Our review of Lemon Leaf's new outlet in Andheri West.
"Oogway: My friend, the panda will never fulfill his destiny, nor you yours until you let go of the illusion of control.
I believe Oogway made a reference to many pandas when he said that. The illusion of control is that i cannot ask the young Panda to serve a precise Cantonese meal or a Chinese meal-in-a-box when it (the Panda) has grown in the suburbs and wants to prepare a Funky Asian Gourmet ! Go Panda is neither Funky nor is it Gourmet; It is just Pan-Asian. The menu features a vast variety of Asian flavours right from Burmese Khau suey to Malay Korma to Thai Pot Rice. One can also find an outlandish amalgamation of Asian fillings inside Panini breads and Tacos.
Glamour Quotient :
Well, being situated in Lokhandwala and being subtle is a crime in itself. Therefore, Black, White and Red themed interiors and Yellow takeaway boxes with shiny laminated insides to complete the Lokhandwala fashion quotient.
Expat Flavours :
Overall, the use of ingredients and the generated flavours meet expectations of an informed audience, but may struggle to make it work in an area that is so contrived that it cannot grow beyond Frankies, Tandoori and Barista.
Some of the well worthy try outs would be the Prawns Nest, Barbeque Fish, Tom Kha Soup, Thai Jungle Curry and the Malaysian Lamb Korma (avoid the roti). The deep fried noodle wrapped Asian Prawns Nest works well as a quick bite with its sweet chili drizzle and so do the fragile pieces of Asian Barbeque Fish. Tom Kha Soup is rendered well in taste and texture, but may get rejection if auditioning for the first time to a desi palate. I sincerely loved its mix of flavours coming from the coconut base and kaffir lime leaves. The Jungle Curry traditionally known as 'Kaeng pa' in Thailand is known to not feature any element of coconut, but the version here is rendered with enough of it which works well to our taste-buds. The slow cooked Malay Lamb Kurma tastes alluring and can easily be consumed without it's dull looking roti.
The Vietnamese Smoke Chicken sandwich (mind you, it's not a Banh Mi) is only recommended to one with a craving for Wasabi; Overwhelming would be an understatement here. The Fish in Mustard Sauce is equally overwhelmed by it's mustard base so much so that none of the other ingredients could sensitize the palate. Our Chicken Satay came with barely any seasoning, a very inorganic flavour and overcooked meat. The Peanut Sauce supplied along can be best left unsoiled.
Wholesome portions, mostly well altered Asian flavours and a glamourous brand; 'Go Panda' has it all in order to break into the Lokhandwala food culture. It's a valiant effort by a bunch of young entrepreneurs that reflects their thought of bringing cuisines from various parts of this subcontinent under one roof. Moreover it's the only option in that part of the suburb which serves all these delicacies and for a reasonable amount.
My verdict - Go for their Signature Meals, Pot Meals and Appetizers.
Location : Shop 7, Grenville Building, Near Mala Tower, Andheri Lokhandwala
From being known as 'Pot Pourri' to going 'Lemon Grass' and now rechristened as 'Lemon Leaf', This eatery has held that spot at the corner of Turner Road & Ambedkar Road for many years now.
So in the last week on one humid night went here for dinner with a few close friends. As usual, The place was packed for dinner but we 3 got a table just as we entered and i guess that was the only one that was empty. The AC enclosure was filled too so we didn't have much options. The outside was in fact not bad. The coolers at the either ends did a good job.
So food was ordered - Assorted Veg Dumpling Basket, Chicken Stir Fry with Sticky Rice & Thai Style Rice with Chicken. Mind you, out of these 3 orders only the Basket was listed on the menu and the other two were one offs made to order since i myself requested for a portion of rice and gravy in one dish which no restaurant is interested to serve. So if you're picky with the price while ordering customized dish you will be left guessing till the bill arrives. So the restaurant should make it clear that either we do not have such customization or come up with some kind of meal combos. Thus everyone is happy.
The order arrived. First one was the 2 tier Veg Dumpling Basket. Hard to decipher what was what, but the Spinach & Garlic filled one was my pick of the lot. Dumplings although freshly steamed did not pack much flavours. Very average fair. The Dips were the saving grace. So to be true, at 625 bucks this basket is steeply priced and not worth the money. Next was the my plate of Sticky Rice and Chicken Stir Fry gravy. It was served with a below average tasting salad. For some reason that salad was garnished with chopped coriander. That just kills the whole point of having a near authentic meal. The rice was great in texture and so was the stir fry on my plate. Portion size is quite neat too. Tasted a few spoons of the other rice dish which was more or less bland. Lightly stir fried rice with Chicken and chunks of Cabbage and few more veggies. It tasted well but not nothing i can rave and recommend others.
Overall this place is a miss in my books for now. It could well be that we went for just the average run-of-the-mill dishes from the menu. May be if the person in-charge was attentive to us and recommended us something worthy of trying from the mains this wouldn't be the story.
These 3 orders made up for 1789/- including taxes. Not bad but definitely i've had better Pan Asian cuisine at that price point.