WORDS: CHERYL-ANN COUTO
PHOTOGRAPHS: HASHIM BADANI
GO FROM: All metros
GO FOR: The incorrigible sweet tooth
Kick off a tour of Mumbai’s best desserts with a pancake as big as your head. At seafood restaurant Bastian in Bandra, the pillowy disk, sprinkled liberally with dark, milk and white Callebaut chocolate chips, is deceptively light. You’ll need the space for affogatos at nearby Koinonia Coffee Roasters, made with scoops from Bono Boutique Ice Cream’s stable. Start with a cautious bite of the chocolate truffle oil affogato – its silken amalgamation of sweet, salty, acrid and umami is startling. Those less prone to ordering the weirdest thing on the menu can opt for the familiar-yet-equally-engrossing salted caramel or hazelnut options.
Koinonia’s coffees also play match to the bijoux-like bonbons at La Folie Du Chocolat across town, in the heritage Fort district. After two patisseries and a café, chef Sanjana Patel wanted to open a veritable chocolate atelier, and the dusty-rose-and-gold interiors along with her gleaming, complex hemispherical candies say she has succeeded. The Kyoto melds milk chocolate, Yuzu citrus ganache and dry strawberry shards, and the vegan Bali combines coconut water, caramel and black sesame nougatine.
Practise clean dessert eating at Sequel Bistro & Juice Bar next door, the all-gluten-and-refined-sugar-free restaurant’s second outpost in Mumbai. The Raw Avo Mousse reveals its magic at second bite, when you’ve adjusted to the muddy-bitter Peruvian cacao and know to anticipate the tart surprise ending courtesy nubs of freeze-dried raspberry. But, if you can’t have your sweet tooth tarnished by healthy mumbo-jumbo, cut across to Le 15 Café in Colaba for some old-school sinning. Good luck choosing between Justina (warm, moist babka with vanilla cream), Julie and Carla – it’s like picking between best friends, just harder.
To add a shade of discovery to your sugar binge, hail a cab to Bohri Mohalla, a cluster of lanes near Bhendi Bazaar, sacred to the city’s meat lovers for their cheap, greasy – and inordinately delicious – Bohri delicacies. Past the shammi kebabs sizzling on great black tavas, streamers of marinated chicken tikka in shop fronts, and wobbly towers of freshly baked, flour-dusted naans, you’ll find Taj Ice Cream. The Icecreamwala family has been hand-churning ice cream since 1887 at this tiny parlour. The milky, pudding-like treats come in a wide range of seasonal and unseasonal fruit flavours – the custard apple and strawberry are dependably delicious, but the faithful cross their hearts over the fresh Alphonso mango.
Ride the sea link back to Bandra to conclude a sweet day at O Pedro, in the business hub of BKC. Brought to you by The Bombay Canteen team, the modern Goan bar and restaurant has been calibrated for nostalgia in everything from the mumsily swish interiors to a menu stuffed with made-over Goan classics (smoked pork ribs vindaloo, sourdough poee, veg ‘choris’ chilli fry) to the dessert menu by pastry chef Heena Punwani. Here, set your sights on the crunchy-creamy egg custard tarts (` 295), but save the last dance for the serradurra , a traditional Portuguese dessert, layered with orange caramel, orange segments and topped with toasted Marie-biscuit dust – all of which arrive on your palate as a single implosion of flavour and texture. You know in your soul that the countless burpees will be worth it.