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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Sinful bakes to end a year & start a new one!

Ever been undecided about where to pick up a cake from, for a birthday or a party? This simple decision could just get a lot more confusing because of even more choice being available in a glutted market. In Mumbai, we have chains like Monginis, Birdys and standalone ones like Theobroma, Ovenfresh, Gaylord or La Patisserie - the Taj Cake shop - just to name a few, who bake drool-worthy cakes to suit every budget.

Now crowding this space are coffee bars like Cafe Coffee Day (CCD) and Barista. They have both decided to sell entire cakes rather than just slices of it. So, while a 1 kg Chocolate Fantasy or the scrumptious Chocolate Blackforest at CCD is priced at Rs 498 with taxes (and a Rs 50 rebate it was offering a while ago), it works out to Rs 448 only.

Barista has followed CCD by introducing a range of cakes for sale as well, with a pre-tax price of Rs 449, which when I enquired, will work out to over Rs 500, for a 1 kg cake. So, obviously CCD works out cheaper but at the moment, there are only three kinds of cakes you can order from them - Chocolate Fantasy, Choco Blackforest and Mystery Mousse.

Barista seems to have taken a jolt of their Lavazza espresso and woken up to see what more they can do, to keep caffeine-lovers coming back to their coffeeshops. Their eats still languish till the end of the day, while CCD's brownies, muffins and chicken sandwiches often is sold out. That's people's taste buds voting for where the foodstuff is better!

Barista has a tendency to do things by fits and starts, so there are times when they have introduced a really good pastry - and given us a taste of it - then they have inexplicably withdrawn it after a few months. You won't see the Coffee Almond pastry anymore - that's because it's now become a 1 kg cake, that you have to order, in order to enjoy it.

Similarly, there was a Chocolate Cheese Marbled cake pastry, which was the only thing I liked at Barista, apart from the Coffee Almond delicacy, and even this they have discontinued. They seem to like removing things from their menu, that I particularly like.

Cafe Coffee Day is far less annoying and their standards keep improving. Their staff are also far more interested in their customers being satisfied, with the quality of service provided, than is the case with Barista.

I've always been a CCD addict (and well, Moshe's!) and I'm looking forward to the new lounges that are being opened soon. The first one has just opened in Bangalore. I'm sure, the eats and the treats will be something to look forward to - along with me being able to 'craft their menu' as their website states. I think this means, a customised experience altogether.

Besides with names like Black Woods, Apple Paradiso, Sinner's Heaven and French Cheesecake for their desserts and Strawberry Fields, Caribbean Heaven and Choco Decks for their sundaes, they just can't miss.

The other cake shops all have their specials. So at Gaylord, I would recommend the Biscuit cake, which is such a deep, dark chocolate cake, that it takes time for people to recover from it! With the 'with-egg' one costing Rs 478 and an eggless one costing an odd Rs 501 - it is worth digging into.

Everything I've ever tried from the Taj cake shop has been amazing - their cakes and their Christmas puddings. But at Rs 750 a kg, they are worth the price but may not fit everyone's budget. Moshe's is another hi-end option to try, if you are in the mood to be a spendthrift for a special occasion. Their L'orange and Philadelphia Baked Cheesecake are finger-licking good. The cakes here are priced higher than at CCD, Barista, Gaylord, Birdys and Monginis but I've bought a three-dimensional 'Landscape' cake - complete with a house, flower garden and little toy cars on it - for Rs 1,500 - from Desserts R Us. It was for a special birthday.

Birdys and Ovenfresh are great as well. Ovenfresh bakes them fresh on-location and through the day and their Royal Mousse cake or their Fresh Fruit Overload sells like hot cakes..literally. Their 1 kg cakes are priced between Rs 310 to Rs 800 depending on what you buy. The Fruit Overload costs Rs 310 for a kg while the 'Desire', which has three layers of Belgian chocolate, white chocolate and dark chocolate with raspberry flavouring on top because of which it gets a scrumptious maroon colour, is priced at Rs 800 for a 1 kg cake.

This is the only place in Mumbai that I know of, which makes pastry like the Chocolate Cheesecake Brownie, which is a gooey generous layer of cheese within two thick layers of Belgium chocolate brownie. Got to try it to know what you are missing. Besides, Ovenfresh is also creative with the names of its pastries - like 'Mandarin', 'Charlotte', 'Banoffee' and 'Desire', which do fulfill desires!

Both Birdys and Monginis sell more affordable cakes. Here the house specialities - at Birdys is a Mango Torte priced at Rs 500 a kg. This is a scrumptious mango cake with chocolate layer dripping all over it. Their blueberry cheesecake is also worth a try. The only drawback is that, Birdys tends to stick to baking the same things forever.

In contrast, Monginis tries variations all the time, and they have cakes to suit all tastes and budgets. The interesting ones are a Caramel cake which has loads of fresh cream and caramel topping, priced at Rs 650 for a 1 kg cake. Another unique looking cake to show up at a party with, is the Blue Grape cake, which has blue grape pulp filling inside as well as a blue coloured syrup, as frosting, on top of the cake.

So go right ahead and try out some of these sinful delights. I think even the Gods envy us when we do.

(Pictures are from the brands' sites and from burrp.com)

1 comment:

Gajendra Gahlot said...

Very nice & informative article.

Keep up the good work :)