La Plage | The French Cottage of Old Manali

In the middle of apple orchards and with a beautiful 360 degree view of the Himalayas, there’s a pretty French cottage named “La Plage”. The beautiful property is aloof and located away from the mayhem of Manali.

Loitering around in the lanes of Old Manali, I found out about this place. We figured from a signboard, that it’s located about a kilometer from the Club house, Manali. On the spur of the moment, I, along with my siblings, decided to walk to the restaurant. However, halfway, we felt it would be a good idea to call them and find the exact location. To our surprise, they offered to pick us up. After a few minutes, we found ourselves in a car, heading to La Plage. I felt enchanted, looking at the orchards, flanking the petit road leading to our destination.

As soon as we entered, we fell in love with the place. Rows of apple trees, serene ambience, vintage songs in the background and the loveliest view of the Himalayas, it was just overwhelmingly beautiful! Kudos to Shivani Bhullar and her team for putting up such a great place in an equally impressive backdrop.

La Plage - Manali
La Plage – Manali

Their menu was very extensive, ranging from French Tarts, to Japanese Tempura and even Indian Kebabs, there was plenty to choose from. And the presence of a French Executive chef, explained the great collection of Wines on offer. We went there after a heavy meal at The Lazy Dog and no one really felt too hungry. However, the foodie in me couldn’t resist eating a few very tempting dishes. So, we ordered for:

  • Red Pepper Tart Tatin
  • Mutton Kebabs with Beetroot Dip and Fresh Salad

The staff was welcoming and looked after us with great warmth. They played wonderful music and even took care of our belongings, as we changed our tables a few times. I noticed, they even lit up extra candles on a table, where a couple was unobtrusively enjoying an early supper.

So far, only once I have had sweet Tart Tatin, made with apples. This one, however, was savoury, made with red pepper, puff pastry, cheese and smoked pepper, crushed and cooked as a curry. Served with in house bread, it was delicious and filling. The creamy taste, with a crunchy pastry and delicious sauce, was quite a revelation.

Red Pepper Tart Tatin - La Plage
Red Pepper Tart Tatin – La Plage

However, one bite of the beetroot dip with spicy mutton kebabs and it just blew my mind. The dip had a pungent and sweet taste, almost like a mix of wasabi and fruit. But the umami flavours were difficult to identify. The minced, smokey, spicy melt-in-mouth kebabs were given a contemporary makeover, as the salad served along with it, was Thai. The modish presentation suitably complimented the quirkiness of the dish.

Mutton Kebabs with beetroot dip - La Plage
Mutton Kebabs with beetroot dip – La Plage

The meal was over in no time, even though we weren’t too hungry. The flavours were way too inviting and we couldn’t just stop!

The bill came up to Rs. 860, inclusive of all taxes.

We sat there till they switched on the lights in the lawn and the apple trees were lit up beautifully. As city people, seldom do we get such opportunities to breathe fresh air, enjoy a quite meal and experience the sounds of nature. Even though we wanted to stay there for some more time, we had to return to the colourful jazzy lanes of Old Manali.

We were dropped at the Bridge, from where we walked back to our hotel with the wonderful memories of La Plage and a desire to visit the café soon again.

For more, Read : Best places to eat in Old Manali 

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