My journal of foood musings and eating memoirs
Le Casse-Croute, read as “La Cass-Crew-ta”, that’s how we pronounce it says the Frenchman, Nicolas Grossemy, Co founder and Chef at Le Casse-Croute. Le Casse-Croute is Bangalore’s newest and nicest looking food truck that is run by two Frenchmen, Nicolas Grossemy and Nicolas Mirguet and a French woman, Johanne Barbier who dare to give you French cuisine that is beyond the preconceived fine dining gourmet experience. As the name suggests, what you will get is an informal snack which is rather novel, affordable, casual and personal, just the way they dreamed of sharing their take on French food. I had the wonderful opportunity of meeting the Nicolas’s (Nicolas Grossemy and another Nicolas!) of Le Casse-Croute and spent a little extra time chatting with Nicolas Grossemy about this food truck phenomenon. Here are some anecdotes and notes from our conversation.
Let’s get to the food right away.Le Casse-Croute primarily serves Croque, read as croak, which are toasted sandwiches. Yes, I know, for most of us French food is about cheese and wine and names of dishes that we can barely pronounce.Oh wait, the names are still a bit of a challenge. Well, you will believe me when you hear the Frenchman say it. The menu is simple and the core of which are five different French toasted sandwiches, Monsieur Le Goff ( Prawn croque) Monsieur Martin (Bacon croque) , Mademoiselle Fontaine (Omelet croque), Monsieur Dupleix (Chicken croque) and Madame Garcia (Mozzarella with Pesto croque) .
Do not fret, look at the menu and you will see a perfectly described sandwich. These gorgeous sounding beings are made of freshly baked bread and freshly made sauces (Ketchup, Mustard, Aioli, Béchamel, Pesto, and Mayonnaise) made from freshly bought local produce. None of it is store bought. Now, that’s a first. As Nicolas G, explains “We decided to focus on a few items and to serve it right. Everything is home made and the food served is the kind that can be served on a food truck, that which is easy to serve and eat”. Will you find these sandwiches in France, I pried. “It’s not exactly as it would be in France as they come in Baguettes which are not toasted. We found out that Indians find the Baguette pretty hard to eat and so we made bread that is light and soft, something like a Bun. But yes, the sandwich is really common in France. As for the filling its authentic French served by French people. The sauces were carefully chosen for each sandwich which is typical of different parts of France”. The team spent over a year experimenting and creating the bread and it’s components from scratch. “This recipe is sure not to be found on the internet and is home made which was developed over a long process of experimentation.” So there you have it, home made bread that helps make an easily eatable sandwich with common French components served by French people.
While the toasted sandwiches form the major part of what is offered, they also serve one drink, the Cool Marie which is a Fresh Watermelon juice with squeezed Lemon infused with Basil leaves, two sides – Frites or French fries, Gaspacho, a cold soup made of Tomato, Cucumber, green and red Pepper and fresh Basil leaves and one dessert, Caramel Cream, made with salted butter. All of which is home made.
The chef’s recommendation…
These beings, the gorgeous named Croque are very appealing to me. But for the confused soul that is wondering which of these to try, here is the chef’s recommendation. “Madame Garcia for the vegetarian and Monsieur Martin (Bacon croque) for the non vegetarian. Madame Garcia is a toasted sandwich of Mozzarella and Pesto which is made from one of the best Mozzarella available in Bangalore. This cheese is sourced from a monk and is the best! It melts beautifully when it is toasted. Even the Pesto sauce used I would say is even better than the one you would find in south France. If you eat meat, I would say try the Bacon croque, Monsieur Martin. It is really good!” After which he quite obviously proclaimed that all are really good and that they have done very well, pretty much like a dad who simply cannot choose from among his children.
Now that the food was discussed, I moved on to the second most important ingredient, the packaging. We spoke about the names of the food, “The sandwiches are named after common names from different regions of France and its ingredients are typical from those regions as well. For example, Monsieur Le Goff is a common name from west France”.
And then the charming old world truck painted in the colours of France and stamped with the Beret and a moustache. “The Beret is a symbol of France and the moustache is for India! Like French people making food in India!” When you visit do take a close look at the truck, it’s a Matador that has been transformed into a shiny new food truck. “The Matador was bought over the internet. It was yellow and in a very bad shape. It took us nine long months to restore and refurbish”. I would say the hard work has certainly paid off. I love the truck and its minimalistic design, especially the moustache and the Beret in the front.
Le Casse-Croute intends to keep its food simple and delicious. The coming days could see another vegetarian dish added as they are limited on the menu.
Having met the Nicolas’s and hearing their story, I can say without a doubt that a lot of thought and care has gone into creating the food and the experience. The food is original, fresh and simple and definitely worth a try. This has to be said, they are simply the sweetest French people I have met. From giving me their time to showing me around their “atelier” and the food truck, they were exceptionally kind .Here’s wishing the Nicolas’s and Johanne the best of luck!
The back story…
Nicolas Grossemy, Nicolas Mirguet and Johanne Barbier are co founders and chefs at the Le Casse-Croute. Nicolas G comes from the north of France while Nicolas M and Johanne come from Bordeaux, south France. Each brings their varied culinary influences to the Le Casse-Croute experience. Nicolas G has been in Bangalore for over a year and a half and Nicolas M and Johanne have spent over three years in Bangalore. Before coming to Bangalore, Nicolas G was working at a restaurant in France during which he realized that he wanted to start a food business. He came to Bangalore for an intern ship where he met Nicolas M and Johanne who also shared a similar dream. Together they drew a business plan to start a restaurant that’s casual and inexpensive which brings French food to people out here. As it turned out they faced a few problems in opening a restaurant and therefore decided to offer a more personal experience through a food truck. Although there was a change from the original plan they have stayed true to their dream of giving us an affordable and casual French food experience!
Track the truck by following them on Face book and Twitter.