I learnt the word theobroma in school, from a bright blue book called Student’s Companion, along with a few other tongue-twisters like ‘perspicacious’ and ‘prestidigitator’. The book opened up my eyes to the universe of English words that stretched beyond 3 syllables, and the art of using them correctly without straying into ‘malapropism’ 😉 Alright, alright, enough with the language lessons already! But funnily enough, these same two words – perspicacious and prestidigitator – came to mind when I stepped into the new, charming, English-garden like outlet of Theobroma in BKC.
And Kainaz Messman, the brave heart and the delicate hand behind the beautiful and delicious creations of Mumbai’s premier patisserie chain, Theobroma, is the reason why.
As we sat on bright green wooden park benches, waiting to try the new additions of soups and salads to the menu, Kainaz kept a hawk eye on every passing plate that left the kitchen door – a deft touch here, a quick flick there, and it was perfect enough to be served! It was almost like seeing myself in the mirror 😉 I chuckled inwardly, wondering how tough her team would have had it, to get from the single, tiny first outlet in Colaba to as many as seven always-crowded outlets spanning the city and its suburbs.
And were it not for that toughness, I would not have spent countless evenings sipping my favourite extra-hot, tall Mocha and biting into my flaky Chicken n Cheese Pastie at the Bandra outlet (Sure is a huge kick to be able to order for ‘My usual’ with the waiters there!) Nor would hundreds of friends and relatives, and their friends and relatives, be on a hungry lookout for people travelling from Mumbai to their city, begging and pleading for a box of the Theobroma brownies!
That’s the equity, that’s the love Kainaz has managed to garner, wading through tough times, price rises, staff turnovers… the whole gamut! But two things have remained constant through it all – the taste and quality of her baked goods, and the innovations that she has come up with, based on the city’s changing, shifting taste-buds… Orange Juice Cake, anyone?
So it’s not surprising to see people return again and again for the Goa Sausage, Chip Butty, or Roast Beef Sandwich, the sweet turnovers or the savoury pies. It’s no surprise to see kids run straight back to the towering and colourful Rainbow Cake and Winter Jujubes, and the kids-at-heart to plunge headlong into the addictive Opium or the irresistible Chocoholic Mousse.
And of course, it was no surprise at all to see Ratul, a Mumbai-ite turned recent NRI, not only tuck heartily into a lovely Chicken n Chickpea Broth, some crisp Flatbreads, a toasty Roasted Pumpkin & Cranberry Salad, several little Quiches, a few Chargrilled Sandwiches, a couple of glistening Strawberry Tarts, and a spectacular Vodka Green Chilly Mousse… and STILL have enough space, desire and proclivity (Student’s Companion again!) left in him for one last indulgence – a Blackcurrant Doughnut!
God help those poor buggers who work at The Capital building, or close to it at Bandra Kurla Complex – having a Theobroma in your neighbourhood (just met a Goregaon resident who is overjoyed about the new outlet there!) is bad enough… ask me! But having one right IN your building to drop by for a quick, casual bite, or order in at your desk through a working lunch, or indulge in just about whenever you please, has to be the biggest temptation to resist… or not! 😉