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Colaba has always been considered as one of the posh areas in Mumbai. This South Mumbai neighbourhood is prime real estate and also home to some fantastic restaurants over the years. The popular Colaba Causeway strip is always bursting with energy and home to some big names such as Delhi Darbar, Indigo and The Table. There are bars and restaurants in every nook and corner and by lane and the most recent addition to this area is Bandra's favourite, Lemon Leaf.
With an outlet in Andheri and a central kitchen in Bandra, it seemed like only the suburbs enjoyed all the Asian goodness this restaurant dishes out and now it is time for Colaba. The restaurant is in the same space that once housed Busaba and is a breath of fresh air. What used to be a dark dingy lounge with seating upstairs has morphed into a bright colourful and funky restaurant. As you enter, there are coloured walls, hanging airplanes and old transistor radios, a cosy waiting area to sip on your drinks while you wait for a table or enjoy some Asian inspired tapas. (They are a special Asian Tapas menu unlike their other outlets which is available 7 pm onwards)
Climb upstairs and the restaurant looks very different. Lots of natural light pouring in from their windows and balcony that also has tables with big comfortable cushioned chairs, a book shelf with some funky graffiti and elegant cutlery and crockery. The décor is a great change from the usual Chinese motifs and over powering shades of red and black to denote that it is an Asian eatery.
Lemon Leaf is known for their innovative dishes and affordable pricing and despite the fancy neighbourhood, none of that has changed. While the menu is not a replica of their other outlets, they do have a section including their signature dishes and favourites.
Highlights from their menu include the bacon wrapped prawns with miso maple which honestly is the best version of any bacon wrapped prawn dish. The prawns with gnocchi, chilli and burnt garlic that is served in a small cast iron skillet to keep it hot and the sizzling chicken sisig which is served in a similar manner. It is a Filipino dish that is made with pork but the chicken is a great substitute and comes with a fried egg on top.
The sushi and dim sum menus are what the restaurant is known for but it is the beef satay that is really worth your calories. The meat is soft and melts with every bite. For diners that are bored of staples and tried and tested dishes, ask the chef to recommend as they have a lot of variety with different dishes such as kimchi and bacon flavoured fried rice, a Sri Lankan fish curry, chicken adobo.
People with a sweet tooth might enjoy their version of chocolate sushi (a favourite from their menu at the now shut Aoi in Bandra) or their New York style cheesecake with miso caramel. However, the real hero on their dessert menu is their incredibly unusual flavoured ice creams. They have a black sesame, pumpkin pie, beetroot and jackfruit ice cream which might sound bizarre but are actually incredible. The pumpkin pie and the beetroot ones are quite something.
The restaurant does not have its liquor license yet but are hoping to operate on a beer and wine license till then. Future plans include an exquisite Asian style Sunday brunch menu, bento boxes for lunch and deliveries.