As you walk through the doors of the newly opened Jio World Drive in BKC, the feeling of strolling through a fancy international shopping mall settles over you. While the look of the mall is decidedly global, the vibe at Cou Cou, a patisserie on the ground floor of the mall, is more Parisienne.
Cou Cou’s menu is filled with a variety of freshly baked bread, custom cakes, handmade chocolates, savoury bites, salads, sandwiches, teas, coffees and even the option of a glass of wine. The Oberoi Group has brought to life this French-style restaurant amongst store fronts of prominent International and Indian luxury brands. The space is run by Chef Pierre Storti and Chef Pratik Deshmukh, who each have more than a decade of experience. Chef Pratik Deshmukh explains the decision to launch the Oberoi Group’s first independent food and beverage outlet outside the hotel – to make the space more easy-going than those F&B restaurants at the hotel, where they are restricted by a certain type of guest. “I feel this is the best mall we could have come to, it does not have a traditional food court, other brands are also in sync with ours,” says Deshmukh.
A trip to Paris
The open floor plan of Cou Cou is a definite advantage, as is the clear glass display of showcasing croissants, sandwiches, and entremets. Shoppers often popped in to refuel with a couple of pastries and headed back to the mall. Cou Cou’s salmon pink and turquoise colour scheme lends it a distinctly millennial yet approachable feel. Customised cantilevered light fixtures and white mosaic tiles with accents of blue contribute to the quaint vibe. The patisserie has some tables spilling out near the common mall floor. While alcohol is served, it is only allowed in the inner side of the space. A comfortable wave-shaped sofa hosts tables in its dips and curves, with comfortable cushioned pastel green chairs surrounding it. Cou Cou is an informal greeting used in France which can mean anything from “hello, how are you,” to a term of endearment. The décor matches the meaning of its title and is warm and welcoming.
Showcasing the art of pastry
Wanting to take a step up from a regular patisserie, Chef Pratik and Chef Pierre ideated the eclectic menu of Cou Cou. Case in point is their Lamb Pithivier. Traditionally, a pithivier is a sweet, round, enclosed pie usually made by baking two disks of puff pastry, however, Chef Pierre reimagined this dish a little differently. The result is puff pastry stuffed with melt-in-your-mouth confit lamb that is mildly spiced. While the products are intrinsically French, they are made to appeal to the Indian palate, with a good mix of vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. Most of their laminated pastries are even eggless, which Chef Pratik admits was a challenge at first, but replacing the ingredients one by one, got them pastry perfection. The eatery also avoids artificial colours in their desserts, the Ispahan, raspberry, rose & lychee pastry’s pink dome is coloured with beetroot. A pistachio-raspberry cake is tinged in green with the help of basil. Their sourdough too is made without chemical stabilisers and industrial yeast; the dough, once made, rests for 36 hours, and is naturally fermented at 4 °C inside the fridge, which gives is what gives it its character and taste. The sourdough is available in flavours like Barley & Malt Sourdough, Pumpkin & Sunflower Seed, as well as Almond and Cranberry Sourdough.
Baked to perfection
My dinner companion and I started our meal with the Chef’s recommendation of the Lobster Brioche and sourdough laden with tomato and burrata. The former was generously piled with lobster that was marinated in spices, and a pan seared buttery brioche, perfect for fans of seafood. The sourdough was a combination of classic flavours, the juicy tomato and the creamy burrata battled for supremacy while the sourdough was the ideal vehicle for the flavours. Hardcore sourdough fans must keep in mind though, that while Cou Cou’s version scores high on taste, is not as chewy or crusty as the sourdough you may be used to. Next, we sampled the much-awaited lamb pithivier, which was accompanied by a superbly flaky pastry, and impeccably cooked lamb.
In the beverage department, I opted for a latte, which was made to its textbook definition. Upon sipping a coffee, biting into a croissant was inevitable. Hence, an almond croissant made its way to our table, along with a hot chocolate for my fellow diner. The hot chocolate was creamy, with a good hit of chocolate without being too rich or heavy. However, the real showstopper was Chef Pierre’s Almond Croissant and its filling of homemade almond praline, which was deliciously moreish, perfectly contrasting the many flaky layers of the pastry.
After being unable to choose from the many desserts laid out in the showcase, Chef Pratik makes the decision for us, sending across three sweet treats. We started with a caramelised fig and vanilla tart, my personal favourite, the acidic and candied flavour of the wonderfully glazed figs collided with the soft vanilla cream and the crunch base of the tart for a grand symphony of flavours. The choux Café Caramel dessert was magnificent to look at, filled with flavourful coffee cream but could have used some more of their delicious caramel ganache. The last dessert, a gluten-free Chocolate and candied Kumquat is one of Chef Pratik’s signature creations and it shows. The layered flourless chocolate sponge and ganache is made with quality chocolate and the kumquat cuts through the sweetness beautifully.
In addition to this wide variety of viennoiserie, Cou Cou is set to launch a range of ice creams as well. While home deliveries have not begun yet, they are on the cards for the near future.
Address: Jio World Drive, Bandra Kurla Complex, Mumbai
Cost for two: Rs. 3200 for two (exclusive of alcohol)