Candy hues and plush velvets, gleaming copper and pleasant lights. Monèr in Bandra, Mumbai, is a bright delight on opening night. The posh Parisian bistro feel extends to its savoury menu, which has delectable small plates of simple things like Mushroom on Toast and Harissa Spiced Chicken as well as more complex ones like a Ricotta Gnudi and an eight-hour cooked Pork Belly, all of which our table enjoyed. Elegant kettles pouring excellent teas add to the experience. But, since this is essentially a dessert bar in the tradition of the ones Chef-Owner Freny Fernandes loved in New York, London, and other big cities, the focal point is definitely her dessert menu.
At just 25, Freny has already worked with five-star hotels and Michelin-star restaurants. Her career, which started at Mumbai’s JW Marriott Juhu, saw her studying at The Culinary Institute of America, and then really taking off as she garnered pastry experience working in Chef Daniel Boulud’s three Michelin-starred Restaurant Daniel in Manhattan, as well as at his Epicerie Boulud later, and at Bocuse, the French fine-dining restaurant that’s a tribute to the late legendary chef, Paul Bocuse. Her well thought out desserts have found favour in many quarters, from the Four Seasons at Disneyworld in Florida to wowing the global guests with a classic Croquembouche at Priyanka Chopra’s bridal shower while she was with Tiffany’s Blue Box Café. And now she’s back in the bay with India’s first-ever dessert bar.
At Monèr (a sweet portmanteau created from the names of her parents), she has a separate day menu — tarts, choux pastry, cakes, etc, but each with complex textures, layers and flavours. And post-7 pm, those with a penchant for sweet treats can not only enjoy elaborate plated confections but an actual dessert degustation menu of three or five courses, each presented to perfection and given a name that sounds like sheer poetry.
We started with the Dawn in the Meadows, an effervescent amuse-bouche in the form of a green apple and kaffir lime granita with pumpkin seeds for crunch. Perfect for those who like their desserts tart and fresh.
Au Revoir, Autumn, which came next, had a gorgeous strawberry sorbet with a creamy vanilla bean pannacotta. I especially loved the berry tuile that added drama, flavour and crackle.
The beautifully presented Phases of the Moon had a unique Earl Grey tea gelato paired with intense chocolate ganache on a crescent-shaped vanilla sablé.
Her next dish, named Walk Through the Woods featured a chocolate coulant filled a liquid caramel centre. We were really impressed with her crisp cocoa tuile, tempered chocolate disc and the strong coffee ice-cream that gave the dish an invigorating edge, just as a stroll through a cool forest would!
There’s a special space tucked away in the back of the café for this private dining experience, where a small group can watch Freny plate up all these wonderful creations. A stunning tufted couch upholstered in dusky rose, a kooky Kahloesque mural spilling over with roses, and a gleaming counter on which she demonstrated her showstopper for the night — the Jardin Du Rose!
This pièce de résistance was a beautifully moulded rose and raspberry parfait served with a pistachio air cake, handmade pistachio baklava and delicate meringues.
Monèr, with its intimate boutique feel and bouquet of outstanding offerings, is certain to become a darling of dessert lovers from Bandra and beyond.
Where: Darvesh Royale, Perry Cross Rd, Bandra West, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400050