Home / Mint-lounge / Features /  Lounge Review: Star Anise

Star Anise, which joins Bandra’s busier-than-ever sweet scene, sits in a tough, cramped spot next to Shoppers Stop on Linking Road. It’s a good thing its launch precedes the opening of La Folie Lab—the third outlet by French-trained chef Sanjana Patel—on Hill Road this September because the design and display of its palm-sized gateaux are modelled almost completely on the successful French patisserie.

The good stuff

The Star Anise boutique seems to be dressed down intentionally to showcase chef Anees Khan’s intricate, multi-element creations. Domes, orbs, cylinders and cuboids of pastry are housed like expensive jewellery in sliding glass cabinets. Shelves and countertops also hold a variety of bread loaves, viennoiseries, petit fours and fruit preserves.

We picked up a mixed bag of treats in order to test Khan’s baking prowess. From the savouries, we chose a brie, asparagus, tomato and mustard quiche ( 90) and a Sri Lankan spiced chicken puff ( 90) and preferred the flaky pastry stuffed with moist chunks of meat over the heavy, doughy shortcrust pie. For dessert, we tried and loved the velvety Aimée ( 195), an airy half-moon, cream-filled, rose- and lychee-flavoured Genoise sponge with a raspberry centre. The not-too-sweet custard is offset perfectly by the tart berry compote.

Another indulgence is the Sous L’équateur ( 265), which employs dark chocolate extravagantly. The menu description promises a single-origin 71% Ecuadorian dark couverture mousse, smoked chocolate ganache and balsamic strawberries but the end product isn’t as sophisticated as you’d expect. The smoky notes and balsamic tang are lost to the unnecessary spherical sweet chocolate casing but it’s still a great chocolate and berry pudding. It is unfortunate that the lemon tart ( 165) suffers a similar fate—the rectangular pie has a superlative lemon and strawberry filling but it’s let down severely by a dense and hard biscuit crust.

We had better luck with the breads—the wholewheat orange and honey loaf ( 60) is super soft, a delight to toast and serve with butter, the Parmesan herbed grissini ( 120) are easily the best breadsticks we’ve tasted in the city, crisp and light, with an addictive burnt cheese coating. A French patisserie test would be incomplete without sampling the croissant, and we’re happy to report that Star Anise makes a decent attempt—not a patch on the crescents at Suzette but still buttery, with distinct layers and a flaky shell.

The not-so-good

Star Anise feels a lot like a five-star hotel’s in-house patisserie—everything has a consistent, glossy finish but the flavours are dumbed down and everything looks better than it tastes. Some of the most expensive desserts did not look good either; the icing work and moulded chocolate cases were clumsy.

Talk plastic

Breads, cupcakes, petit fours and savoury snacks have standard prices—from 30 for burger buns and 70 for a fruit danish to 110 for a Harissa chicken puff and 195 for a musk melon and star anise jam.

Star Anise, No.2A, 264 Geeta Niketan, next to Shoppers Stop, Linking Road, Bandra (West) (65186666/26404386). Open daily from 11am-11pm.

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