Although we might still be a few degrees from sweater weather, there's always room in our hearts for warm biscuits and tea. A great reminder to stock up for such winter cravings is the new Karachi Bakery & Café that lights up a Bandra sidewalk like Christmas.
Inside this bakery, originally from Hyderabad, Spanish tiles and vintage plates are mounted on sincere brick walls. A sleek wooden bar lines the cafe, and the Wifi password is handed out with free samples from the oven.
Across from us, the display wall reads like a biscuit museum, and we linger over flaky choices. We shudder a bit when the server stabs each cookie during introductions, leaving both, the biscuits and us feeling a little violated.
But that doesn’t stop the biscuits from pleasing us: the coconut cookie is deliciously old-school; Osmania biscuits are so buttery, they collapse to the touch, the veritable salt biscuits of your childhood; jeera and ajwain versions will have you reconsidering everything you know about biscuits, pairing sharp pungent flavours with sweet, warm subtleties; and the almond biscotti score full points, loaded with badam and poised for a coffee dunk.
The coffee here is intense, the way we like it, but asking for a latte or a cappuccino (the only two options on the beverage menu) will yield the same thing — a tall mug of strong coffee with a thick head of foam. While this is certainly a good option when nibbling on a cookie, a cup of desi chai is sorely missed as a rusk pairing.
On the cafe front, there is no getting around the sad truth that Karachi Bakery disappoints. Cilantro chicken with multigrain bread is a soggy affair with too little meat and an unpleasant amount of stale bread. Grilled green chutney vegetable sandwich, a marvel of texture and structural engineering when done right, is a shadow of its best self — under-seasoned with slices of tomato, cucumber and bell peppers. The pastries also require much re-modelling; see for instance chocolate mud cake that delivers poor quality chocolate, which is also spotted in the macaron that balances like an acrobat atop it.
To avoid letting your day crumble around you, stay away from the puffs and pastries and save Karachi Bakery for a biscuit binge where good ol’ fashioned favourites (a mind-numbing variety of nankhatais, suji rusks, ajwain biscuits) and new world prescriptions (aatta-oat cookies and sugar-free ones) live together in harmony.
Getting there: 4, ground floor, Corner View Co-op Housing Society, 15th/33rd Road, Linking Road, Bandra (W), call 022 30151542. The bakery is accessed through a short flight of steps. A meal for two costs approximately Rs. 720.
This review was conducted by Anisha Oommen, food journalist and co-founder of The Goya Journal.
Sponsored: Take an Uber for your next visit to Karachi Bakery & Cafe.
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