Pre-opening chaos is intensified when Mallory books a table at the Maison Mumbai. Because of course she does.
It turns out that the restaurant is totally booked for opening night, and everyone who's anyone has booked a seat as well.
While the Hajis are in a mad rush across the street, Mallory is presiding over her own dinnertime oysters and duckling with intense care, as always. She makes sure that everything is ship-shape before she goes across the street to "get it over with" (7.32)… but come on, we know she's dying of curiosity.
Papa's large figure is welcoming everyone at the front door with warm hospitality, and Mallory and her right-hand man, Leblanc, are no exceptions. He greets them warmly and they are led to their table.
The crowd is having a great time, getting drunk off the house wine and marveling at the food coming to their tables. This is a treat for the town of Lumière, since they don't get Indian food much.
Hassan, mid rush, spills butter on the counter, and rather than tossing it he throws it back into the pan. Although he turns to the door and sees nothing, he felt the burning and hotly judging eyes of Mallory, who had poked her head in to see what's up.
The food arrives at Mallory's table, and she takes a bite and freaks out mid-sentence. Is she sick? She keeps moaning and starts making a scene, until finally, she starts to cry. Really, for all of her together-ness, she's kind of a basket case sometimes.
Finally the truth comes out. In that single bite, Mallory detects true genius, and she declares that Hassan is "an artist, a great artist" (7.87).
Mallory goes home and cries herself to sleep. The next morning she is up far before the break of dawn to beat the Maison Mumbai to the market.