It’s the New Year! Yes, I know we’re well into the year, and this is just my first post! Believe me, the intentions were there, even the inclination, but too many things were happening at the same time. Anyway, I’m back – with the proverbial bang (more on that later).
So, the end of last year was quite a foodie one. I skipped quite a few events (some were just so tempting, but I was out of town). I did, however, attend a beautiful pre-Christmas dinner at Le Pain Quotidien. Now, you know about LPQ. If you are not from Mumbai and haven’t been there, you should have read it here! One of the main attractions at LPQ for me is the décor. Warm wooden hues, huge windows and plenty of natural light mark this space in every location around the city! This, notwithstanding the outstanding food – simple flavours, fresh ingredients, and delicious, of course!
So, we celebrated Christmas in style last year at LPQ. The meal was had to celebrate the launch of the restaurant at Powai! (so much closer to my place!). So off went Ishaaq and I to have a nice meal amongst some great company! And what a meal it was! The famed community table was decorated with Christmas lights and decorations. And we each had a copy of the special menu was curated for the evening. A starter, a main and an assortment of desserts – each category had its own star.
We started the meal by breaking some warm bread. Then came the starters – which were an assortment of tartines that we had to choose from. We ordered the Smoked Chicken with Cheddar Cheese and Jalapeno Tartine and the Smoked Spinach and Corn with Jalapeno and Caramelised Onions. Both the dishes were really good, although my personal favourite (with the soft spot for smoked meat) was the chicken.
This was followed by a fresh Arugula and Bean Salad with Balsamic Figs and Strawberry. The salad had the right amount of bitterness balanced by the sweetness of the figs and the macerated strawberries. I only wish my serving had had a few more of these fruits.
With the salad happily devoured, we were served the Strawberry Sorbet – a lovely palate cleanser – before the next course. The sorbet was served ‘Heston Blumenthal’ style in a bowl resting on a dish of dry ice that set off some very intriguing fumes. The sorbet itself was refreshing and perfectly sorbeted (if that be a term) and lent itself beautifully to the palate.
We finally came to the main course. Ishaaq called for the Slow Roasted Lamb Stew with Ricotta Cheese Dumpling and Roasted Carrots. I called for the Slow Cooked Leg of Chicken with a White Bean Cassoulet. The lamb stew was outstanding. Served in a lovely bread ‘pot’, it was warm, flavourful and really delicious. The entire table went gaga.
The slow cooked leg of chicken was another story altogether. While the process of slow cooking a chicken was quite a novelty for me (and tasting it too) and the texture of the meat was pillowy, the dish overall was rather tasteless – less salt, not much flavour and altogether not very impressive.
We also tasted the Chicken Scallopini with Buttered Spaghetti and Lemon Sauce. The dish was lovely – perfectly al dente spaghetti and a light, creamy sauce hit the right spots! The Grilled Basa with Indian spices too was quite nice – the fish was cooked right and beautifully crispy. However, instead of couscous, it came with mashed potatoes that sort of tasted like potato bhaji (an Indian side dish of spiced potatoes) – quite a put off!
Finally, the dessert platter was served. We were all looking down on an assortment – brownie with hot chocolate sauce, icecream on a chocolate chip cookie, a piece of Christmas cake and a lemon tart with blueberries. The cake was a bit too dry and unpalatable and the tart with blueberries was nothing to rave about. However, I did gorge on the brownie, which stood out with its fudginess and warmth, as did the icecream and cookie.
Overall, the meal was very delightful. Having been to LPQ at least three times, their quality never fails. And, I can’t wait to visit it soon again. On my list are the lamb stew, smoked chicken tartine and the Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli with Thyme Butter that I’d had during a previous visit!
Do visit the Powai restaurant and let me know how you liked the food. I leave you with this beautiful image of a cosy reading corner in the restaurant.
Photo: Le Pain Quotidien
PS. LPQ also opened a kiosk for the occupants of the Indiabulls Finance Centre in Elphinstone. Its a takeaway point for all those on the go! Check it out sometime.