Goodbye Pot Pourri

There were two continental places everyone would talk of when I landed in Mumbai a decade back. One was Cafe Churchill at Colaba. The other was Pot Pourri at Turner Road Bandra.

Both had its loyalists. Churchill came with the charm of Colaba. Impossible to say no to. Pot Pourri was the tip of the iceberg of what Bandra was going to become. Pot Pourri was always full. Full of people. Full of life. It was 'Pot' with a 't' for many till pot pourri room fresheners became popular. But it's still Pot with a 't' for most.

I had many meals there over the years. Office friends. Client lunches for which I was later admonished by the boss for making the client eat on a restaurant facing road. Strolling down from home with K for lazy dinners later in life. New year's lunch with the in laws. The Christmas specials there. And the really 'lazy' attempt at 'lazy breakfasts'. Memories of risottos, cheese bangers, creamy cheese pastas, pa in law's roast lamb sandwich without mushrooms, turkey in orange sauce and roast ham for Christmas make up many a Pot Pourri memory. And, of course, its pastries at Melting Moments which from a cake counter become a whole air conditioned shop in shop. Slowly we become neighbours with a gentleman who runs the restaurant.

Pot Pourri shut down towards the end of last year. Renovation we were told. Christmas came and went without Yule Tide chocolate logs and roast turkey. The days went by. Then the signboards came up.

Pot Pourri was gone. It's cousin, Lemon Grass, up in its place. The same tables. The cake shop substituted by an A C dining section. The same waiters including the chubby gentleman with a white walrus moustache.

Crowded out by fancier and pricier upstarts which later came to Bandra with their Continental fare? The growing popularity of Oriental cuisine? We will never know the truth. But as G said said yesterday, Pot Pourri, will be missed.

What are your Pot Pourri memories?

Comments

The Cloudcutter said…
Oh thanks for this! I have so many memories of Pot Pourri. I can safely say that it's the place I've eaten at most often in Bandra (apart from maybe Lucky's).
When it started, it was the only place you could get Conti food in Bandra. Funnily enough, I never had a favourite dish there because every time I went I would try something new. But I think I used to have the Stroganoff a lot in the early days. And yes, the Blueberry cheesecake was my favourite at the dessert counter.
I also just realised that all the people I dined with at Pot Pourri, over the years, are no longer part of my life.
I loved the ambience, even if it was noisy and polluted. I could sit there for hours. I remember thinking that if I ever run a restaurant of my own, it would be something Pot Pourri.
The Cloudcutter said…
Oops... something like Pot Pourri :-)
The knife said…
Well CC, I can gurantee one loyal cutsomer when you open your restaurant :)
Madhumita said…
Kollan strangely there is perhaps only once I have dined at Pot Pourri and it was Stroganoff - my first taste of the dish - this was within the first 6 mths of my coming to Mumbai - the 6 mths prior to when your batch arrived in IMRB :-), the only 6 months that I lived in Bandra, and it was with a then colleague who is still on my FB list! I think post dinner we visited the cake shop you mention next door.
Rahul Ghosh said…
My earliest memory of Pot Pourrie goes back to 2003. I was down from Delhi for a shoot and was meeting an old friend on a lazy post-prod day. I loved the place instantly. The food, the atmosphere, those giant glasses of ice-tea that would appear instantly and that delectable experience of watching the world (read: Bandra West) go by as you dig into the steak. Later, after I moved to the city, I have taken Gini there for dinner umpteen times. We both loved it. Somehow a lot of Pot Pourrie memories are around commercials I worked on. You know...post-prod at Pixion and dinner at Pot Pourrie. I think somehow down the years the place took a beating, largely because of it's shrinking menu. But if there is one thing for which Pot Pourrie would be forever etched in my memory, it wouldn't be something out of their kitchen. It would be The Jack Daniel's Chocolate Mousse. It's like the seven deadly sins of chocolate packed into one. Basically, liquer-flavoured chocolate mousse in a cup of chocolate. That's right, a cup made of chocolate. So first you finish the mousse and then you chew off the cup.

Live on , Pot Pourrie.
Kirti said…
I guess I will be the one here who has a different opinion. We had gone for breakfast some years ago. The prices were five star, the food wasn't. The portions were average.
The knife said…
Madhumita, Rahul...one common strain which I found in your comments, and in my own experience, is that one barely remembers the last time that one went there. Hopefully Lemon Grass will stand out more sharply. Need to plan a trip

Kirti, we'd goen there when they launched breakfasts. The prices and the slow service were disappointing
k said…
Damn it kalyan, your writing makes me miss a place I did not even care enough about.
The knife said…
K, wow that's the best compliment that I got on the blog. Now what did I write? Need to check :)
Miri said…
The ice tea and Irish Whisky Mousse - enough said. Unlike Cloud cutter - the people I went with to this place are still part of my life - two best friends and a husband :)

Thanks so much for bringing up those great memories
The knife said…
Hey Miri, Pot Pourri has pretty much been a big part of my life in Bombay. Been with people from various phases of my life. Each as real as the other
Hermit said…
I really wish I had known the place was going to shut down... I would have gone for the 'one last meal'. I discovered the place thanks to a couple of my foodie friends, and my favourite memory of the place is that of me, all by myself, sitting there for dinners or lunches with a book. Being a regular always had its own perks... I was often offered a free dessert :) :)

I loved almost anything they served, but my all time favourite was their mashed potatoes... I used to substitue that for every rice offering they had...
The knife said…
Let me see if I can get my neghbour to whip yo some mash. I am sure he will aftr reading your comment Hermit:)


Otherwise I am pretty good at it too. You would be amazed with what a mixie, a spot of milk, butter, a touch of garlic, salt and pepper can do to boiled potatoes
Hermit said…
That would be really great... Btw,that mixie is a great idea.. I used to always try to make my mash with a fork...
The knife said…
@Hermit: Dunno if you have seen maine Pyar Kiya. If you have, remember Salman's dialogue 'pyar sab kuchh sikhata hain'

He probably had mashed potato in mind. I used to use the spoon before. Thought of the mixer recently (whip mode). Perfection