Mid-September, Sanjana Patel opens La Folie Lab, a dessert shop that moonlights as workshop studio to pull customers into kitchens, and offer desserts without plates
When we speak to Sanjana Patel, co-founder of La Folie Patisserie at Kala Ghoda and Lower Parel, she’s in Coorg. “Holiday?” we ask.
Sanjana Patel at her central kitchen in Andheri East
“No, I’m looking for vanilla beans.”
There’s a lot on her plate for now, especially since the 30-year-old readies to launch the La Folie Lab at Hill Road, Bandra, in mid-September. Alongside, she will prepare to represent India at the world Pastry Queen Championship scheduled for January 2016.
The Lab isn’t just a third branch of the patisserie. She sees it as a place for innovation and creation of new flavours and recipes. “I want to include customers in this ongoing process,” says Patel.
While the outlet will offer a menu over the counter, she hopes this venue also moonlights as a workshop studio, dessert bar at night and an all-day sit down café for the sweet toothed. “We have an open kitchen, so customers can watch dishes being plated, and even try made-to-order desserts. We are doing breads, breakfast pastries, tartines (open-faced sandwiches), sour dough cultured rye breads and gluten free options,” shares Patel, adding that the éclair spread is a highlight.
“We’re doing the pecan pie, macha green tea, black sesame, caramel popcorn flavours in éclairs. And in macaroons, we have cheetos, black truffle and pizza flavours,” she adds.
If you are a baker, and have met a roadblock on a recipe, you can write to the La Folie team. “We’ll be happy to have you come over and try it with us, or we’ll answer your queries over email,” says Patel.
Her desserts, priced between R130 and R650, sit in a menu whose first half is dedicated to Patel’s childhood memories, and includes an ice-cream dessert called Mr Rustamjee. “It’s ice-cream between macaroon wafers. The flavour, I plan to change regularly.” And will we see more of her? “I’ll be doing graveyard shifts prepping for morning service,” says Patel, who earned a sponsorship to train with chefs in Singapore and Malaysia after she won the title of Indian Pastry Queen in July. “So far, I have worked with a French pastry chef, learned how to make a mooncake (almond cake made during autumn-winter Chinese festival) and bettered my tarts. My guides criticise my work in detail. It is some learning!”
By Diwali, Patel will also introduce an experiential concept at the venue where desserts will be plated on tables, sans plates. “But time is a factor here. If you want to really soak in the mood, come with a few hours to kill.”