luh paN koh-ti-dyaN
This beautiful bakery café offers artisanal breads to the bread connoisseurs of the city. The name literally means “the daily bread”. Le Pain Quotidien opened their second outlet in Mumbai recently and I got a chance to sample some of their delectable food.
As soon as I stepped into the café, I was welcomed with the sight and smell of freshly baked loaves of bread. It is quite magnificent! The café has a very open feel to it, with floor to ceiling glass panels. This allows natural light to fill up the space by day. By night, the soft ambient light sets the mood for a very relaxed evening.
They have taken a lot of care to highlight their origin. You see, Le Pain Quotidien was started by Chef Alain Coumont in Brussels, Belgium in 1990. His search for the best bread forced him to start his own venture and churn out the kind of bread he remembered from his childhood. This place does look like a place that a baker would open. The bread is the core.
Talking about the food; two things I’ll have to mention – portion and ingredients. They have a very hearty portion of all their dishes. The ingredients are respected. What do I mean when I say ‘ingredients are respected’? Well, they are not over-powered by dressing or spices. You can actually taste each of the ingredients.
As I went there for dinner, I wanted to sample their dinner menu. It is quite vast and will satisfy every persons needs.
Red Wine Sangria (red wine, cranberry and fresh fruit) – Rs. 350*
Beautiful and fresh flavor. Although they haven’t mentioned it on the menu, there was a cinnamon note to the drink. I later found out that they add cinnamon sticks while making it. Try this drink with your food.
White Wine Sangria (white wine and green apple) – Rs. 350*
The green apple adds a crisp freshness to this drink. It also has cardamom in it. So, try this with your dessert. It tasted delicious!
Roasted Beetroot & Mandarin Orange Salad (with chévre cheese, arugula and balsamic dressing) – Rs. 295*
The beetroot was roasted to perfection; mandarin orange added that fruity sweetness, cheese the richness and arugula added the freshness. Balsamic vinegar dressing just tied it all together to make it one of the best salads I’ve eaten in a long time.
Roasted Mediterranean Vegetable Salad (with sun-dried tomatoes, olives, arugula and basil pesto) – Rs. 325*
If you like roasted vegetables then you will love this salad. The zucchini was roasted perfectly, leaving a just little bite to it.
Grilled Chicken Cobb Salad (with bacon, Danish blue cheese, egg and green tea dressing) – Rs. 350*
Green tea dressing is quite interesting. Like in most salads, I thought the grilled chicken might be really dry. But to my surprise, the chicken was very juicy.
Tartines: (Belgian open-faced sandwich)
Grilled Asparagus (with ricotta, shaved Parmesan and tomatoes) – Rs. 375*
Rich and cheesy, the asparagus added a lovely crunchy freshness. The bread could be a little less toasted.
Roasted Chicken & Smoked Mozzarella with Granny Smith apple (tomatoes and basil pesto) – Rs. 375*
The combination of textures in this tartine was mind blowing! The juicy chicken with the soft cheese and crisp apples was a match made in heaven. Definitely a must try.
Slow Roasted Lamb Stew (with ricotta cheese dumplings and roasted carrots) – Rs. 475*
This is the kind of food I would love to have on a rainy day. The meat is so tender and flavourful. Ricotta dumplings add a creamy texture. The stew is hearty and warm. Get a loaf of bread and mop up the whole dish.
Braised Pork (with creamed bok choy, bacon and green apple fondue) – Rs. 475*
It was my first time trying pork belly. And I must tell you, this is divine! The meat is cooked perfectly. It crispy outside and just melts in your mouth. The green apple fondue proves that apple and pork is a great pairing.
Laksa Chicken (with whole wheat tagliatelle pasta, basil and boiled egg) – Rs. 425*
First flavor to hit you when you taste this is lemon grass. The pasta is freshly made and is full of flavor. It’s amazing how they combined a Malaysian Laksa flavor in a pasta dish. Very smart indeed!
Grilled Chilli Garlic Prawns (roasted potatoes, bok choy, leeks and asparagus) – Rs. 550*
I was a little disappointed in this dish. There is a great mix of flavours in the sauce and the vegetable. But, the prawns lacked flavour. Maybe if they dipped the prawn in the sauce, it would’ve been nice. On the bright side, the prawns were cooked perfectly.
Apple Crumble with Vanilla Ice Cream – Rs. 195
This dessert was heavenly! Why?
1. The crust – flaky and buttery
2. The apples and raisins filling
3. The buttery crumble on top
Also, the white wine sangria goes very well with this.
Although I liked my dessert, I’ve heard the Soft-Centered Chocolate Cake is brilliant. I will surely try their Belgian chocolate desserts next time.
I would conclude by saying that this restaurant has put in a lot of thought in designing their menu. Each dish is unique. The ingredients they use are as fresh as they can get. They respect each ingredient and that’s a quality every chef should possess.
Also, here’s an announcement. They have started with a bar menu. So, if you work around BKC and are looking for a place to grab a few drinks with your buddies, this is the place to go. Families can even enjoy their brunch menu on weekends.Address: Le Pain Quotidien G2, 3, North Avenue, Maker Maxity, Bandra Kurla Complex, Mumbai *Rates are exclusive of all taxes