From Le Pavillon Ledoyen to Lucknow: Moët Hennessy's Gaurav Bhatia recalls his fondest food memories
A meal to remember can’t be reduced to a price tag. That’s the firm belief of Gaurav Bhatia, Marketing Director, Moët Hennessy India.
Bhatia was in the city in January this year, when he decided to eat there to celebrate simply being in the city. "I am a big fan of good food and this was the most luxurious meal I had to date," he says. "I had a meal prepared by Yannick Alléno, Paris's hottest chef of the moment."
The meal had four courses; each paired with a wine. Bhatia says, "I recall the Razor Clam Flan — tender clams in a buttery sauce accompanied by a toast with a foie gras and sea urchin farce. It was simply sublime. I don't quite remember what the meal cost me, but it was unapologetic haute cuisine."
Ledoyen's majestic atmosphere only enhanced that experience. "Dining in a mansion, built in 1779 — a place that was once visited by Monet, Flaubert and Guy de Maupassant— was like going to heaven," says Bhatia, who lists Sukiyabashi Jiro in Tokyo, Pierre Gagnaire in Paris and Daniel in New York as his other favourite places to eat.
All this is not to suggest that memorable meals have to come with an expensive price tag. For Bhatia, the company is as important as the food. "I have such fond memories of my grandmother's home. She was known as the Rose of Awadh and came from one of the older families of Lucknow. She would throw these soirées that were attended by writers, artists and culture vultures."
His grandmother was also a connoisseur of fine things. "She would always serve champagne in her signature vintage Baccarat coupes. She entertained beautifully with the most delectable Lucknowi table bursting with yakhni pulaos, raan, zarda, shaahi tukdas and paan," says Bhatia.