One of the greatest innovations of recent times is the growth of the vast range of vegetarian and vegan options. Safe to say, long gone are the boring and limited days of pedestrian ingredients and run-of-the-mill roots. It has now been realised that just the right treatment can render plant-based foods heavenly. But is it also tempting enough for a meat lover like me to forgo the animal protein and embrace the movement? We headed over to a vegetarian-only cafe at Kala Ghoda named La Pôz Place to find out. The menu, courtesy of Chef Gracian D'souza and Chef Arnez Driver features Italian and Mediterranean food.
This quaint cafe is located in the silent lane of SoBo, Mumbai Samachar Marga. Fashion designer Gaurav Gupta's whimsical studio greets you on the way. We were politely greeted at the reception accompanied by the customary hand sanitisation and temperature check. Here's how our experience turned out to be.
We opened the door to nude pink walls, natural wooden furniture, terrazzo flooring and soothing music. The ambience was such that we were instantly at ease. It is well-lit with cute ceiling lights. A swing in the verandah awaits for all your Instagrammable moments. The decor also features outdoor plants and a few paintings. The relaxed ambience resonates with their tagline—it's time to hit Pôz (read, pause), unwind and explore a wave of fresh flavours.
Our host suggested the passion fruit mocktail with ginger ale and a hibiscus and muskmelon iced tea for my colleague. We loved them to the last sip for their refreshing and light taste. We chose small plate offerings of baby potatoes in Bravas sauce, aioli and rosemary oil. While the potatoes were a tad salty, the sauce had us grinning and saying #AwesomeSauce. Another small plate featured the hass avocado, red bell pepper jam, pickled radish on French baguettes, which was delightfully cold and fresh with the avos setting the tone for the other offerings that followed. This included a salad, complete with roasted peppers, organic cherry tomatoes and burrata, the last of which we thoroughly enjoyed, given that it's the most indulgent kind of cheese.
Coming to large plate offerings, we chose the angel hair aglio olio with house bread, which we polished off in all its unctuous glory. Their wood-fired pizza with sauteed button mushrooms, fresh ricotta, wilted spinach and bocconcini in San Marzano tomato sauce was enjoyable with respect to the minimal addition of cheese and a subtle sauce, although it did pale in comparison to the pasta.
Lastly, for desserts, we tried the pure Philadelphia cheesecake with raspberry compote and organic blueberries along with their speciality dark chocolate French truffle balls with gold leaf and hazelnut. The cheesecake was moist and addictive such that it didn't allow us to set our spoons down until we tackled the very last crumb. The dark chocolate truffle balls, too, were a revelation—laid on a chocolate bark and with a moist centre, it was sinful to the T.
With the trend advancing towards a greener/vegetarian/vegan future, many like me are stumped as to how to get started and create a sustainable and tasty life around vegetables. Places like La Pôz Place know how to pack a lot of flavour into that narrative. What adds to the charm are details like fresh and ethically sourced produce, in-house preparation of wood-fired pizzas, eggless pasta and most importantly, courteous staff who know the menu well, all of which makes such restaurants a lot more approachable than they were a few years ago.
Besides, the beauty of vegetarian fare lies in its ability to perk you up, without ever becoming too much for the tummy. And honestly, I could get used to it.
Journeying a whimsical tale from being a microbiologist/scientist to being a creative writer, Nirupama loves to scrutinize trends, food and fashion alike. A gardening enthusiast, she is a full-time mom to a toddler. Her passions include tinkering away on a wanderlust, cooking up a storm in the kitchen for her food loving bub and curating street style looks!