Mumbai’s culinary culture and history – not to mention its collective sweet-tooth – are underscored in the many bakeries that dot the city. Attracting all kinds of people, by spending a few hours in one you’ll spot the worker-bees, the wannabes and perhaps even a Bollywood starlet. Some Mumbai bakeries hark back to a bygone era with their Formica chairs and antique clocks, while others offer a more modern, European vibe. Across the city, traditional bakeries, often founded by Iranian migrants in the 1950s, compete with modern chains. Here are our top picks for when your next sugar craving hits...
Le 15 Patisserie
Bringing a touch of Parisian chic to Mumbai, Pooja Dhingra is a trailblazer of modern Mumbai baking. Young and talented, she trained overseas at the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. At her smart Le 15 Patisserie, Dhingra has personally tested each and every one of her recipes, something she refers to as ‘a labour of love.’ Macarons, cupcakes, tarts, dessert jars are now for sale at three outlets around Mumbai. The top treats to try are the chocolate salted tarts and raspberry and lemon cupcakes.
Rachel Goenka, co-founder of the Sassy Spoon, trained at both Le Cordon Bleu and Ireland’s Ballymaloe Cookery School. In February this year, along with celebrated chef Irfan Pabaney, she opened a trendy restaurant in Mumbai’s Nariman Point, which has a firm emphasis on baking. Hailed by the critics as one of Mumbai’s most colourful and stylish eateries, Goenka’s ‘passion for patisserie’ shines through. Her ‘sassy stacks’, a clever take on the classic red velvet cupcake craze, are particularly popular, as is the calorific caramel peanut tart, a bit like a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, but better.
Express Towers, Ramnath Goenka Marg, Nariman Point, Mumbai
Indian-Iranians have long been a part of the cafe scene in Mumbai. In the 19th century many Persians migrated to India overland and by the 1950s the Iranian bakery was a common sight, with almost 350 in Mumbai alone. Nowadays, there are only around 25 left – most of which are still family-run – and it is the Yazdani Restaurant and Bakery that remains the best known. Since opening in 1951, the ovens have baked thousands of pav (bread rolls) a day, and it is these that the bakery is renowned for. Arrive early for the freshest samples.
11 Cawasji Patel Street, Mumbai
Oberoi Patisserie & Delicatessen
If you’re feeling flush, the place to head to now for some sugary treats is the Oberoi hotel’s Patisserie and Delicatessen. Newly refurbished, with smart tangerine coloured walls, the ovens here puff out dozens of croissants, muffins, quiches and brioches every day. There's even a baking schedule so that customers can be sure that their orders are super fresh, and there are also baking classes and demonstrations to get involved with too.
Written by Caroline Eden
Have you tested any of these top Mumbai bakeries? Where do you go in the city to satisfy your sweet tooth?
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About the author: CarolineEdenCaroline Eden
Award-winning travel writer and broadcaster Caroline Eden specialises in Asia. She regularly contributes to international media including the BBC, Geographical, National Geographic Traveller, Conde Nast Traveller and Asian Art Newspaper. She is also on the judging panel for the annual Asia Spa Awards. Follow her on Twitter as @edentravels.