Last week I was invited to a chef’s table at the recently launched LPQ at Powai. After the BKC and Colaba outlets this is the third LPQ in Mumbai. And while I write this, LPQ has launched another express format in Lower Parel.
The setting is similar to the older LPQs – warm beige walls, bleached wood furniture, large windows that bring in ample sunshine and a community table. The Powai outlet is much larger at 2700 sq ft, and has new additions like a small lounge and a cute little library to keep you engaged while you wait. There’s also a retail corner where you could buy freshly made breads, pastries and desserts.
We started our dinner with the tartines (open sandwiches). Smoked chicken topped with cheese and jalapenos on warm bread was both delightful and yummy. A bit of advice – tackle the tartine as soon as it arrives on the table and while it’s still hot or else the bread gets chewy, as did mine.
We then moved to a salad of Arugula and beans with figs and strawberries. Yes, it does sound like something you could whip up from what you have at home in the fridge, but trust me it’s a dish that warrants a repeat visit. The strawberries and figs add a sweet twist to the basil pesto salad with croutons and shaved parmesan.
Considering it was the first weekend since launch I was surprised to find the place buzzing with people. Apart from families and couples I spotted a few office goers nursing a drink.
After a strawberry sorbet as a palate cleanser, we quickly moved on to the main course which was tandoori marinated salmon with cumin potatoes. The salmon ignited with dry herbs does somersaults on the taste buds, though I would have preferred the humble mash as a side. The cumin infused potatoes reminded me of aloo ki sabzi. When it came to drinks I was recommended the white wine sangria which was refreshing with just a hint of cinnamon.
Corporate Chef Prashant Chembala infuses a sense of whimsy in some dishes, including the lamb stew with ricotta dumplings which comes in hollowed out crusty bread. The robust pieces of meat just melt in the mouth. The stew accompanies a salad of arugula leaves and tomatoes. More, please.
LPQ Powai carries the effortless charm of a countryside café. The wide selection of breads – wheat, rye, five-grain, flute, baguettes, brioche, croissants, muffins, and more are some of the best in Mumbai. And if you can stop at one, congratulations on your self-discipline.
The desserts give some delicious reasons to linger after the main courses have been cleared. The soft centred chocolate cake is first rate. Another star on the menu is the Belgium chocolate brownie with vanilla ice-cream. The process of tearing up the seductively sweat, hot, slightly bitter brownie and scooping up a little of the vanilla ice-cream makes for a perfect ending to an amazing meal.
By Nivedita Jayaram Pawar