The bread maker (interview with LPQ founder Allain Coumont)

The frustration of not finding the old-world, quality bread in the city goaded Allain Coumont to turn a baker. In the 1980s in Brussels the government regulated the price of bread. The only way for bakers to make money was to invest in machinery. Dissatisfied with the assembly line variety of bread, Allain bought a bread oven for $40,000. And that’s how the bakery Le Pain Quotidien became an accidental bakery café serving rustic loaves, simple salads and tartines (open-faced sandwiches).

Today, Le Pain Quotidien runs moLPQ 02  re than 150 bakery-cafés throughout the world, in over 19 countries. Last year the Belgian bakery café opened its first outlet in Colaba, Mumbai followed by another outlet in the suburbs at Bandra Kurla Complex.

I broke bread with Coumont at Quotidien’s rustic, long, antique-style communal table in Bandra. Excerpts from the interview

 

From 1990 to now…how has the journey been?

Le Pain Quotidien started in Belgium in 1990 as a small artisan bakery selling three types of bread and a few cakes and sandwiches. The company got off to a shaky start and I had to shut store as I was bankrupt before I had sold my first loaf. But I raised more finances and within the first year added three new locations. The first US Le Pain Quotidien opened in Manhattan in 1997, and we entered London in 2005. It’s been fun. Time has flown by, and it still feels like the adventure is just beginning.Continue reading “The bread maker (interview with LPQ founder Allain Coumont)”

Fashionable luxury

Visited the F Lounge at the One India Bulls Centre, Lower Parel. Unlike the other F lounges, the one in Mumbai is more of a diner than a club. Michelin starred Chef Vineet Bhatia holds fort at the Mumbai counterpart of F Lounge, Diner, Bar. Here he presents Indian food with global finishes; while keeping it fashionable. When it comes to showing off his food, there’s not a more creative costumer than Bhatia. Some fashionable concoctions include Raw mango and prawn puckha, Tava Ravas with Tequila Lime Glaze, tangy Corn chilli seekhs with bloody mary tomato chutney, and the dynamic Patiala chicken with whisky flambé, all endearing and flavorful.

Chef’s personal recommendations include Bourbon Marinated Chicken with carrot and ginger mash, herb crusted lamb chops served with pink pepper n pomegranate glaze & caponata and Gambas cooked spanish style, served with a baguette to name a few. The food is delicious, but its presentation – like a raised stage illuminated with light – is magnificent. 

Cocktails are created by renowned mixologist Shatbi Basu. Bhatia turns out some of the most sophisticated finales in the Mumbai. You’ll never look at sooji halwa the same way after tasting his lovely coffee infused halwa that arrives in a cup that resembles a camera lens. Bhatia calls it Photo Finish! It’s all very fashionable and elegant.

Ambience and Design

Spread across an area of 10,000 square feet over two levels and an outdoor area F Lounge Lumbai is decidedly more subdued feel than its blingy Delhi counterpart. The space has been designed by architect Sameep Padora whose projects include the Palladium outlet of Indigo Deli, and Opa and Le Monde in Juhu. The main attraction at the venue is the immaculately designed staircase lit up from within that seemingly merges into the ceiling creating a stunning impact.

The lower level comprises of a lounge area and a spacious bar done up with style and élan which extends on to an open deck terrace surrounded by water bodies and foliage. The upper level is designed as a dining area with a seating capacity of about 100 people.

A section is cordoned off on both levels, as a private dining/party area. The upper floor also houses an exclusive Dom Perignon lounge. Fashion TV screens are a key element, innovatively adapted across the various areas of the restaurant.

The unique pattern on the ceiling is a deviation on the otherwise straight lines and creates concealed, soft and seductive lighting for a party mood. Most of the space is intentionally left bare to accommodate more people who enjoy lounging and listening to music, and spending good time with friends.

Music Matters

Kris Correya (of Zenzi Bandra fame) is in charge of the music and programming and describes the music at F Lounge as a pleasant mix of jazz, lounge and world music during the afternoon, enabling guests to enjoy their meal amidst light conversation. As the early evening progresses, the music leads to a mix of nu jazz, chic lounge and classics.

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Preview to Suhani Pittie

Jewellery designer Suhani Pittie who is showing at the Lakme Fashion Week had her fittings session today. Got a sneak peak in to her collection.

Titled Dance with Earth the pieces are very tribal, warrior inspired and include hair bands, ‘borlas’, ear buttons, ear ‘kanautis’, necklaces, belts, cuffs, bangles, armbands and anklets.

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Louboutin in town

Iconic French footwear designer Christian Louboutin‘s enchanting red-soled shoes have firmly stamped their signature on the glamorous boulevards and red carpets of the world, evoking endless enthusiasm among women.

The world-famous Parisian brand is now set to charm Mumbai with a flagship boutique in the city. The French designer has chosen Horniman Circle in Mumbai for its 2nd flagship boutique in India. This new store comes close on heels of its foray into India last year, when Christian Louboutin, opened its first boutique at the DLF Emporio, New Delhi.

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More about the store and pictures soon…