Nikhil Agarwal of All Things Nice invited us to try one of his recurring wine-dinners, at Chez Vous this week (more pix here.) I’ve been wanting to check the place out so it worked out well. I’ll let Nowshad Rizwanullah walk you through the food but to be honest I was just pleased as punch about the legit French wines. (Especially the rose bubbly we opened with, yum!) Thank you Nikhil, it really was very very nice :) xoxo
Chez Vous opened its doors in Churchgate last November to much hype, and as with all such build-ups this new French bistro failed to live up to its high expectations. Early reviews swiftly condemned everything from the décor to the food and for a while it looked as though the new tenants of the much-loved former Sundance Café would have trouble justifying their place in Mumbai’s rapidly evolving restaurant scene. When Nikhil Agarwal from All Things Nice invited us to join one of their “Shine Nights” dinners there, we took the chance to check things out for ourselves. From the looks of it, Chef Cedric Combe, and partners Frederic Fernandez and Satyen Melwani have taken the criticisms to heart and worked hard to revitalize their offering. Of particular note, Chez Vous offers a unique wine list featuring handpicked varietals from vineyards close to the owner’s hearts (and home towns). Although limited in selection, the quality of the different wines more than makes up for it, and Frederic is more than happy to share the backstories with you (ask about the Little James). As far as we can tell, the food has also vastly improved.
All meals begin with the chef’s “surprise amuse-bouche,” which in our case was shooter of chilled Veloute (soup) and Pate on Toasted Bread. Both were expertly made and set the mood nicely for a typical French meal. These were followed up by the beautifully plated Roulade de Saumon Fumée (smoked wild salmon roll-up) and the Feuilleté de Fromage de Brebis (Goat Cheese Puff). The smoky salmon played well with the delicate sour cream while the puff was nice and flakey but substantial enough to support the sharp goat cheese.
Our mains included the Filet de Thon Rouge Grillé (grilled red tuna filet) and the Châteaubriant de Filet de Boeuf Rôti (Baked Prime Beef Filet). While the beef was tender and flavorful we were even more impressed by the deliciously rich foie gras and black truffle oil sauce accompanying it, as well as the potato based side dish (which could have used a little less salt but nonetheless hit the spot). Meanwhile, the tuna tasted fresh but again, we were more impressed by the accompanying “sauce” (more like a salsa) of tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and fresh herbs, which added a nice sweet and tangy kick to the fish. A word of caution – while we ordered our meals cooked rare, both came out closer to the medium side. Since this makes a noticeable difference when dealing with good quality ingredients, you may want to re-emphasize your preference while ordering.
Our meal was topped off with the Profiteroles and the Duo de Crèmes Brûlées. Frederic insisted we eat the profiteroles whole (“like a paani puri”) which we cannot argue with – the choux pastry shell filled with cold ice-cream and covered in white and dark chocolate sauces went down easy. The crèmes brûlées meanwhile came in two varieties – cinnamon and saffron –both of which were creamy, subtle and delicious.
WTF is a Meal for Two?
In all honesty, we don’t really know. Not only did we eat from a special prix fixe menu, but the regular menu is meant to change frequently. (If it helps, from what we’ve read, “a meal for two” should cost about Rs. 2000 without alcohol). Also, while we loved the wine, be aware that, as French imports, they are pricier than your local options (Rs. 2500-3500 on average), but well worth the option if you’re in the mood for something different.
While we had a great dinner at Chez Vous (and we hear some of our South Mumbai friends are quickly becoming regular patrons), our meal was obviously prepared for a special occasion. Our experience suggests that the restaurant can turn it on when it needs to – but we’d be curious to hear if you’ve tried it recently and would agree it’s improved significantly. Let us know in the comments below!
Cambatta Building, Next To Eros Cinema
42 M K Road
Churchgate, Mumbai – 400020
Tel: +(91)-7738386339, 9920409099