Monday, November 07, 2011

Of Communal tables and the Bloggers Dinner at Le Pain Quotidien

When I began planning the Bloggers Dinner at LPQ (Le Pain Quotidien), I was VERY excited to hear about their Communal Tables. Some of my best memories of food are ones in which I have been a part of a communal Table. Not only do they take me back the large table we congregated around in my joint family growing up. And then there were the looong tables in the mess at Mayo, where we would all settle to meals seasoned with the hunger or later at my hostel in animation school, where my peers came from all over the country. Or the many communal tables I have been at in Italy, at youth hostels in wonderful locales like refurbished castles in Italy and the vibrant meals with complete strangers at Terra Madre last year.

For this Bloggers dinner, the LPQ team had organise tart shells, and a table full of sweet and savoury fillings that the bloggers had to use to make innovative combinations with. And yours truly was supposed to judge them. We all started of very decorously assembling our tarts and taking them to the kitchen to put them in the oven as deliciously topped Tartines and sharing platters were circulated by the kitchen. But when all the tarts were in the oven, we reverted to being foodies. Give a group of food lovers ingredients and they are guaranteed to do something with them! So our enterprising foodies began to use the leftover fillings and bread at the tables to make their own Bruschetas. Not wanting them to fill up, I thought it prudent to move them to the table, where we sat down to the mains we had selected when we came in.

Its been my experience that communal tables almost always result in nights you'll never forget filled with great food, laughter and a chance to enjoy old as well as new friendships. We live such busy lives these days, and with the internet and everything we are so much more isolated than we used to be. So sitting down to a table, breaking bread with a whole lot of people lends a sense of community. And with our growing tribe of Mumbai Food Bloggers this sense of community that definitely grows with each meet we have, each meal we share. Getting to know your neighbours, is often part of the fun, the interaction over food, ("Oh, what's that?" as aplate of something new and wonderful appears in front of you) getting to taste what you did not order from your friends plates, food being shared, forks and crockery clinking, wine glasses tinkling and the conclusion of the meal with the exchange of phone numbers and promises to meet again! As always my fello food bloggers made it a memorable meeting, and LPQ's signature communal tables allowed our rather large group to sit down together at the same table for the first time! The natural wood and rustic decoe of the surrounds and the golden mood lighting lent everything a beautiful patina of warmth and affection.

My only complaint? The portions were HUGE! I could not finish mine! But there are several dishes I want to go back for including the  Grilled Asparagus with Ricotta, shaved parmesan and diced tomatoes, Roasted Chicken & Smoked Mozzarella with Granny Smithe apple, tomatoes and basil pesto, and the Roast Tenderloin tartine with grain mustard, confit onions and cornichons. Green Asparagus Risotto with parmesan cheese, Seared basil Chicken with chili potatoes, spinach and lemon sauce, Pan Seared Basa fish with burghul risotto, mushrooms, chili and balsamic sauce

Here's what we did and ate!

Many Thanks to Pranav Kacholia of and Jyotica Purwar for allowing me to use some of their pictures! They are BRILLIANT photographers!

The Tart filling table is laid!
The fillings!
The Tarts!
One of the creations!
Vegetable Lasagne with ricotta cheese and mushrooms.
Green Asparagus Risotto with parmesan cheese.
Pan Seared Basa fish with burghul risotto, mushrooms, chili and balsamic sauce
Quiche Lorraine with ham, gruyere and roasted leeks


The knife said...

it was a lovely evening. thanks for the evening and allowing the near last minute gate crashing

Anonymous said...

Thank you Rushina for hosting this event! It was great fun to have you with us! And thank you to all the wonderful bloggers who came!

We hope to see you again soon!

- Team LPQ

Anushruti | DivineTaste said...

It was a nice evening and so wonderful to meet everyone. Thanks for being the instrument in bringing this group of food lovers together!