Located in Upper Coonoor, La Belle Vie housed in the 115 year old colonial hotel, 180° McIver, is a multi-cuisine restaurant that specializes in French cuisine. It was the board announcing its status as a “French Restaurant” that called my attention as our car made its way up towards Kotagiri Road.
We went back the next day for lunch after a wonderful morning spent exploring the tea estates of Coonoor and making plans to come back for a do-nothing vacation in a tea estate. Exhausted and hungry after all the traipsing around in the mountains, we walked in looking for a hearty meal in a warm and cozy ambiance. We got a table in their lovely garden overlooking the valley and the main city and planted ourselves, a little away from the shade of the trees to soak in the winter sun.
The menu, a mix of Indian and “Continental” cuisine baffled me at first, for I had come seeking French cuisine. But I soon spotted the French section and we quickly ordered some French Onion Soup, followed by chicken for main course. The soup came immediately and was perfect with slow-cooked caramelized onions and served gratinéed with croutons and cheese on top. 🙂
I ordered Chicken Forestière cooked in a divine creamy sauce. I don’t know if it was authentic, even though the restaurant is apparently run by a French couple (who we didn’t see so I can’t vouch for this fact), but it was one of the best dishes I’ve had in long time.
My friend had Chicken and Shallots in Balsamic Sauce – a lighter meal than mine, but just as appealing to our palates.
Though stuffed (the quantities are generous), we were tempted to have some dessert just to linger in the garden and soak up the beautiful views. We had to be sensible however and skip the rather interestingly spelt desserts! Maybe next time? 🙂
My rating: 4.5 out of 5 (the service was a little slow, though we were probably impatient because of our ravenous state!) Location: 180°McIver, Orange Grove Road, Coonoor