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    Heritage boutique hotel, Le Dupleix, has a menu makeover after seven years, with more options for vegetarians

    Nothing much has changed since my visit two years ago. From the carved wooden high ceiling to the iconic mango tree and towering centrepiece, Le Dupleix is pleasantly the same. The 157-year-old property—the mayor’s residence in the 18th century, and just a five-minute walk from the beach, has a few surprises though. Like their menu and outdoor furniture. After almost seven years, owner Dilip Kapur (also owner of Hidesign) decided to add specific guest requests like gosht roganjosh to the menu. This is the result of several meetings and tasting sessions with wife and entrepreneur, Jacqueline Kapur, general manager of the hotel, Danielle Wijlaars, and chef Lokender Kumar. “We have stuck to the basics like seafood and steaks, but we have also brought in some additions. The same menu gets boring after a while and has to be tweaked,” says Kapur.

    Vegetarian diaries
    They decided to drop dishes that were not doing so well and change the menu. ‘‘We wanted to bring in traditional fried nethili and poricha kozhi,” begins Wijlaars, who has been with the group for over two years. Other additions include the brandy-infused chicken skewers with barbeque sauce, bacon-wrapped prawns, baby aubergines the Italian way and cornflakes coated, stuffed bacon mushroom with aioli. Vegetarians will enjoy their homemade fresh fettuccine aglio olio e pepperoncino (fettuccine tossed with garlic, olive oil and chilli flakes). As for the experiments, they have the dosa Suzette and roast chicken with lemon rice. The vegetables for the salad are all organic, from Kapur’s farm and Auroville.

    Chicken to risotto
    Our meal begins with the trio of bruschetta—buffalo mozzarella with a hint of chilli, tomato-basil, and spinach-feta on toasted slices of baguette, followed by a moderately-flavoured French onion soup, which is light on the tongue. Next up is the succulent herb roasted chicken with sun dried tomatoes, rosemary and olive sauce, served with a grilled polenta cake and balsamic glazed onion. As for my vegetarian companion, the creamy, wilted spinach and sundried tomato risotto made him want to revive his experiments in the kitchen.

    Sweet nothing
    Dessert saw us dig into a tiramisu that had bold flavours of cocoa and espresso, but lacked moistness. The lemon sorbet was delicate and refreshing. As for their furniture, Wijlaars tells us that it is now all made of bamboo and imported from Indonesia.

    Lunch for two costs approximately Rs700. Details: 0413 2226999

    — Mrinalini Sundar

     

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