Jan 192013

We all love to revisit our childhood every once in a while just for the sake of good old days. A very tough task for me as I kind of sort of you know actually what I mean is I like to believe that while I left childhood behind long ago, my childhood never left me. Get it? Don’t worry it is never going to come in an exam.

So I watch a lot of animation movies with my kids and every once in a while one gets a movie that one loves to watch again and again.   One such movie was Ratatouille which I have watched many times and always wanted to try the dish that the rat made in the movie. As we all know Pondicherry was a French Colony and has retained the flavor even after so many years. A lot of Europeans come there and Restaurants of all hues claim to serve French cuisine in Pondicherry, some going to the extent of claiming that they have French Chefs.

While in Pondicherry some time back we went for dinner to a restaurant called Satsanga which is a Hindi word, but the restaurant claims to serve French and Italian cuisine, though a few of the Indian dishes are also on the menu. It is in the French or White Town of the Pondicherry and very close to the beach road. I was  hoping to try some authentic french food in Pondicherry, after all if  you can not get French food in Pondicherry in India where would you get it?

We reached there in a group of around 30+ people as part of the before marriage get together for the International wedding that we have gone to attend in Pondicherry. I must say that the restaurant has a very nice ambiance and in the dim lights in the evening it is a very romantic kind of place. Our friends from Europe and Australia enjoyed the evening there. I also found the food OK (remember this is guy on food, who loved only his grandmother’s cooking) and the service  slow. But since most of us were busy talking no body seemed to mind the same.

Ratatouille as in the movie

Ratatouille as I was expecting it

While glancing through the menu I spotted Ratatouille on the menu and instantly I got transferred to the fields of southern France where the dish is served in rural homes, full or aroma of chives, garlic and other herbs that are used in homes. While I was not expecting the authentic or exotic Ratatouille like seen in the movie or in this picture taken from Smitten Kitchen website, I was not ready for what I got. I assured myself that Ratatouille is a french dish and we are in Pondicherry so let me order Ratatouille in Pondicherry which was a French colony.

In place of crisp beautiful inviting perfectly cut chunks of zucchini, tomatoes,  and other seasonal vegetables what I got was this puree of stampeded vegetables with only one or two pieces of veggies surviving the onslaught of Gnus used to trample them. It seemed the cook forgot that he was making the dish of dreams of an overgrown boy and allowed it to simmer in the pot for more than needed, Or he just mixed his Ratatouille recipe with  Bhaji that had decided to divorce the Pav.

My appetite died the moment I saw the apology for Ratatouille that was served, but more was in the plate. It seemed not only the chef has decided to dump all the leftover veggies in the dish and boil them enough to be not recognized less their relatives come to ask for compensation for a life wasted, he also had added enough vinegar to the same to give me a hangover. 3 Of us could not finish the same, and I was still hungry , so I ordered some veg fried rice to feed the poor disappointed boy in me. Fortunately they were OK  but hey I wanted my Ratatouille  and not veg fried rice in the first place. But let me assure you dear Remy my enthusiasm for your masterpiece is not over, I will continue my search for that yummy Ratatouille that you served in the movie.

the soggy Ratatouille in Satsanga Restaurant Pondicherry

Ratatouille as served in Satsanga Restaurant Pondicherry

Dear Reader if you had Ratatouille that you liked please inform me, and I will go to that restaurant to try it. In the mean time l want to try the  Smitten kitchen  site Ratatouille recipe (First picture is from their website). Would I recommend Satsanga to you, yes it seemed like a good place with nice view and ambiance, but just don’t order Ratatouille.

Bon Appétit

Other Posts in the Pondicherry Series

1. Random Pictures from Pondicherry 2. International Marriage in Pondicherry 3. Remembering Those taken by Tsunami in Pondicherry

4. Capturing Fishermen Catching Fish in Pondicherry

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  18 Responses to “Ratatouille- Trying French Food in Pondicherry India”

Comments (18)
  1. I read this while eating sandwiches.

  2. Hi Desi Traveler, Ratatouille was one of my favorite movies of all time. I always dreamed that I would one day visit the French countryside and eat the genuine ratatouille dish. It was crushing to read that the dish you got served was not good. Dont stop searching for that perfect ratatouille though, I am sure it exists somewhere.

  3. Wow, the first picture inspires the cook in me.

    The second picture inspires my indian taste buds. May be the chef needs to rename the dish with some Indo french (like indo chinese, name, instead of trying to cash in on that famous name.

  4. What a contrast, the pictures speak and I can imagine the shock you must have got! But still glad that you could at least satiate your hunger in the end.

  5. you can’t really expect to have authentic french food, even in Pondicherry. I preferred the local cuisine (the seafood and stuff) to the “french” food served there. I think that’s true of most places. You can’t go to France and expect a good biryani either! 🙂

    Although I must say, Dxb has got a lot of really good eating options and you can have authentic french, Italian, different kinds of arabic and desi khana here without any issues!

    • Yup you are right, I should have ordered Curd Rice, after all they are named Satsanga 🙂 🙂
      Bye the way I had some great Kebabs from street vendors in Paris. My experience of Dubai is limited to the good food in Emirates Lounge, but most of their staff and chefs claim to be Desi 😉 even when they are not

      • Emirates lounge?!! They don’t have authentic anything there! Get into dxb and you’ll know what I’m talking abt!
        And you’re a weird one aren’t you? You try turkish food in Paris and look for french food in Pondicherry! What gives? 😛

        Turkish food is pretty awesome though. I loved it so much that I refused to try it anywhere in Dxb cos I was sure I’d be disappointed. But I went to a turkish place last week, and though they didn’t have teste kebabs on the menu, their adani kebabs and bulghur was pretty darn good! So I’m happy! 😀

        • When you are coming from US after eating Salad for weeks you love the food in DXB lounge.. Comments like yours make me want to convert back to being a carnivore!

          • Arey! you’re in the U.S? And you go all the way to pondicherry to try french food?! Weirdo! 😛

            • No I live in India, but I have been flying to US very frequently last year for work and the one horse town I went had no veg food except for lettuce with cheese. I No longer fly that frequently to US. Pondicherry we visited to attend a marriage. The series is still not complete as I am one lazy blogger…

  6. WRT to eating food outside one’s home, the expectations on the food that will be served have to be kept aside. Eating food on a tour is no better than taking the STOMACH for a roller coaster ride cum disaster. On the flip side, whats the point of travelling without some sweet and sour experiences :).

  7. we visited Pondicherry in May a couple of years back, and had a hard time finding any place which served ‘french’ cuisine… we had hired a car from chennai, and the driver seemed so surprised when we asked for french cuisine, a surprise which turned to confusion when we told him we were vegetarian! unfortunately, the trip was an unplanned one, and i had no time to do any search, so we had to leg it… finally we spoke to the french owner of a house we walked into, and she told us to try the crepes at the Alliance Cafe. that turned out to be the highlight of our trip!!! we were told of satsanga, but the lady told us it wasnt all that great.. looks like she was right!

    • Hi Anuradha… You are right, our group had few French guests with us, and they were not impressed by the French food. The owner I am told is French but it seems over years the food has been localized to suit the tourists.

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