Le15’s Pooja Dhingra To Launch Café Crème In Breach Candy
It’s been a little over a year since Pooja Dhingra, a Le Cordon Bleu-trained pastry chef, opened Le15, a patisserie that specialises in French confections like macaroons and verrines, in Mumbai. When she got back to the drawing board to chalk out business expansion plans three months ago, Dhingra found herself leaning towards Europe for inspiration, yet again. “While on holiday in Switzerland and Paris in May, we ate the most memorable meals at small, charming cafés that had cropped up everywhere,” said Dhingra. “I wanted to start something similar in Mumbai.” By the middle of October, Dhingra will launch Café Crème, a European style café in Breach Candy that will serve “simple food with big flavours”.
At Café Crème, the focus will be on salads and desserts, but there will be also be a limited selection of hot dishes such as soups, sandwiches and quiches and an all-day breakfast, which will include eggs, pancakes, flavoured yoghurts and teas and coffees. The centrepiece of the 20-seat café will be a vertical display shelf for desserts. Dhingra and her Le Cordon Bleu colleague, Pablo Naranjo Agular collaborated on the menu. While Agular put together the list of savoury items on offer, Dhingra prepared the dessert menu, which will include everything available at Le15, and new desserts like rose and raspberry tiramisu, tarte tatin and chocolate fondant.
Agular, who works at the Michelin-starred Senderens restaurant in Paris, took a three-week sabbatical from his job to work with Dhingra. His salad selection includes a wasabi pasta salad; a cous cous salad; a ratatouille salad with a soft-boiled egg; and a fig and Camembert salad. “Our salad dressings and sauces, including the mayonnaise, pesto and BBQ sauces, are made from scratch, which makes all the difference in flavours,” said Agular. “Most restaurants use one or two standard vinaigrettes across salads, [as a result of which] they taste the same and don’t hold good as complete meal options here.” While devising the menu, Agular also came up with a way to make sundried tomatoes and marinated sweet peppers in Le15’s central kitchen in Lower Parel. “Apart from the cheeses, which we import, we have stuck to using fresh and local produce,” he said. In a nod to his French training, Agular has added croque monsieur and a French onion soup to the menu.
At Café Crème, non-vegetarian options are limited to chicken and pork. Chicken will be served in salads, paninis and in mini burgers made with pao, while pork bacon and ham will be available under the all-day breakfast options and served in salads and sandwiches such as the croque monsieur. A month after the launch of Café Crème, Dhingra plans to introduce a high tea menu, complete with scones and tea cakes. She’s also toying with the idea of launching a Café Crème line of food products such as basic cooking sauces, salad dressings and vinaigrettes. “I intend for Café Crème to be a chain,” said Dhingra, who is already on the lookout for a location for the second outpost.Tags: Cafe Creme, Le15 Patisserie, Pablo Naranjo Agular, Pooja Dhingra, Restaurants