When I set out to write about Jardin, I realized that I had been to this place so often that I was actually wondering what I should be writing about – the surprisingly comfortable spot under the shade, the ivory (color that is) sculptures that resemble prehistoric relics, the orchids that hang from the hollows of tree trunks, or the cool air that gets entangled amidst the hedges and perennials. Food, I will talk about, for it is food I live to talk about (and not just eat).

Food has, for me, been a companion, an inspiration; and my experiences with food at Jardin have always been fondly rewarding. Though it took me a couple of initial hitches to learn that it opens for lunch only after the clock strikes noon, they were generous enough to take me in and offer a drink even at eleven, the first time. As for the evenings, suppers start as early as six and the place is abuzz with diners until 10 at night. One more reason for me to stay back late undisturbed – they get you a cab if you ask for one.

The appetizers are brilliant and intriguing. I go for the Buffalo mozzarella salad during lunches. This salad is a bed of greens surrounded by peaks of mozzarella and dressed with a sweet fluid that tastes pomegranately sweet. As for dinner, my preference is the Salmon Rosettes that come with pannacotta and a soy dressing. The dressing smells strong, the rosettes hit the nose and the sweet pannacotta soothes the palate. Another equally interesting appetizer is the Spinach salad. I love it for the sliced apples and the caramelized onions. The sexy cheese shavings give an exotic appeal to the deal, especially under candle light.

5 Ws

Where’s it located?
The place is called Thadodhunga;it’s a small house with a wooden gate.
What to wear?
Casuals or formals – anything goes
Why drop in?
Contemporary cuisine
When to visit?
Afternoon lunches and early dinners
How much to carry?
A lunch for two comes at Rs.3,000, taxes included.

Although the menu boasts a diverse array of main courses, I have a stronger inclination towards poultry, which I grew up eating in different sizes and flavors. For lunch, I go for the sweet-hot orange broth that comes with boneless grilled chicken. The broth is a perfect companion for the basmati rice, and the cuts of the strong chicken heighten the pleasure of eating. The glazed Sticky Chicken brings a gleam of gratification to the face, at least on mine I would have to admit. The cooked slices of orange that sit on one side of the plate and the pair of Chicken drumsticks that lie on the other produce a fresh flavor when brought together with rice. The Supreme of Chicken is one juicy hunk with a crunchy golden skin. The mash that it sits proudly on is creamy while the button mushrooms on the side of the plate have an altogether different story to tell. Don’t refrain from the scalded tomatoes either – they are slices of heaven. If you love Chicken Teriyaki, go for the one served here. It is topped with crispy golden juliennes of onion and potatoes, and the luscious gravy is heart-warming.

For dessert, my only devour is the Chocolate Fondant. It is warm and gooey. The dollop of vanilla ice cream with a streak of coffee liqueur makes for a perfectly balancing wrap-up for any meal.

My Verdict
In many ways, Jardin stands true to its name – a gracious enclosure and a plentiful garden of culinary bounty. Whether you seat yourself underneath prayer flags that flutter in the wind or hide from the sun while you view the plays of light and shadow, a meal at Jardin is undeniably pleasant. The wait staff conduct themselves proper to the situation – lunch or dinner, solo or group. Jardin is the place for those who live to eat. I only wish that gluttony were a crime and I a convict, and that they would sentence me to two full courses at Jardin every day !

Furnishings   Variegated and comfortable
Inside outside   Mildly landscaped garden, warm interiors
Cutlery   The glasses are a beauty and the silverware is Ikea
Service   Leave your butler back home
Restroom   Small and cute
My rating   (and an ever wider grin) It’s not just about food; it’s an experience