Let’s not beat about the bush, reader. A careful study of LMNOPQ’s menu might give you the impression that its food is going to be less than amazing. This is correct. The restaurant’s Asian and Asian-adjacent dishes may be a lot of things but great they aren’t. Are they good? That depends on what you’re looking for.
This writer’s excuse was curiosity about what has become of Ivy, the wine bar once beloved of broke tipplers and kids drinking their first pitchers of sangria. (The restaurant still has a wine list; but trust us, the red wine sangria definitely doesn’t taste the way it used to back when we were short on both money and common sense.)
If you’re after a cosy, convivial sort of atmosphere where you can let small children run around, chat with staff, or meet friends in a place that isn’t rushed or intimidating, then LMNOPQ might be your sweet spot. (That name is a sweet spot all its own: we’re told that the letters occupy the middle of the alphabet, just as the cuisines on offer are meant to belong “in the middle of everything.”)
It often feels like all the establishments that open in the stretch of Khar-Bandra between Mini Punjab and Barbeque Nation exist solely to cater to clientele stumbling in with a bad case of post-blaze munchies.
If it’s extra-salted, densely-sauced fun you’re after, congratulations: please rush right over. LMNOPQ doesn’t skimp on flavour: everything from the wasabi mayo on crab avocado rolls to the weirdly fishy sauce on ‘LMNOPQ crispy chicken’ is calibrated to wake up jaded palates. Alas, if your palate is in good working order you will be left reaching for glass after glass of water to wash it all down.
Thai herbed chicken dumplings are pink and ridiculously cute to look at, although they are a bit too dense for greatness. “Spiced cottage cheese bird chilli” bao, on the other hand, looks and feels like eating kulcha at a Delhi dhaba. Who’s going to tell Mini Punjab that they have competition? Together with the cutesy furniture-serveware, fashioned into carriages and park benches, LMNOPQ feels like the trucker version of modern fusion food. Why else, in a perfectly nice bowl of creamy Thai-curried chicken and stir-fried noodles, would they add truffle fries?
No, we’re not kidding - and yes, each individual component of this astonishing dish, the LMNOPQ chef’s special bowl, is delicious in isolation. So is the best thing about our meal, a peanut butter and Nutella pie that tastes like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, in the cosiest and most decadent way possible.
It’s the dessert that helps us finally make the connection between all the food at this restaurant, and around the neighbourhood. It often feels like all the establishments that open in the stretch of Khar-Bandra between Mini Punjab and Barbeque Nation exist solely to cater to clientele stumbling in with a bad case of post-blaze munchies. As good a reason as any to occupy this middle ground.
Getting there: LMNOPQ, Shop 6, Mangal Bhavan, Khar Pali Road, next to Jai Jawan and Café Mangii. A meal for three with a round of drinks costs Rs 4,770.
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