The Café At Le Mill Has A Summer-Friendly Menu
The chef at The Café at Le Mill, is never within full sight of the customers. Only her hands
remain exposed through a slit in the four-walled kitchen, swiftly and skillfully working the pass (the area where the presentation of the food is checked, finalised and then passed over to the service staff). The anticipation for your dish builds as you watch her manicured fingers gingerly adding a garnish of toasted coconut shavings over a summer salad of raw mango and rice; sprinkling sea salt over sliced tenderloin; and adding spoonfuls of a syrupy citrus marmalade into a bowl on a sugar-dusted dessert plate. Watching—and hearing—chef Nicole Gonsalves-Pereira while she plates your meal, it becomes clear that she is a stickler for precision and governs her kitchen with a firm hand, a trait she most likely inherited from Gordon Ramsay. Gonsalves-Pereira worked at Ramsay’s restaurants in London (including The Savoy Grill) for eight years, before relocating to Mumbai. The Cafe at Le Mill has plans to start selling limited products—spreads, sauces, etc—but in the meantime, it’s a fairly small operation, with a menu of only about twenty items, excluding drinks and dessert. The sandwiches, salads and mains are made with seasonal ingredients, organic when possible, that focus on freshness and health (think barley, mung and lots of fruits like mango and papaya). Not coincidentally the cafe, in look and concept, is a reflection of the pared-down aesthetic of the retail space.
While Gonsalves-Pereira pursues perfection, you can roam Le Mill, the sprawling rice mill-turned-lifestyle store, and saunter back in time for the first course of salad and a sub like we did during lunch. The raw mango and rice salad, with bean sprouts and chilli, was crunchy with just the right amount of tartness from the lime and olive oil vinaigrette. With its medley of fresh ingredients, the salad was perfect for muggy day. Our chicken with pesto mayonnaise sandwich took just five minutes to prepare. A pre-cooked, creamy chicken mince and pesto mayonnaise filling is sandwiched between a six-inch baguette; slices of yellow zucchini placed between the meat and bread add heft to the juicy sub served with a side of olive oil-drenched rocket and iceberg lettuce. Unless you split the sandwich, it’s likely you will skip the mains and get right to dessert, but since we divided it three ways, we had room for Nicole’s tian of roast peppers, feta and mushroom duxelle.
The fresh-baked tian, a signature dish, was a delicate and flavourful layering of oozing basil pesto and tangy ricotta. The tagliata di manzo, a dish of grilled beef, was sparsely seasoned with sea salt and drizzled with olive oil. The minimal garnish showcased the succulent slices of meat, cooked medium rare as requested. Gonsalves-Pereira’s homemade citrus marmalade, served with the banana loaf, was the thing we liked the least on her menu, as it was sickeningly sweet. But the accompanying loaf, a firm cake with a crumbly texture, was delicious.
Pereira displays great restraint in her cooking but her food is never short of flavour. Yet, her seasonal fare feels diet-friendly, possibly because of her use of healthful ingredients. Ramsay’s former protégée may rule her kitchen with an iron hand but the food she serves is most agreeable.
A meal for two costs Rs1,700. All reviews are conducted anonymously.Tags: Food review, Le Mill, Nicole Gonsalves Pereira, restaurant review, restaurant reviews, The Cafe at Le Mill
The Cafe at Le Mill
Location17-25 Nandlal Jani Road
Next to Wadi Bunder New Railway Bridge
Wadi Bunder (East)
HoursMonday to Saturday, 11am to 8pm, Sunday, 11am to 6pm