Our Christmas with The Lovefools
Mumbai’s Sarita Pereira is the proud mama of a new supper club called The Lovefools Dinner Lab, and hopes her food moves you as much as The Cardigans’ song it’s named after. Or at least motivates you to put away your phone for a few hours, while you sit at the community table full of friendly strangers and dig into an eight course meal (or more).
Saturday nights here are earmarked for themed dinners and Trial Tuesdays, as the name suggests, are meant for epicureans. Sign up, and you can treat yourself to wine pairings by sommelier Gargi Kothari, and sample some of their artisanal ice creams in flavours like French vanilla or dark chocolate and lemon. Oh, and she’ll even host private dinners on request.
The advertising professional turned to her long-time passion for the culinary arts in 2014. A traditional course at a school in Paris didn’t quite work out, but an internship under Spain’s Michelin-starred chef Nandu Jubany did, and there was no looking back after. At the intimate Pali Village bungalow, which is home to Lovefools, she often recreates recipes by iconic chefs, such as Thomas Keller’s Parmesan pudding with Parmigiano-Reggiano and Gruyère gougères. Dishes here are labored over: the Spanish koka (a Catalan riff on pizza) comes with a caramelised onion sauce that takes anywhere over 10 hours to make. Plus, she’s adept at Catalan, Spanish, French, Balinese, Indonesian, Sri Lankan, Goan, Keralite and Amritsari cuisines, so every course here is a happy surprise.
We held a small Christmas lunch here, and couldn’t resist sharing snapshots with you:
It’s very easy to use what you have at home to create something special. We’ve used ferns as table mats and stems of baby’s breath to add colour and depth to the place settings. These plants are often used as fillers by florists and this makes for a nice way to reuse the leaves. Don’t worry about matching your plates either; we’ve contrasted emerald green ones with mustard bowls and saucers.
Pereira created a menu inspired by Christmas colours and flavours which included a burrata salad with a blueberry feta sauce, baked potato with herbs and pomegranate, turkey roulade with pistachio filling served with freshly baked brioche and cranberry sauce and a pomegranate and cashew gazpacho with grape sorbet. “I wanted to pay homage to traditional flavours with the turkey and berries but also add some drama with the rich purple colour used in the salad and gazpacho.”
“I’m really enjoying using my tagine at the moment because you can infuse flavours into your food and keep everything very moist and succulent. I’ve done two kinds, one using couscous and one using meatballs. As much as Christmas is about turkey and stuffing, it’s also great to throw in some more ethnic flavours that warm and delight.”
“I truly believe that food should be fun. Plums are one of my favourite fruits and I love how versatile they are. Here we’ve done a plum ice cream, plum cake, plum spiced liquor and added some fresh plums. It is so easy to add elements like this star shaped pastry which always elicits lots of smiles and pictures.”
The table set-ups you see in magazines may seem like a stretch, but you can always start small. Use what you have to create a setting that reflects your mood and theme. We’ve used green and red as overarching colours, and fresh flowers and leaves over a white, wooden table to create a rustic vibe. We’ve also used green glass tumblers to tuck the napkins, instead of laying them out all fussily on the table.
You can purchase all the crockery and linen from Le Mill, Colaba