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An Authentic French Restaurant Among Snowclad Mountains And Apple Orchards In Old Manali

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Credit: La Plage

Photo of An Authentic French Restaurant Among Snowclad Mountains And Apple Orchards In Old Manali by Varun Suchday

The sun is soaring and the summer is at its peak. So, it is time to escape the heat and head to the Himalayas. Manali makes for an ideal Himalayan getaway whether for a weekend or a longer vacation. Rohtang Pass, Bhrigu Lake, Hidimba Temple and Solang Valley will rejuvenate you for the rest of the summer. And then there is the other side of Manali, across the bridge (literally), that is an ode to Manali of yesteryears.

Old Manali walks at a different pace of life. Laid-back, nonchalant and modest, it invites those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and take it easy. And it is here in Old Manali that a seasonal culinary sanctuary blooms.

La Plage is the quintessential Himachali experience with a French twist. Surrounded by apple orchards and verdant mountains, La Plage feels more like a Himalayan retreat than just a restaurant. You will fall for the restaurant at first sight. Whitewashed walls, brown gable roof, black and white wooden benches on manicured grass and snow-capped peaks providing the backdrop.

Credit: La Plage

Photo of La Plage Manali, Kullu, Himachal Pradesh, India by Varun Suchday

The chequered floor complements white wooden chairs and rustic brown couches. Low hanging lights add a touch of romance to the place. Large wooden windows ensure ample sunlight imparting a bright and energetic feel. Sophisticated décor and wooden furniture give it the feel of a French country house in the Alps. And that's even before they serve French delicacies.

La Plage in Old Manali is a restaurant chain also located in France, Goa and Nasik. Open only in the summers, it specialises in authentic French cuisine but serves Indian and international dishes as well. I took a seat on the outside porch to enjoy panoramic views and the stunning sunset over the Himalayas. The jovial chef walked me through the menu explaining the house specialities in detail.

12-Hour Braised Mutton

Photo of An Authentic French Restaurant Among Snowclad Mountains And Apple Orchards In Old Manali by Varun Suchday

I ordered onion soup and mushroom quiche to begin with. The soup was rich in flavours and paired perfectly with the cool evening breeze. The mushroom quiche simply melted in my mouth with the mushrooms baked just right so that they retained their earthy flavours. It was tough to pick from authentic French delicacies like butter trout fish, 12-hour braised mutton, gourmet burgers and Sicilian lasagne. I settled for butter trout fish. As I waited for it to arrive, I noticed how the apple trees outside seemed surreal when lit.

Butter Trout Fish

Photo of An Authentic French Restaurant Among Snowclad Mountains And Apple Orchards In Old Manali by Varun Suchday

The butter trout fish was a treat to the eyes. And the aroma was irresistible, transporting me to the streets of Paris. After the first bite I felt my taste buds indulging in delicate flavours of garlic, oregano and basil. Perfectly cooked, the trout was soft and full of flavours. I was in le paradis of flavours. I ordered a Bordeaux from La Plage's Indian and international wine selection and it perfectly complemented the trout.

And as if this wasn't enough, there was still room for dessert. Just as I ordered chocolate thali, I heard live music. The chef told me about the music scene. "Wednesdays are acoustic nights. Weekends are music events playing all genres of music with a special focus on club and popular music. And this summer is going to be special because we will broadcast the FIFA World Cup. The staff is super excited."

Photo of An Authentic French Restaurant Among Snowclad Mountains And Apple Orchards In Old Manali by Varun Suchday

I couldn't hide my excitement as the assortment of chocolate desserts graced my table. A playful presentation of dark temptations, it was an excellent melange of exotic chocolates. Having eaten to my heart's content, it was time to enjoy the music with the Bordeaux. Looking at the stars, I knew I made the right decision of coming to Manali, especially to La Plage for the weekend.

Far from the hustle and bustle of Mall Road and the crowds of Manali, La Plage provides a one-of-a-kind experience that will re-energise and rejuvenate you. Stunning vistas, apple orchards, birds chirping, the nonchalant Beas River and its chic décor impart a tranquil and peaceful feel to the place. And the food transports you to the boulevards of Paris, Lyon and Bordeaux.

Cost

₹1,000 for two.

When to go

La Plage is open from May to August.

Getting there

By air: Bhuntar(50km) is the nearest airport to Manali with direct connections to Delhi and Chandigarh.

By road: There are regular state-run and private buses from Leh, Shimla, Kullu, Dharamshala and New Delhi to Manali.

By train: Joginder Nagar (166km) is the nearest railway station with train connections from Chandigarh and Ambala.

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In association with La Plage.

La Plage Contact Information

email: laplagemanali@gmail.com

Phone: 9805340977

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