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Too posh to pig out

india Updated: Jan 21, 2011 15:00 IST
Rochelle Pinto

It’s probably unfashionable to moan about prices in South Mumbai eateries, but when a salad, half a sandwich and a tart cleans your wallet off more than Rs.1,000, a little whining is permitted.

Le Pain Quotidien, the Belgian patisserie that has the posh people in a tizzy, has opened its doors opposite Indigo Deli in Colaba. Decked out like the inside of a Tuscan villa, this two-level eatery is predictably filled with foreigners and Indians with freshly starched accents. A tower of assorted breads lines one wall, and a coffee counter and dessert display make your mouth water on cue as you enter.

FoodThe most interesting feature of the place is a communal table, meant for those hungry patrons who have the budget but not the company to dine here. You don’t feel like a lonely loser when all around you, people are munching on tartines (open-faced Belgian sandwiches) while reading the newspaper or checking their Twitter updates.

The staff is relatively friendly, though the service is impossibly slow. It took over 25 minutes for the waiter to reappear with the order of a prawn salad (Rs.450) and a Parma Ham and Mozzarella Tartine (Rs.350). The tartine came first, delicately decorated with wisps of parma ham and topped with a glob of cheese. Judging by the giddy reactions of the group of Australian ladies sharing elbowroom, the dish pleased both the eyes and the taste buds.

The prawn salad — a great heap of assorted lettuce, tomatoes, green beans, papaya and some robust prawns — was fresh and went down smoothly, also eliciting oohs and ahs from aforementioned Australian bunch. Surprisingly, polishing off all three dishes didn’t make the stomach feel like it’s cast in lead, a welcome change from the usual comatose feeling that follows a heavy meal in an Indian restaurant. Come to think of it, the focus on fresh produce coupled with wholegrain breads and light meat makes Le Pain Quotidien a health junkie’s haven, without compromising on taste. Just take a look at the slim waistlines seated at every table and you’ll know the ‘fresh food, fearful price’ revolution has officially hit Mumbai.

What: Le Pain Quotidien
Where: Dhanraj Mahal, Apollo Bunder, Colaba
Call: 022 66150202
What’s on the menu: Sandwiches, salads, breads, meats, cheeses and dessert
Drinking: No
Smoking: Yes

What we like
You can taste the freshness in the produce
Communal table

What we don’t like
Painfully slow service