Food Review: Leo’s Boulangerie
The use of the word ‘boulangerie’ can be deceptive when tacked onto the name of a bakery in Mumbai—for one, it implies something French (either the owner or the nature of the baked goods) and for another, perhaps not coincidentally, it raises expectations of quality. Leo’s Boulangerie, a tiny, near-missable space tucked away off Colaba Causeway and owned by Leopold Cafe partner Farzad Jehani, treats these associations very loosely. The menu spans from Bombay masala sandwiches to cheesecake, and from chicken hot dog rolls to vegetable puffs, all displayed prettily in a glass counter that occupies three-fourths of the narrow store.
Despite this overarching “let’s throw every item we can think of on there” approach (we counted about 100 items on the menu), Leo’s Boulangerie manages to do much of its decidedly non-French fare commendably; the missteps were to be found primarily in the three Cs: croissants, cheesecake and cheese straws. First, the good stuff. The wedge of Amaretto dark chocolate mudcake (Rs95), topped with a layer of peaked icing, was exemplary of how much a non high-end bakery can pull off with local ingredients. The Kahlua-soaked mousse (Rs75), with its layer of cake, hit the right levels of sweetness and alcohol. The marzipan-crowned carrot cake (Rs80) was dense and delicious, even with the addition of too much cinnamon powder. More skillfully executed were the golden apple crumble (Rs70) and the creamy cappuccino mousse (Rs20), which served in a shot glass-sized plastic container, made for the perfect afternoon pick-me-up.
Even the chocolate chip brownie (Rs50) and donut (Rs20), which both suffered from having tough shells, were quite nicely textured once you cracked past the top bits. The chicken tikka kathi roll (Rs90), filled with spicy chutney-coated chicken chunks and wrapped in a tortilla, was excellent (and worth returning to Leo’s for). Less successful was the chicken club sandwich (Rs120), which had neither bacon nor eggs, but still managed to eke out flavour from its light coating of mayo. The baked cheesecake (Rs70), mushy to taste, under-sweetened and atop a base of soggy biscuit, missed all the marks of a good cheesecake, while the cheese straws (Rs120 for a bag) contained no perceptible addition of cheese, too much jeera and almost no other flavour. The chicken croissant (Rs60), that French staple so wonderfully bastardised on our shores, was perhaps the worst offender: a bloated, crescent-shaped mound of white bread sprinkled with sesame seeds and stuffed with over-salted masala chicken mince.
Leo’s Boulangerie is a boon for Colaba residents, who would have to walk up Causeway to Theobroma’s or Mad Over Donuts to find similar fare. It might not be worth a shlep from any place too far, but if you’re in the neighbourhood, and peckish after an art or shopping crawl, then you could do worse then grabbing something to go from here.
This review was conducted anonymously.