Lemon Grass, Bandra
Lemon Grass restaurant has become quite an icon, with it being strategically placed at the corner of Turner Road in Bandra and its signature lemon grass green colored board there for everyone to see. This restaurant has been there since my college days and has seen quite a few transformations in terms of decor and menu; both for the better!!
While the Foodie was nicely chilling in Indore for a dear friend’s wedding (yea, Indore does have people!!) the Li’l one and I decided to go to Lemon Grass in Bandra. We searched and searched for restaurants in Bandra, which shouldn’t be a task, but nowadays with the numerous outlets opening up faster than I can zip myself, we decided, after an hour long search on Zomato.com, that Lemon Grass it is.
I have seen this restaurant become bigger and bigger over time, but had never entered it. But now, if I want to feed a family of 10 or my drunken friends, this is definitely going to be the place. Seeing the restaurant from outside one may think it is a cheap Chinese joint (one of the few reasons I had not visited here), but no, the decor is insane. It’s on a very minimal basis with green walls, nice windows to see the people strolling by outside and beautiful light pieces. This is the same hospitality company that has opened up Aoi (One of our FAVOURITES!!!!) and the inside of this restaurant was similar to that of Aoi, with regards to the painting of the girl on the walls (NICE!!). It was a nice, cool and windy evening so we decided to sit outside with me having a mocktail- the Thai Ginger (ziner) Lemonade and the Li’l One having a Strawberry Sangria.
The menu at Lemon grass amazed me. It has a wide variety of soups, salads, appetizers (Fried and Wok tossed) and a great many options when it comes to vegetarian, seafood, chicken and even beef ( Although that day they did not have any beef.) Then their menu is divided into soupy meals, stir fry bowls, the regular chicken, vegetarian and seafood menu and they also have a set pre-plated menu!!! My mouth was watering just reading all the things they offer, and I wish we had many more people who did join us so that we could eat more food. The Li’l one is so called because of her tiny and petite body, but still knowing the HAWRAATS that we are, this is what we called for : The two drinks mentioned above, we had a Tom Kha soup (One by two of course!!) Chicken and Coriander Dumpling, Bangkok style CRIPSSYYY (Crispy) Chicken, A big M*****F*****G bowl of Curry Laksa, Pre plated thai style grilled chicken with Jasmine Rice and salad and for dessert: Chocolate Mud Cake with ice cream and a Philly Cheese cake. Yup, One and a Half people ate this much!!!
Whilst sipping on our drinks (The Strawberry Sangria was pretty neat!) we were discussing a close Parsi friend’s wedding and how there was a mad spread of food at the wedding. It got me thinking, A PARSI RESTAURANT HAS TO BE VISITED!!!!! Just then two bowls of steaming soup made their way to our table (One by Two for the WIN, FTW!!!!) Piping hot soup, a little on the thinner side, great flavour of coconut milk and basil leaves and nice pieces of chicken chunk made this soup a great way to start our meal. I wanted to just pick up the bowl and drink the soup, it was that good. Halfway through, our dumplings arrived, would have appreciated if they waited till we finished our soup but Koi Nahi, the early arrival did not stop us from trying them anyway. I have noticed that very few place serve great dumplings, this being one of them of course, but what does it for me is the side sauces. Every restaurant has a different version and the ones at Lemon Grass were mind blowing. A green spring onion and ginger dipping sauce, a finely pureed tomato and coconut chutney and Lemon grass’s version of the Schezwan (or as I call it SCHEZZ–WON) 6 pieces a basket and they were gulped in no time.
Then came the crispy (CRIPSY) Bangkok chicken, really really mild in flavour but making sure the chicken stood out. The pieces of red and yellow pepper did give a great change in texture. Then again I got thinking to myself that “S*** we should called for more food, that’s when I asked the server to also get me a plate of their Korean Style beef, but sadly it wasn’t available that day. In a way it was a God sent ( Not the Hindu Gods) that beef was available, because when our mains arrived it was the mother-load of all mains!! One HUGE (I wish I could use a bigger font to describe how f**king big that bowl was) of Laksa arrived, and the Li’l Ones grilled Chicken on a 12” round steak plate. Oh, and it came with a steak knife and fork.
No offense, but that bowl could feed half a Continent ( You f****ers know what I’m talking about!!). It was full power soupy like the menu card said and it was loaded with chicken, noodles and basil. The soup itself was smooth, great flavour of coconut milk, but it was a tooooooo sweet for me. I put a whole bowl of Schezz-won and still it did not counter the sweetness of the soup. I thulped, I thulped and I thulped some more, but the bowl was never ending, so like every and any other Hawraat, I ate up all the chicken and noodles and had to, just had to leave behind the soup. The Li’ One on the other hand had a nicely plated dish with sticky jasmine rice, a big piece of grilled chicken with sauce and what only looked like a Som Tum salad with raw papaya. The sauce with that was given was a bit too thick to be had with the amount of rice given, but otherwise was spot on. Like I said, half a continent could eat that food. We are not complaining or anything and we know it does sound weird but “Guys, please reduce the portion size yaar!!!”
After the mains were leftover and unfortunately had to be given back to the kitchen, our eyes turned to dessert. We had absolutely no space left, but still we called for dessert as people kept on asking for the dessert tray, and it just kept on passing us by, calling out to us, “eat me, eaaaatttt meeeee.” Sorry this is how a person who is high on food, thinks. The mud pie was made warm for us and served with a nice big scoop of ice cream, totally melted due to the heat but WORTH IT!!!!! So was the Cheesecake. They had warmed this as well, I would have loved it with some fruit compote or sauce, but it’s all good!
The entire meal cost us about 3100, this because the Li’l One had 2 sangrias!!! Well worth it for the portion size they offer. Lemon Grass, we will be back again, in a bigger group, if not the entire Indian Army, to try everything else you’ll have to offer!
The Li’l One:
After a LOT of deliberation, which involved a thorough scanning of Zomato and our wallets, the Chef and I settled on Lemon Grass for our Monday night tête-à-tête (Chef says : WHAT THE F**K??). I had never been there before, and it seemed to fit into the terms and conditions for the night: A couple of drinks + Food+ Not-too-hard-on-the-pocket (I can’t figure if there’s any innuendo involved there!)
“Outdoors or AC?” texted the Chef as he arrived first. The weather seemed accommodating, so we agreed on the former, and boy am I glad we did! Despite being situated in one of Bandra’s busiest junctions, this place successfully maintains a quiet, nestled outdoor seating area. The menu is a delight for anyone who has a tongue for Oriental cuisine. We called for the Tom Kha soup, the chicken and coriander dim sums and the Bangkok crispy chicken with basil and chilly for starters. While I called for a strawberry sangria, the Chef broke our terms and conditions and ordered a lemonade. My plans for plotting a revenge were promptly forgotten when I took the first sip of my soup. Oh sweet Jesus (JEEJUSSS), my taste buds were woken from their slumber in an explosion of rich flavours. The creamy broth of coconut milk and chicken bits was so DIVINE, the Chef and I considered slurping it up directly from the bowl. But good sense and etiquette prevailed and we languidly enjoyed it, one spoonful at a time. The dim sums, accompanied by some fiery condiments blew my mind. The schezwan sauce and the tomato-onion sauce were at their spicy best, and my sangria with its fresh strawberries made for the perfect drink to go with the meal. The Bangkok Crispy Chicken was palatable, but it failed to match up to the other two on the awesome-meter.
Now, I’m not called the Li’l One for nothing. I was already bursting at the seams, but seeing that the Opening Act was such a winner, I soldiered on and called for a Thai style grilled chicken with curry sauce and jasmine rice. That I barely managed to finish half of this gigantic dish, had little to do with how it was made, and a lot to do with the massive portions the mains are served in! And to top it all, the Chef asked me, “So where do you see yourself in 10 years?” After clumsily dropping my steak knife in response, I spent a great deal of time cutting through the delicious grilled chicken to avoid that evil question. The curry sauce tasted a lot like the soup, so two words of advice to future visitors: Order smart. And if you’re not a big fan of Jasmine rice, which is sticky, ask them for steamed rice in advance.
By the time we picked our desserts (from an array of options which the waiter brings to your table on a tray) I was two sangrias down, and dangerously close to an unladylike burp. But I have a huge weakness for oozing chocolate, so the sight of that heated chocolate mud pie with vanilla ice cream did me in. The New York Cheesecake was brilliant too. I’m definitely going back to do this meal the right way: Starve for a couple of days, wear maternity pants, take a larger bunch of people and devour smaller portions of every course. *insert game face*
Lemon Grass, you beauty. Thank you for a delightful meal. You definitely weren’t easy on the pocket, but what the heck. I left with no regrets, and a satiated smile on my silly face!
Food — 3.5
Value for Money — 3
Decor — 3.5