A meal at Le 15 Café should begin with dessert like ours did. The café’s owner and patisserie chef, Pooja Dhingra, makes some of the most stand-out desserts in the country, so this was an easy decision. Our lunch began with Lucie (Rs 225), which looked like a simple tart filled with molten chocolate. It’s only when we broke off the firm, moderately sweet pastry and found a layer of golden salted caramel underneath the chocolate, did we realise that Lucie is truly a thing of beauty.
The café looks like a place designed for such otherworldly beginnings. Sheltered from the din of Colaba Causeway, it was easy to appreciate things like how the sunlight streamed into a particular seating area that we coveted, and note that designer Masaba Gupta’s black, grey and pink furnishing looked more Japanese than Parisian, among other things.
The menu lists 10 dishes in all including three salads and three sandwiches. Dhingra has plans to expand the menu (including breakfast) soon, but every dish we tried was impressive. Chef Pablo Naranjo Agular, who recently moved to India from Paris and has earned his stripes at Michelin-starred restaurants such as Alain Senderens, is the man responsible for all the savoury food you see on the menu. For one, we were glad that there was no silly stuff on the plate — no streaks of sauces that look like the kitchen steward is on leave, or little mounds of microgreens that taste like nothing.
The Veggie Sandwich (Rs 285) stood out because of the piquant onion relish – a brilliant addition to the assembly of iceberg lettuce, eggplant and sour cream. The French bistro theme continued with the Croque Madame (Rs 300), which is what the classic French ham and cheese sandwich Croque Monsieur turns into when a fried egg is placed on top of it. But, while the original version features gooey béchamel and Parmesan, Le 15’s take on the sandwich is big on Mozzarella and cream, and is like a bear hug of textures and flavours– egg-browned-cheese-smoked-ham – and a robust, unpretentious eat that can keep you going for a long time.
Carla, our second dessert (Rs 195), was a light, airy concoction of lemon curd, lavender short crust and just a dash of cream, served in a cutting chai glass. A marzipan bumble bee, which we didn’t have the heart to eat, accompanied Carla. We should have asked for the check, but Dhingra decided that we couldn’t leave without sampling a portion of Amelie. Amelie is a milk cake served with raspberry coulis and milk, and it engendered a rush of nostalgia and childhood memories of cake dipped in milk.
So we arrived at the conclusion that the next time we are around Colaba, we will be getting reacquainted with the six French women and the Colombian.
Where: Shop 18, Lansdowne House Building, MB Marg, Near Regal Cinema, Apollo Bunder, Colaba, Mumbai
Phone: +91 9769341994
Timings: 11 am-11 pm