The Lovefools – Bandra’s Secret Supper Club | Indie Eats
The LoveFools is a dinner lab where you can customize your meal or let chef Sarita Pereira work her magic. She creates delicious and unique meals for you and up to eleven friends. The LoveFools started out when Sarita traveled to Spain and worked with chef Nandu Jubany at his restaurant Can Jubany.
Here, she learnt about the contrast between flavours, textures and ideas that can make food truly interesting. The menu here covers a range of cuisines including Catalan, Asian, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern. The LoveFools also holds experimental tastings every Tuesday where a group of strangers gather around the long table to share food and conversation.
We caught up with Sarita and chatted about what’s likely Bandra’s sexiest underground supper club.
Technique is something you are very focused on, tell us about a few interesting ways you have prepared dishes.
I love experimenting with new techniques and have created quite a few dishes that are unique in this way. One is the Catalan pizza or koko which has a sauce that is cooked for over 12 hours. For one of our lamb dishes, we’ve used a variety of techniques that have evolved over eight months where it is cooked for eight hours till the meat literally falls off the bone. For me, there is no such thing as a full stop when it comes to cooking, there is always something more that can be done to increase the flavour.
Tell us about your relationship with food.
Food is my happy space. I was always interested in cooking and food but it wasn’t until I spent time working in a kitchen that I realized this was something I could make my life. I love making people happy but I also love experimentation. This is what they do so well at places like Can Jubany. They spend months working on a dish or technique till it is perfect.
What were you doing before you began The LoveFools?
I was working in advertising and I’m also the co-founder of a leading HR firm called Catalyst.
What has been one of your favourite meals to cook so far?
More than the actual meals, what I enjoy most is cracking a new technique that heightens the flavor and elevates a dish. Recently, we made a new dish ‘Salmon Sous Vide in Edible Ash Butter’, which we served with brioche made by Jeena Clemont and coffee butter. Because sous vide food isn’t very flavourful, especially not for the Indian palette, we used to experiment with different ways of doing the sous vide to add flavour while retaining the moisture and texture that comes from the process. The edible ash was made with charred onion and it took quite a while to get that right as well. We wanted the black colour of ash but with the sweet caramelized flavor of onions. Getting this right took multiple trials but when it finally comes together, the feeling is incredible.
What was a big failure when it comes to experimentation?
By far my biggest failure was attempting toum or Lebanese garlic cream. It is made of garlic, olive oil and lemon. I must have wasted litres of oil trying to get this perfect. This was before I started The LoveFools and is actually one of the first things I learnt- emulsification that is- with Nandu Jubany.
What has been the weirdest demand you’ve gotten so far?
It was not one demand but a huge bunch of them! On one particular community dinner, I ended up serving guests who each had different requirements from gluten intolerant to vegan to Jain to no red meat and more! Somehow, they all landed up on the same day and made our work a little bit more challenging.
What are your favourite restaurants in Bombay?
In Bombay I love Wasabi, LPQ for croissants, Peshawari for Indian, Suzette for crepes, Salt Water Café, Oh Calcutta! and there’s this hole-in-the-wall in Fort called Taste of Kerala which is just fantastic.
Ingredients you can’t live without?
Citrus everything – lemons, oranges, lemongrass, and kaffir lime.
What is your most essential kitchen item?
Do you think India is ready for something as unique as The LoveFools?
I have been overwhelmed at the response to be honest. The idea of the community table is not new, we’ve been eating communally for generations so to bring it back to the fine dining space is the only new thing.
What are you planning to do with The LoveFools in the upcoming months?
In the coming months want to do themed dinners. We are kick-starting this with a seafood dinner in March, a pork dinner in April and a vegetarian dinner after that.
Keep track of the interesting dinners by The LoveFools here. We’re keenest to try the upcoming pork dinners.