La Forno Café, a new restaurant in Thiruvananthapuram, has Italian and French flavours on its menu along with a range of fresh bakes

La Forno Café on Ambalamukku-Muttada Road, led by two experienced chefs, has artisanal breads in addition to popular Continental cuisine

January 20, 2023 12:26 pm | Updated 12:26 pm IST

  La Forno Café in Thiruvananthapuram.

  La Forno Café in Thiruvananthapuram. | Photo Credit: Indu Ponappan

The thin slices of crisp, warm rye bread whets your appetite. Served with olive oil and vinaigrette, the rye slices are polished off in no time while we place our order for fresh juice, chicken pie, panini sandwiches and chicken parmigiana.

Multigrain and seed bread from  La Forno Café in Thiruvananthapuram

Multigrain and seed bread from La Forno Café in Thiruvananthapuram | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

That is when Chef Roy Satheesan joins us for a chat. Two chefs – Roy and Dinesh Lal, and well-travelled gourmets, Anila Shaji and Shaji Nair, put their heads together to decide the menu at Le Forno Cafe. The name of the cafe itself has been taken from the Italian ‘forno’ for oven and the French ‘four’, which also means oven, says Satheesan.

Blueberry muffins at the newly-opened La Forno Cafe in Thiruvananthapuram

Blueberry muffins at the newly-opened La Forno Cafe in Thiruvananthapuram | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Situated on the Ambalamukku-Muttada road, Le Forno’s ample parking space is an advantage. And the menu that focusses on Continental food alone comes as a refreshing change from the multi-cuisine options in Thiruvananthapuram.

Says Roy, “Both of us as well as the investors have worked abroad. We found that different kinds of breads, especially sourdough bread, are not easily available in the city. The advantage of sourdough is that there is no yeast in it and so it is easy on the stomach.”

Chicken parmigiana

Chicken parmigiana | Photo Credit: Saraswathy Nagarajan

The cafe has three kinds of sourdough bread – rye, whole wheat and white. Then there are baguettes, croissants and several varities of cookies. Since we were in for dinner, we skipped the cookies for something some substantial.

The cold-pressed juice arrive first. Pineapple with a dash of honey and green chilli has an interesting blend of flavours that wake up the taste buds. The mild hotness of the chilli enhances the flavour of the pineapple. The cappuccino and hot chocolate do not disappoint.

Cuisine: Continental
Cost: Rs. 1,000 for two
Location: Ambalamukku-Muttada Road

Before we finish the juice, the main courses arrive. The hot chicken pie is a delight with its crumbly pastry and a delectable filling of chicken, green peas and carrots. We order a second one before tucking into the cheesy chicken parmigiana that has been plated with a side of pesto spaghetti. Resting on a bed of sauce and seasoning, the chicken is tender, subtly flavoured and cheesy, as it should be. We are told that the pasta has come all the way from Italy and so even though it is cooked well, it has not turned mushy and has a bite to it.

Freshly baked almond croissants is one of the croissants available in the newly-opened La Forno Cafe in Thiruvananthapuram

Freshly baked almond croissants is one of the croissants available in the newly-opened La Forno Cafe in Thiruvananthapuram | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Our warm chicken panini consists of two slices of ciabatta bread filled with a generous helping of chicken. We have it cut into pieces. The bread was of a different class altogether, the filling is what we have had before. The excitement of the pie is not there in the sandwich.

Strawberry tart at La Forno Cafe in Thiruvananthapuram 

Strawberry tart at La Forno Cafe in Thiruvananthapuram  | Photo Credit: Saraswathy Nagarajan

As if to make up for that, the desserts – hot apple pie, blueberry pie and fresh strawberry tart are a gourmand’s dream-come-true. The dusting of cinnamon powder and sugar combine marvellously with the warm apple pie without overpowering the pieces of apple and crust. Then we move on to the blueberry pie. The warm, sticky blueberry compote melts in the mouth and the plate is empty. Now, comes the fresh strawberry on a bed of fresh cream and a crisp tart. The smiles on our face makes Chef Roy smile too!

He suggests we try the fresh Beignets, deep-fried French fritters coated in sugar and served with Vanilla bean ice-cream or the gianduja tarts, “roasted hazelnut and Belgium milk chocolate cremeaux in a flaky tart shell”. Although it sounds tempting, we were satiated by then and decided to visit another day to try all that.

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