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 Plush millennial pink velvet seating, shiny gilt touches, soft-focused lighting, and decadent hand-plated desserts — everything at Monèr is made for the ‘Gram. 

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Let’s be honest, we haven’t encountered a perfect, beautifully plated dessert for a while now. Hand-poured syrups, liquid nitrogen concoctions, and fusion of two popular desserts (we’re looking at you cronut) are last year’s news. This year, just when we were looking to feel inspired, Monèr comes along with its shiny tarts and glossy quenelles. Think originality and style, all served with the right amount of imagination.

Monèr is the brainchild of 25-year-old Chef Freny Fernandes, who has worked at multiple Michelin-star restaurants in New York, including Chef Daniel Boulud’s three Michelin-starred eponymous restaurant. From honing her skills at Mumbai’s JW Marriott Juhu to studying at The Culinary Institute of America and even creating fabulous desserts at Tiffany’s Blue Box Café, popular for Priyanka Chopra’s bridal shower, Chef Freny has already raked up several accolades.

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Chef Freny Fernandes

“I’ve always wanted to have my own space, and create original desserts that no one had heard of,” says Chef Freny about her passion for baking and why she chose to come back and be her own boss. “It’s art on a plate and there’s only one of its kind available in the world,” she explains with a grin about Monèr’s offerings. 

Monèr is a bistro during the day, serving up small savoury plates, and slowly graduates to a brightly lit bar / midnight cafe that promises memorable desserts. Apart from the minimalist tables and velvet sofas, the space hosts a dessert bar where smaller plates are set aside for a little look-in through a glass shelf — a scene that looks straight out of a Bridgerton party (hello Religieuse Choux Pastries and Citron Meringue Tarts). There’s also a private dining area with high bar stools and a plating counter for the chef to entertain at. 

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We start off with the small, savoury plates — simple fare with fresh ingredients delivered through fresh salads, soups, sandwiches, and an occasional slow-roasted salmon and a creamy burrata — from the day menu. The Mushroom on Toast is basic, while the Harissa Spiced Chicken is mildly hot and goes down beautifully. The eight-hour cooked Pork Belly stood out for us for its flavourful burst of tart and spice, not to mention the meat falling off the bone and melting in our mouths. 

Come 7:00 pm, the handcrafted gourmet desserts, which go hand-in-hand with three course/five course meals, make an appearance. It’s an immersive experience and Chef Freny’s degustation menu is anything but ordinary.

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We start off with the Dawn in the Meadows, an amuse-bouche of sorts made with a kaffir lime granita. Tangy and fresh, it also features green apple slices, meringue bites, and pumpkin seeds – so many textures in one perfectly balanced and fresh dessert! Next up is Au Revoir Autumn, an ode to NYC winters and in shades of red — there’s the soft and shaky vanilla bean panna cotta, a slightly creamy strawberry sorbet, macerated strawberries, meringue kisses, and a raspberry tuile. Again on the slightly tart side, the panna cotta balances the dish beautifully and the tuile is extra crunchy. 

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Dawn in the Meadows

The next one, the Phases of the Moon is the star of the show. Earl Grey tea gelato paired with chocolate ganache on a crescent-shaped vanilla sablé, it has add-ons like berry coulis and chocolate soil. Definitely, a stand-out dessert that perfectly balances the unique Earl Grey flavour with chocolate ganache — not too sweet, not bitter.  The next dish, called Walk Through the Woods, is a chocolate coulant filled with liquid caramel and ganache in the centre, alongside a crisp cocoa and chocolate tuile paired with creamy coffee ice-cream. While we enjoyed it, note that the cake is a tad on the heavier side. 

The final dessert plate, aptly called Jardin Du Rose is everything Monèr wants to be known for — exceptional taste and design, and one of a kind. A raspberry and rose parfait in the shape of a rose is served with a pistachio air cake, handmade pistachio baklava, chocolate soil, rose caviar, and edible flowers. It’s got middle-eastern bits dancing around with sophisticated NYC flavours, all of which come around to create a gorgeous effect. 

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Jardin Du Rose

At Monèr, one thing is for certain — there’s an instant, fresh feel to the menu, which when compiled with eclectic ingredients and a stunning plating experience, really mesmerise the senses. So yes, come for the Insta-Reels but stay for the stunning, original, one-of-a-kind desserts. 

Where: Perry Cross Road, Pali Hill, Mumbai, Maharashtra
Opening hours: 12:00 noon onwards for the day menu. The dessert bar is open from 7:00 pm – 11:00 pm, Tuesday-Sunday, and comprises only a sit-down menu with options of à la carte, prix- fixe (prefix), and pairing menus.
Recommended desserts: Jardin Du Rose and Phases of the Moon
Price: Rs 2,000 plus taxes, for two
Noise levels: Medium
Service: Well-informed, polite, knowledgeable. 

Images: Courtesy brand

Latha Sunadh
Deputy Editor
When she's not trying on a new serum, researching on yet another classic fragrance and sharing lip balms with her 5-year old daughter, Latha Sunadh keeps it reined in with a nice song and a good book. Special skills include obsessing over handmade, home-made and handcrafted luxuries.