Thursday, 11 September 2008

American Express Bakery - Small pleasures

Theobroma, is the only bakery/patisserie I had heard of before moving to Mumbai. My love for it could run into pages, but I’m not going to dwell on that here. My first two wonderful (in retrospect) years in Mumbai were spent in the posh area of Bandra West.

Once walking on Hill Road, which doesn’t posses any posh-ness that one would associate with Bandra, I came across a modest looking place called ‘American Express’ Bakery. At first, was a little wary of entering this place as there is a laundry right door bearing the same name! The bakery is open in the evening and shuts at 8:30. Never been able to figure out if they are open mornings as well.

An ideal place for the health conscious, they have a wide range of breads & biscuits in the whole wheat variety. The USP of this place I would say is some fairly fancy stuff at very affordable rates.

A limited variety of tea-time cakes & pies are available. The Hungarian Coffee Cake is definitely worth savoring; very moist with just the right taste of coffee. The quiches are well-made with a fair choice for non-vegetarians as well (I’m veg. so can’t comment). The wraps are tasty, but usually soggy, hence avoidable.

The basil & sun-dried tomatoes loaf is worth a savor, and makes a good accompaniment with a salad. Or just heat in the oven and have it as is! The garlic bread with a whole wheat base, shaped like a loaf of French bread (du pain) with a lovely soft garlicky centre.

The blueberry cheesecake has a lovely fresh taste to it. Although, I’ve never tried the chocolate based delights, as that’s reserved for Theobroma (darn! I was not to mention the name) they all look delectable.

Owned by Goans, it’s a fun place to visit during Easter, X’Mas etc. Easter eggs, hot cross buns, marzipans, christmas cake, guava jelly, the list is endless.

On being asked why they called themselves Amercian Express, I was told it was because they catered to American ships that visited Bombay, and the service they rendered was speedy or express. The baking is done at Byculla, and the owner proudly added we’re a fine example of communal harmony; we’ve got Hindus, Muslims, Christians working under the same roof since we’ve been in operation (that’s nearly a century) and have had no problem till date. It helps if the owner is around; she's always glad to suggest something new, which once may miss.

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