Sunday, November 20, 2011

Le Pain Quotidien

Yesterday was my second visit to Le Pain Quotidien (LPQ), a bakery-cum-patisserie at Coloba, near the Gateway of India and the Taj Mahal Hotel. It is a French style cafe with a good seating arrangement and leisurely ambiance that kind of reminds you of the various sidewalk cafes in Europe. Only that this is not a sidewalk cafe, it's a proper indoor cafe. As soon as you enter the place, you cannot miss the display of desserts on your left. I think it's a nice ploy by the management to suck you in as soon as enter the place; you don't feel like going out again till you've had something.

I am told the breakfast spread is the best at LPQ and that's the one must-have meal here. But the first time I went there, it was evening and I had purposely timed it in such a way that I could have something substantial. Though on a Sunday evening that it was, having an empty stomach is not easy because Sunday is Dhansakh day and my mum's dhansakh- or anyone's for that matter- can be quite filling and heavy. Dhansakh is a thick brown masala dal, chicken or mutton cooked in it, served with brown rice. The dish is quite heavy, so if you have it even at lunch, you can feel quite full till late evening. But in a good way though.

Even so, I tried to time my visit in such a way that we could make the most. My friend Ayeshea is a foodie, so being in her company, especially at places and times like these, is always a pleasure. We had Ham & Chedder Tartine (Rs425) and Roast Chicken Mozzarell (Rs350) as the main course. Then, we followed it up with assam tea (Rs125) for me and Hot Chocolate (Rs175) and finally rounded it up with desserts (chocolate cheesecake; Rs110). I liked the Ham Tartine more than the chicken one, as the latter was a bit dry, but both the tartines were very tasty. I repeated both these Tartines yesterday too when I was there over lunch with mom. The choco cheese cake was very heavy if had after a meal, so I avoided that yesterday. Instead I had the Apple Crumble (Rs195) which was delicious. The Crumble was of the perfect temperature and texture and it melted as soon as you put your fork in it. Served with ice-cream, it's one of LPQ's best desserts.

Overall, the ambiance is easy going. There is sitting arrangement at an upper level too, but both the times I sat on the ground floor. There are individual tables of two to four, a bar table height sitting for two as well as a long oval table- called the community table- that could sit about 10 people at one shot, but is most often used by several different sets of people, to give it a community feel. The place is infested by foreigners, partly I guess, because of its location as you don't see more foreigners at one place in Mumbai than in or around Coloba and the Gateway of India and also partly I think because of the menu and its ambiance.

Yesterday we bought home 2 croissant breads that we had over breakfast today (Sunday) morning and another dessert, Soft Centred chocolate cake (Rs195). My mom also had their homemade Lemonade (Rs125) which was one of the best lemonades I've had. The only other lemonade that I really like to have is served at the Colah's, an ancient Parsi cafe in Navsari, in the State of Gujarat, that serves it in bottles that also appear to be as age-old as the place itself, with a very unique cap, quite unlike anything you see these days. The bottle, the drink, the place; everything smacks of nostalgia in the days of Pepsi and Coke. I wish I could have more of Colah's. But if you're in Mumbai, I suggest you visit LPQ quickly. A meal for two could come at about Rs1,300 and it's totally worth it.

Picture #1: LPQ's bread display
Picture #2: The community table that is very traditional to LPQ
Pictury courtesy:

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