Standing pretty close to the metro station in Rajouri Garden is The California Boulevard, a restaurant that intriguingly serves cuisines from eleven different countries. We are here at their invitation for a tasting session. The ambience is posh American with designer furniture. Hollywood shows its face through the many vintage posters and the legendary Walk of Fame replicated on the floor. A brand new Harley stands elegantly in the centre to create the mood.
As we leaf through their extensive menu, we are joined by Nitin Pal Singh, the executive Chef of the restaurant. I ask him how come the California angle that is so evident in the décor, does not really translate to an American menu. He explains that the idea is to give customers food that they are familiar with. Consequently food from eleven cuisines finds its way on the menu.
Many dishes here delight, while some miss the mark. Let me start with the memorable parts of the meal.
We start with a tangy and crisp paalak patta chaat (Rs 175). The tandoori badami broccoli (Rs 275) is a great tasting indulgent treat. The wild mushroom smoked bacon kulcha (Rs 125) is addictive. It has a wonderful texture, both soft and crisp, and a great smokiness imparted to it from the bacon. The veg pizza TCB served here come right from an authentic Neapolitan wooden oven giving it a glorious crust. The udon seafood noodles (Rs 325) are firm as they should be. The restaurant does full justice to its desserts. TCB kulfi gazzak ferrous (Rs 195) is a master composition from Chef Nitin giving a beautiful butterscotch crunch through gajjak to the kulfi. The classic tiramisu (Rs 195) is a faultless rendition.
Then there are some dishes that can do with some improvement. The gosht nihari (Rs 365) is almost there. All one has to do is to make it less sweet and more falling-off-the-bone. The Lahori fish tikka (Rs 365) has an exciting marinade, but is let down by the choice of sole fish, which easily overcooks in the tandoor. Choice of singhara fish, the traditional fish for all Amritsari fish preparations is likely to work here. Salmon Tikka meets with the same fate. It overcooks in the tandoor making it go bitter. I am not sure it is a good idea to put salmon in the tandoor. Kaffir lime tikka (Rs 325) is good chicken tikka but there is no taste or flavour of kaffir lime. The pork chop (Rs 495) is overdone and dry (despite our request for rare-medium). Also the pork does not taste fresh.
In overall terms the restaurant has promise. It is early days and I am sure Chef Nitin will tweak the dishes to get a uniformly great taste to the dishes on the menu. Given the nice interiors and the ‘different’ cuisine, this can be a good option for the residents of Rajouri Garden and nearby areas.
Ratings (Out of 5):
Food: 3.5 | Ambience: 4.0 | Service: 3.5 | Overall: 3.5
Meal for two: Rs. 2000 | Credit cards: Accepted | Alcohol: Yes