Rejuvenation. Revival. Restoration. (Trumpets please!) Mumbai’s century old historic Royal Opera house after being closed for a six year renovation is now ( trumpets again!) alive and kicking and singing and cooking. And in all this, playing centre stage is the live music and the gracious venue, actually all four of them (al-fresco restaurant, a cocktail bar, café and jazz bar).
Read my full review on whatshot.in
It’s the cherry on the nostalgia cake. Literally too. Im getting high on the Cherries Jubilee dessert (in the foreground of the photo) invented by the famed Auguste Escoffier for Queen Victoria’s Jubilee celebrations, in 1897. Tasting it here in the 137 year old spectacular Grand hotel, declared a ‘National Heritage Property’ of Srilanka is a treat. Old world Colonial charm infuses the magnificent Tudor building, Victorian fire places, teak wood furniture, shimmering chandeliers and many a traditional recipe is preserved here. High tech comforts and old world luxury fuses together. Tyrone David ensures I get a fascinating taste of the past. From the Scottish cock a leekie soup to the Cherries Jubilee. From taking a cooking class from Executive chef Priyantha Weersinghe to golfing in the 125 year neighbouring beautiful golf course it’s a trip back in time. After all I’m in the cold and sunny “Little England” . That it is perched in Nuwaraeliya, in the mountains of Srilanka is another story.
DESSERT MAKERS & CATERERS (WHO WORK OUT OF HOME)
I am thrilled! As the Times Food Guide 2015 goes to press, am setting up #Whats hot Tasting sessions (to include new talent in the books) Have discovered amazing home baking and catering talent.
HERES HOW I DID IT
Anyone who bakes or caters professionally out of home can take part. For the past 20 years, I have been regularly conducting these sessions (in Mumbai and Chennai) in order to discover and encourage home talent and to include the talented ones in The Times Food Guide.
I invite and encourage new talent to get in touch with me. For this session I was flooded with Instagrams, tweets and mail requests. I invited dessert makers and caterers who came all the way from Colaba, Chembur, and more. We conducted the Session at Andheri’s Boveda.
HERE’S HOW YOU DO IT
Should you want to be included in the Times Food Guide 2015 please email your details (background, specialties, pricing, home delivery, contact details) to firstname.lastname@example.org or instagram or twitter @rashmiudaysingh.
IMPORTANT NOTE Please note that I do NOT have any one coordinating or assisting me so please mail your details directly only to me.
Sorry for the brief one line note on each one of my talented group today. As you can see I am very short of space. Should you be interested do call and check with each one of the dessert makers and caterers for more details.
HOME DESSERT MAKERS
Odd Hour Kitchen’s Shivani has invented a yummy Brookie (brownie cum cookie) which is a must try as are the Yoghurt cake, Nut cookie cup cake
Superb salted caramel Gourmet Chocolates, cheesecakes from Neha Chowdary, a New York trained professional.
Sweet Bliss by Ravisha Sharma This Comerce student’s Nutella cakepops come out tops. Cupcakes, marshmallows, cakes too.
9167155935 (Andheri E)
Cocoa love by harpriya ‘s Blueberry chocoloate mousse and carrot cake worth trying.
9819038623 (Santa Cruz)
Ask for Sweet Escape Nikita bokadia ‘s mango chocolates and flavoured brownies
Lakshmi Nambiars Bakery junction Banoffie cupcakes, sugarfree white chocolate butterfly are a must try.
Tooth Fairy by Rachana shah
The best semi-sweet gooey chocolate brownies in town. Oatmeal cookies, banana-chocolate loaf/muffins worth trying too.
9930044960 (Breach candy)
Cheesecakes republic by Aishwarya Jalan & Shruti Jalan sure takes cheesecakes seriously and serve up seriously good Baked & No bake cheesecakes, tea time cake loaves,
Bakers hut by Manali Modi specializes in designer cakes. Ask for her black pepper and pineapple muffin
Satvita Foods You name it and Mamta can dehydrate it. Great for students going abroad too. The
mix vegetable and pav bhaji actually pack a punch.
9821136696 (Saki Naka)
Sama Ankolkar’s The Hungry Bunny’s Haleem and Biryani, Pepper chops are worth asking for. She also specialises in Italian food ( yum eggplant parmesan and pepper lamb chops )
T’s Kitchen by Tejas
Looking for homestyle Goan fare? Go Goan with Tejas’s Cafreal and succulent beef curry.
99203 16702 (Andheri)
Cherina Gamadia’s Mediteranean magic from her ‘Bhuke Plate’ kitchen offers delicious Labneh Kishk, hummus, pumpkin pasta and more. 9920028472 (Colaba)
Hot Rocks BBQ by Srikar Shetty and Neville Patel
Burger buffs must try Srikar Shetty and Neville Patel’s peanut butter burger, chicken burger too.
Food Biz by Amar Jog has catered for Nita Ambani and Amitabh Bachchan, superb chingdi champ litchis stuffed with cheese mousse and firecracker mozzarella. 98196 95223 (Andheri)
Aditi’s Healthy Bowls crunchy home delivered salad packages (cottage cheese salads, barley salads, leafy salads and more)
91 67 157656 (Andheri)
Tea salon, patisserie, chocolaterie
I confess. I’m a dessertaholic and a chocoholic. So, I conduct three tasting sessions at this new French-inspired Patisserie, Chocolaterie and tea salon. I land up in La Folie, when I go to do a clothes trial (her boutique is next to La Folie) to the dynamic and multi-talented Shaina NC’s boutique. This to walk the ramp (with Vivek Jain) for the mammoth 7000 audience, celebrity studded fund raiser for Cancerpatients for which Shaina made time inspite of her hectic electioneering. I do a marathon hour long tasting with patissieur extraordinaire, Cordon Bleu trained Firoza Moos ( pay bill of Rs 5015). The third tasting feedback is on twitter and instagram.
THE FRENCH CONNECTION
Another confession…I don’t know the French language at all, inspite of spending years in Paris while writing my foodbook. So interpreting “La Folie’s” French words is tough, but Ive had the good fortune to interview and taste all Sanjana Patels French mentor’s (Alain Ducasse et al) creations. Less than two months ago, I not only ate Pierre Herme’s patisserie but also flew down to Delhi to anchor Pierre Herme’s interview for a national magazine’s conclave.
Wedged into Kala Ghoda La Folie is a small, stark space with tables and a dark wood bench running along one wall. It seats 8 to 10. Quite a contrast to the ornate French La Duree with it’s jewel box looks.
There’s a catwalk here too…behind the glassed off counter, gleaming superstar desserts preen and strut… pralines, truffles, macarons, entremets ( that French for textural layered desserts) theres a huge choice of teas and coffee too.
Hero #1 is the“100% Chocolat” dense and moist with a dark chocolate cake base, crispy praline, bitter chocolate mousse capped off with chocolate fondant. Heroine #1
Rouge Velour (big fat, bright red rose) moist, zesty lemony sponge cake with strawberry compote Supporting hero #1 Infinite Caramel seasalt cream with hazelnut praline and milk chocolate. Child star#1 Colorful candy cake layered with Mentos, Éclair Nutties and marshmallow.
Full marks to La Folie’s slim chocolate squares…single origin Venezuelan and Equador chocolate truffles. Macarons (lemon grass and basil, pop rock candy ) delight.
Timing: though they say they open at 11am, at both our tastings, they were not open till 12 noon. A lot of the menu is not available…Black Forrest, tarts, Viennoiserie, cookies, tea time cakes and hot chocolate. Some of the non-chocolatey patisserie, like the raspberry litchi Damask,mango lemon Pabana are too gelatinous for my liking. Some complain about the high price.
La Folie’s Sanjana’s French-grounded creations bridge the classically saucy decadence of the past and the progressive derring-do of a new generation.
She treads the right middle ground between hyper-imaginative artistry and molten chocolate pandering. Ofcourse it is expensive ( Rs 215 to 235 for a pastry, Rs 75 macaron) but worth it. Now, if only the whole menu was available, the opening timing fine tuned, some of the desserts less gelatinous. I fell in love with it gradually, not all at once. The experience had a sweetness all its own.
TWITTER AND INSTAGRAM FEEDBACK
Thanks for your poetic responses to La Folie, space constrains me from printing all “ To call La Folie “superb” is an understatement” (@nehads12) “game changer” (@priyamganeriwal) “Taking desserts to a whole new level” (@brandedbawi)“Every penny is worth being spent…world class ingredients ( @nehathacker07) “Better than Pierre Herme (@ urvashipunwani) I love (@priyashamdasaninichani)“definitely one of the best in the country” (@theglobalfoodie) Thanks @etiennedmarques @mewsaliday @foodiebevdi, Manan Modi for your feedback.
@stuli1989 way too expensive. too rich (@ virajsahah)
Disappointing mango tart (@brandedbawi)
. But those interested please see twitter, instagram @rashmiudaysingh for dessert pics and responses.
La Folie 16 Commerce House, Rope Walk Lane, Next to Trishna. Kala Ghoda, Fort Ph 6772 2181. Daily 11am-11pm.
RATING FOOD 4 SERVICE 3.5 DECOR 3