-By Marryam H Reshii
FRESH FROM FRANCE
One space waiting to be filled up was a competent bakery, like the ones in France, where elegant little patisseries line the streets. The nearest we have to the French ideal is the brand new l'Opera in apna Khan Market. And guess what? It is owned by a French family, a few members of who are occasionally to be seen in the store.
Paris has a few flamboyant patisseries like Dalloyau and Fauchon that are tourist attractions in their own right, but l'Opera has decided not to go that route. Instead, it is a modest neighbourhood patisserie: low-key, but everything is made with care and fanatic attention to detail. The best things are the macarons. They are not the country cousins of the coconut macaroons that old-fashioned bakeries in Delhi sell, but an altogether different entity. The chief ingredient is almond powder, followed by a flavouring and then a colour. Fine powdery ground almonds are not available in this country because of the dry texture of our almonds. Try as you might, if the almond powder is coarse, it affects the final product. That is where l'Opera wins. Not surprisingly: national prestige is at stake here! The small macaron costs Rs 130 a piece and the large ones Rs 300. But to get similar quality, you'd have to fly out of the country, so Rs 300 is not all that large a sum to pay. Do try the raspberry-flavoured macaron. The slight sourness is just right and the fruity accent lifts the whisper-light morsel to new levels. It is an art getting the sweet-sour balance perfect, and it is an art that the French have mastered. In the individual lemon tarts (Rs 190), the lemon curd is made perfectly, so that neither sweet nor sour overpowers. You can traverse the city looking for lemon tarts with this attribute, but are unlikely to find any. One of the secrets is good butter: corner-shop bakeries usually use cornflour with disastrous results. The other pastries that are a cut above their competitors include financiers (Rs 75) and coffee eclairs (Rs 145). Financiers are the French version of a muffin. They too are made with almond powder, this time for the flavour more than the texture, as well as a flavouring agent, but rather than being crisp like a macaron, a financier is a cake. The ones I spied one evening were flavoured with raspberry, even though the appearance was a dull, rather unprepossessing grey.
In another league altogether are the croissants (Rs 65). I had a plain one with a million little flakes in it, yet without a trace of oil (thatâ€™s the beauty of French butter for you). You will also get almond croissant and the very French pain au chocolat: chocolate rolled up in a croissant.
It's the national snack for after-school hours in France. The downside of l'Opera is that much depends on the arrival of the delivery van: the little shop careens between completely empty shelves to bursting with goods in a matter of seconds: charming if you have the time to wait for freshly baked croissants, warm from the oven, but maddening if you're short of time. The other thing is that patisserie really is their forte: their quiche is hardly in the same stratosphere as the macaron.
Review posted more than 6 month ago
Elegant and opulent interiors of L' Opera really call me every time. The décor is really mesmerizing. They serve delicious and delectable servings. They have macarons, coffee éclairs, financiers and croissants. Everything is delicious and yummy. Servings are really nice and appetizing. I love this place and its ambiance. It is all really beautiful and nice.
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