panels against the contrasting white washed walls are the first thing that will greet you as you enter the restaurant that we really liked even the last time we visited here. The place was lit with dimmer lights for dinner which gave it a golden hue and could create for a very romantic atmosphere along with the tea light candles on every table. The glass wine room looked radiant with the glowing bottle of wine stacked up on the shelves against the wall. The wall window overlooking the kitchen gave a clear view of the busy chefs whipping up meals. The staff were kind and every helpful as usual that only reiterated the comfy feel of the restaurant.

Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2014
Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2014
Since it was a French menu, we thought we should do exactly like the French and order us some wine! We’ve talked about their extensive wine collection before and the staff’s good knowledge of different pairings and went with their suggestion this time too! We were poured a smooth New Zealand origin Cloudy Bay’s Sauvignon Blanc to compliment the meal. Cloudy Bay vineyard and the Marlborough region in the country’s South Island, where the vineyards are, have been made famous only because of the Sauvignon Blancs over the years. This dry wine is known for its tropical fruity undertones and this particular 2014 bottle had hints of guava.

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Broccoli cappuccino amuse bouche
Broccoli cappuccino amuse bouche
We started out with some the usual bread variations, and this time we were served tomato flavored bread sticks. The amuse-bouche, which we’re beginning to think is a regular start to every meal at the restaurant, was a broccoli cappuccino that is basically a hot broccoli soup topped with milk foam and served with a small bread roll. The next item of food to come around was a tray of different breads in serving portions, each flavored differently. We went with a classic pecorino cheese filled and an Kalamata olive tapenade rolled bread, though to be honest, we wished we didn’t because the bread then later limited us from trying out other items from their menu, especially their mains.

carpaccio of scallops with tuna tartare
carpaccio of scallops with tuna tartare
Since they had a set menu for the day, we decided we wanted to try everything so for our hors d’oeuvre we got the Carpaccio of Scallops with tuna tartare and the Celeriac fonduta with black truffles. The scallops and tuna were garnished with avocado relish which is like a pasty guacamole and some passion fruit vinaigrette along with salmon roe. The roe gave the dish an interesting saltiness that was amiss in the raw scallop and tuna. The Celeriac fonduta with black truffles was an interesting dish and a first for us with cooked escargot and black truffles in a creamy fondue that surrounded a poached egg topped with some crispy bacon bits. The escargot didn’t seem as bad as we thought it would be and had a texture of soft succulent mushrooms. The fondue acted like a creamy sauce coating every bite.

Chilean sea bass with crayfish
Chilean sea bass with crayfish
For our main course, since we were already feeling a bit stuffed, we only got the Chilean sea bass with crayfish and decided to pass off on herb crusted lamb. The sea bass fillet had a crispy exterior but a soft flaky body and sat on a bed of a punchy citrus-flavored beurre blanc which is blended sauce like concoction made with butter and white wine and vinegar. The crayfish was deep fried and rested three baby potatoes and had garlic cream to go with it. Both components on the plate were strikingly different from each other but yet, could not be eaten separately. It was the perfect blend of sweet and tangy with deep fried savory flavoring.

belgium dark and white chocolate souffle
belgium dark and white chocolate souffle
The lamb chops sounded delicious accompanied with baked onions, eggplant and topped with ricotta and raisin jus, but we didn’t think our stomachs could do it deserved justice so we skipped it along with the gorgonzola, caramelized lavache with pear and pepper relish cheese platter, and went right to dessert because even though we were stretched, we couldn’t miss out on the Belgium dark and white chocolate soufflé. The soufflé was filled with a desert custard sauce known as crème anglaise and was decorated with cranberries, blackberries and raspberries on the side. The desert was fluffy and light as it should be and though filled with Belgium chocolate, wasn’t heavy or rich at all. The tart berries were a great combination to the sweet custard.

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We also ended our meal like the French with a warm cup of Americano, a simple water-over-espresso coffee that was served with a side of biscotti.

If like us, you’re nervous about trying out ingredients like escargot but still want to be a bit daring, the carpaccio of scallops and tuna tartare were good enough for a first timer. The rawness of the meat is taken awake by the garnishing and doesn’t have a bad texture against your palette. The crayfish and sea bass to us was perfection. It had all the right flavors and made for a full bodied meal and even had potential to become a constant favorite.

Dessert was not to be missed, either. The soft, melt-in-your-mouth soufflé was the perfect amount of sweetness you could end your meal with.

We wish we were empty stomached and prepared to be able to enjoy the menu and everything it had to offer. Not being familiar with this side of the French cuisine, we thought our meals went well. It’s an excellent experience for its novelty; but having said that, most of the dishes are an acquired taste. Chef Adriano Baldassarre did create an authentic menu to bring as much of France as he could to Vetro and the experience was satisfying.

On a side note, we thought the restaurant had better charm during the day than at night just because of the sunlight that soaked up the place and gave it a very summery air. The tainted glass panels too looked their best against natural light.

What we ordered:
Carpaccio of Scallops with tuna tartare
Celeriac fonduta with black truffles
Chilean sea bass with crayfish
Belgian dark and white chocolate soufflé
Single shot Americano
Glass of Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc

The day’s special French course menu was Rs. 6500 + taxes for the whole thing.

The Oberoi,
Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Road,
Nariman Point,
Mumbai, 400021
Phone: 022 6632 5757

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