Restaurant Review: A visit to Pooja Dhingra's new eatery in South Mumbai
Pooja Dhingra's new Colaba cafe, is the Cordon Bleu-trained pastry chef's foray into the non-bakery space. Will it live up to her fame?
Le 15 cafe
Croque Madame. Pics/ Onkar Devlekar
Some places manage to uplift the mood in a flash. When we spotted the large bay window, with the Le 15 Café stamp on it, nestled in a vintage structure that houses Abode Hotel, we fell for the invite instantly. After taking a short flight of stairs, we entered a café whose setting seemed straight out of an Alice in Wonderland-inspired tea party.
To our right, a counter full of Le 15 patisserie trademark, brightly coloured macarons and cupcakes greeted us. The staff, wearing light pink uniforms, fit in perfectly with picture perfect flower arrangements on black tables.
The comfy sofas and chairs with upholstery designed by Masaba Gupta (read pop coloured cushions and black and white tie and dye fabric on the chairs) made for a perfect setting for our relaxed brekkie time. Mosaic, blue pottery tiles lined the walls beside the windows, which bring in cheery sunshine. The small bursts of pink and the black sofas make the interiors, designed by The Bus Ride Design Studio, different from the all-white interiors, a common trend in city’s cafes.
The interiors of Le 15 Cafe
The menu curated by Colombian chef Pablo Naranjo Agular (who heads the kitchen), focuses on French all-day food options with salads, sandwiches, waffles and hot and cold beverages. Just one table was occupied when we visited and there was barely any sound from the street outside, much needed for a relaxed morning cuppa. We began with the delicately flavoured Cleopatra’s Champagne Tea (Rs 145). The long leaves came in a muslin bag with the Le 15 tag on it. Next came the French brekkie favourite, the Croque Madame (Rs 300). The baked ham-and-cheese sandwich, traditionally made with (slightly sweet) brioche-like bread pieces topped with a sunny side up, was delicious. The Teriyaki Pulled Pork (Rs 425) served on a savoury waffle, that followed made us smile wider.
The well-cooked, tender pieces of sweet and salted pork complimented the fresh, crisp waffles. Of the veggie options, we picked the Fraiche salad (Rs 250), which came with flushed red beetroot, fresh rocket leaves, poached apples, sour cream and nuts. This was certainly the kind of ‘healthy’ we like. The Veggie Sandwich (Rs 285) that came with pickled cucumber, tomato and soft cheese had a tangy twist.
Resisting the signature desserts, we chose Carla (Rs 195) — a mix of lemon curd, fresh cream and cookie crumble served in a cutting chai glass with a cute sugared bee perched on top. Though not wowed by it, we did enjoy the dessert.
Like the popular saying goes, ‘Breakfast like a king…’ we were done with ours and also found a perfect spot that we could use to silently work at, meet people or simply indulge in when we felt like long lazy brunches. However, we wish they opened earlier for breakfast.
Le 15 Cafe didn’t know we were there. the guide reviews anonymously and pays for its meals
Time: 11 am to 10 pm.
At: Shop 18, Lansdowne House Building, MB Marg, near Regal Cinema, Apollo Bunder, Colaba.
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