Pretty and petite. La Folie Lab, Bandra


Our pretty breakfast table at La Follie Lab

I often look at the pretty food that they plate up on the Masterchef Australia series and wonder, ‘does food that looks so pretty taste good too?’?
When it comes to ‘pretty’, the recently opened La Folie Lab at Bandra does a er, pretty good job.
Whenever you go in to the La Folie outlet you will see their chefs inside plating food with intense looks of concentration before sending them out.


Intense plating

Question is, does the food live up to its appearance?
We have made quite a few trips to La Folie Lab since last November. I had read somewhere that one should write about new place after it has had a month to settle down, after one has made at least 3 trips at different times of the day, unannounced and having paid for one’s meals. This is one case where one can tick all the boxes.
Our first visit to La Folie was on an evening in November last year, just after our two week long Italy trip. One was still reliving memories of the holiday then. 
We saw that they have a 4 to 5 table outdoor seating section and a two table with some bar chairs, indoor seating section. That’s where they chefs were plating their works of art.
I decided to order a hot chocolate as I fondly remembered the dreamy hot chocolate that I had at the Vencii outlets in Venice. Those were the most expensive of the hot chocolates that we had in Italy and the most dreamy and creamy ones too.


La Follie Hot Chocolate

The hot chocolate at La Folie Lab matched the memories of the Vencii one! Definitely the best I have had in Mumbai and consistently so since I’ve ordered it many times since that fateful evening. The hot chocolate at La Folie always brings me supreme happiness.
They make the hot chocolate and pour it into the glass after you place your order here. The last time they did this at our table in fact. The glass is interesting too. It is double layered so you don’t feel the heat outside while the chocolate is hot inside, but just right, not scalding and devilishly  dark. 

If only they could replicate the pleasant nip in Mumbai that was there when we visited Venice though K, who hates the cold, would tweak my ears me for saying that. (You can read my Italy trip posts here & about Vencii here)



Hot chocolate being poured on the table

Their cappuccino, which I have had over a couple of breakfasts at La Folie Lab is frothy and strong. Just the way I like it. 

Unlike in the coffee bars (cafes) of Italy, no decaf or chamomile here though.
So how is the food?
We tried the vegetarian quiche (yes!) the first time around as there was nothing else interesting among the small savoury eats on offer. At Rs 300 it was really tiny and we had just about two mouthfuls each as we shared the quiche. I was very impressed by the quality of the buttery and intensely flavoured crust which combined very well with the mushrooms and the taste of the Grana Pradano, parmesan cheese which was bewitchingly sharp but yet not overpowering. You knew that you were eating a world class bake.


A happy hot chocolate smile with the veg quiche in front

Unfortunately they over baked it the next time we ordered it a  month later and the quiche became a bit bitter and we had to return it. The staff didn’t charge us for that.
In fact I must point out the quality of service at La Follie is unusually good for Mumbai. The front of shop staff are well versed with the menu and can adroitly answer one’s questions which is so rare in most restaurants here. I remember Masala Library as being good on this front too.
We went to La Folie Lab for breakfast twice and I chose well both times.
I had the croissant croque monsieur (Rs 340+) the first time around. Once again a beautiful, buttery flaky crust made it one of the best croissants I have ever had, the quality of the smoked ham and the emmenthal was very good and the three combined to give me one of my most lavish Sunday mornings in a long time. Marred only the by the rather fleeting presence of Monica Belucci in Spectre, the latest Bond flick, which we went to watch after the breakfast and the backache inducing long length of the movie.


La Follie  croissant croque monsieur

Talking of ergonomics, the chairs at La Folie Lab , though simple looking, provide a good back support. We recently had a two hour long breakfast there without being hurried and feeling very comfortable. The trick is to sit inside though. The heat and the dust outside would make the Rs 2,500 that we paid (6 beverages, 5 breakfast dishes & a dessert) seem excessive. We didn’t mind it because we sat inside.




Leisurely Sunday breakfast at La Follie Lab
good place to catch up with friends

During my second breakfast there I had the eggs Benedict (Rs290 + 50) which was very indulgent and decadent. Buttery hollandaise sauce, a creamy light green herb (or leeks) based sauce which go very well with the well toasted brioche and perfectly poached eggs. You can order crisp bacon as an extra which gives a nice textural contrast to the dish. They don’t put a layer of ham between the egg and brioche though. Neither does Taj Tea House which was a more crunchy brioche and an interesting South Indian gun powder on the eggs.


Eggs Benedict at La Follie Lab

Weak spots?
The scrambled eggs. A bit dry and lacking in flavour both the times that we tried it. 

Sassy Spoon at Hill Road does scrambled eggs which look pretty too, without micro-greens, but are  far more creamy and flavour packed. 



Sassy Spoon scrambled eggs

They grow their own micro-greens at La Folie but need to put a higher taste quotient in the eggs. You can’t taste the parmesan in the parmesan ones or the choriz in the choriz one. In my experience the best way to use choriz in eggs is to add them into the oil while heating so that the egg soaks in all the flavour of the choriz.


Scrambled egg with choriz at La follie

One very weak dish was the savoury mille fuille (Rs330). All you can taste is the overpowering goat cheese. The pumpkin is too soft. The menu promises pumpkin seeds which were not discernible and could have given a bit of bite otherwise. The puff base was leathery and reminiscent of the Calcutta Boxwalla patties. Each bite was very unpleasant and I refused to go beyond one mouthful. Luckily we were a table of 4 sharing it. I don't know if this is the dish was made the way it is meant to be but if so, it is not something that works for me.


Savoury Mille Fuille

What about desserts?
Well, when it compares to macarons we squarely belong to the Le 15 Pattiserie camp and within those, the simple dark chocolate ones. I find the Le Folie macaron flavours a bit too over the top. I know folks, such as our friend M, who swear by the La Follie macarns. 

I have not tried their eclairs and they don’t offer them in Bandra right now as they weren’t forming well I was told. So they are working on it.
We ordered a French toast or Pain Perdu (Rs 210) on Sunday and the flavours were well balanced. Not too sweet or too eggy. The brioche was good and had a nice bite to it. A pleasant dish which left to myself I would never order though as I am too Bengali to like my French toasts sweet. For me ‘French toasts’ have to be savoury. Read this post to understand why.


French toast with salted caramel

We also tried something called 100 pc chocolat (Rs 240) which was the tiniest ever chocolate mousse ever on a chocolate praline base. It is probably the simplest looking of the desserts on offer at La Folie. It had two dark chocolate lovers in our group and me, a new dark chocolate convert, oohing and aahing in delight. The fourth in our group that day, who likes any chocolate, said, and we agreed, that this tops even the operatic 7 layered chocolate at Sassy Spoon. The intensity of the chocolate at La Folie in the 100 % chocolate had us completely in its spell and left us happy at the end.


100 pc chocolate at La follie Lab

Someone asked me to rate La Follie on a scale of 5 on twitter. I desisted prefer not to reduce restaurants to numbers.
I believe that all restaurants should tell a story and it seems that La Folie Lab at Bandra tells a fairly pretty one.
All our visits here were unannounced and self funded. Prices in the post are exclusive of taxes and service charge. A visit for 2 will cost at least Rs 600 or so. La Follie Lab is located at Bandra's Hill Road opposite St Peter's Church. Do try to get a seat inside.









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