21 October, 2008

Restaurants : Le Cafe a True Jewel of Chembur

This is exactly how I would want a café to look like, was my first impression as I walked into. The place: Le Café – Hotel Jewel of Chembur.

The place was bright with huge open windows, tables are large yet cozy. The décor was minimal yet comfortable. There is lots of space to move and huge comfortable chairs, wooden yet comfortable. Sofas lined one wall and the covers totaled around 36 give or take a few. Each table has its own space around it such that one doesn’t actually peep or lean onto the adjoining table giving you a sense of privacy that is extremely desirable. At one corner as you enter, on your right is the coffee counter. It is manned by just three serving staff. The floor tiling is simple and functional. The thing that grabbed my attention was the clean lines of the place. Walls are white and bare, save a few frames and a LCD screen. Above the counter is a blackboard announcing today’s specialty. My engineers mind grasped the tremendous thought put behind executing such details.

The look of the place soothed me. Told myself now even if the food is not up to the mark somebody has got the look right. I was in for further surprises. I was looking around and though the afternoon rush was slow, the boys behind the counter had smiled a welcome. Tally one for service staff. So many times have been faced with grumpy waiters that its now a given for the Restaurants of Chembur. I have stopped expecting. I was allowed my time to settle in and when I got comfortable one of the boys discreetly approached with the menu and enquired would I like something to drink as I went thru the menu. Today’s special is the crushed Mint Mojito. Suggestive selling in a Chembur Restaurant? I could not believe my ears.

The Menu further rocked me back. Someone up there had finally listened to me. It is a super mix of Breakfast –from omelet’s to sausages and stripy bacon sandwiches in fresh baked breads. The menu was all continental and the range it offered from Breakfast, Sandwiches and Burgers in fresh baked bread (they bake their own breads), Salads Soups and Main courses. Equal attention is given to Veg and Non-Veg in spread and variety. I ordered a French Onion Soup, Roast Lamb in Roast Sauce and kept the rest for later. The serving time is approximately 15 minutes and while I sipped my Mojito, the soup came and accompanied by bread sticks and butter. It is at the right eating temperature and thoroughly enjoyed it. I now looked forward to my main course. The portion size is generous and enough for one person who is hungry. It came with garlic bread. Yummy is the first reaction and then I leisurely settled down to eating it. No one bothered me as I chewed on. Once done very quietly my table was cleared. Again I was asked whether I had room for dessert or can I offer you coffee?

The desserts are attractively laid out and vary daily from mousses, to cakes and brownies and tiramisu. They also have a concept called - cutting desserts – small portions
for the connoisseurs who have gone through the full courses. I chose to have the coffee and decided that here is a place I would be visiting more if it lasts the course. The coffee is simply much superior to the one offered by the Baristas and the CCD’s and is accompanied by a cookie – Chocolate or Butter. Pricing is moderate and for my meal i billed around Rs.275/- which is excellent. I prayed that this place has to survive, even if I have to eat here everyday. I wasn’t too sure of Chembur and its taste for the pau-bhaji and the Udipi Punjabi who have zillions of items all tasting the same in one menu. Le Café is open from 7.00 am morn to 1.00 am night.

Its three years now and the place has picked up, slowly and surely. I have been thru every item on the menu and yet go back for more. I am a fussy foodie and do not frequent a joint more than once, even if something is out of whack from my expectations. Discerning people truly appreciate superb food in clean environs accompanied by discreet service. This place offers all three. The drawback is that this place is located on the first floor of the Hotel and not easily visible from the road. The view from the windows is a busy market road. My favorite table is a corner near the wall where I enjoy the light from the windows yet not have to see thru them. Today the menu is revamped and includes wine too. The new menu is yet to be sampled in its entirety but that’s what shall keep me there.

It’s a non-smoking place now but then so is the rest of India. Give the butt a rest and for good food go to Le Café.


Nilesh said...

Stop there! You are churning stuff faster than I can read! But looks like you have a place in mind when ever i come to chembur! :)

Kau Kau goes the Crow said...

Hi Nilesh,

This place is good else it wouldnt have found a place here on my blog.

;-) nahi na i cant stop..control hi nahi honda..keyboard saamney aatey hi ungaliya khud ba khud chalney lagti hai..

shazia said...

NOW i am very hungry.... i have already finished dinner but man... my mouth is flooded :-)

Anaggh Desai said...

Wonder why Raghav has never recommended or taken me to this place. But it maybe too elite for our tastes! Never mind, I shall prevail on him soon.....

Kau Kau goes the Crow said...

I invite you Anaggh..

Raghav will join us definitely, he likes the place as well,he may not remember it to you as the company we went with earlier was not to his satisfaction ;-)